Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Public Bathrooms.......

I'm on my soapbox today... care to join me? Lot's of room, hop on... :)

The story goes something like this...

I'm having a lovely day out; lunch and shopping with my best friend. All is well in my world, the birds are singing, the sun is shining, but there is something lurking in the darkness. Yes, down the hall and to the left (I am told by the clerk), the ladies restroom...(insert eery music here)...

As is usually the case I really NEED to go by the time I find the restroom located in the back corner of the store, through the double doors and down a long hallway. I enter, there are 3 stalls to choose from. Let's try door #1...

Lest I seem ungrateful, let me start by saying Thank You (to whoever builds these things). Thank you for designing doors for our privacy, it is appreciated. However, I must inform you that the average woman is more than 3 inches deep, no matter which way you turn her.

Yes, 3 inches is the allowance you have given. I push open the stall door and step inside. As I turn around to close the door I realize that there's something in the way...oh, it's ME...I am in the way. I try to make myself invisible, sucking in all the air I have and leaning back, trying to keep my bladder from bursting in the process, as well as keeping my purse and scarf from dangling into the toilet. Hmmm, that didn't work, so I step back, placing one leg on each side of the bowl...good thing I'm not wearing a skirt today. Finally, straddling the toilet, and clear of the door, I reach to close it, flashing an embarrassed smile at the woman walking by...oh, she'll lose that smirk in 2 seconds when she tries this maneuver herself.

Once inside I attempt to latch the door. Gee, this little slider doesn't quite reach the other side. Grabbing the little latch with two hands, I am forced to pull it up and to the right in order for the latch to reach....I wonder what this must sound like to the other "stall dweller".

I remove my purse so I can hang it on the.....Oh, the hook must be on the wall, because it's NOT on the door...hmmmm, nope, no hook? Ok, where am I supposed to put my purse? I sling it around my neck and let it dangle in front of me where it will hopefully be free from "contamination". I look around for the "seat protectors"...yeah, go ahead, call me a germ freak.

This particular topic makes me wonder if men design public bathrooms. The average man probably only sits on a toilet once a day, and that most likely takes place in the comfort of his nice clean home. The rest of the time, he stands.

Women on the other hand sit EVERY time, and we drink a lot of Starbucks, er,.. um,... I mean WATER during the day, so we most likely need to do this quite often. Do you have any idea how many people have sat there before me? When was the last time they showered? Did they just go the gym and get all sweaty? Ewww....I don't even want to think of all the possibilities....SO, I look around for the seat protectors, because who would design a bathroom without them? Well, it looks like someone did.

In most cases, there are none. In the case that they are provided, very often the holder is empty, or they are pressed in there so tightly that trying to remove one results in something akin to shredded paper. I begin the "papering" method...yes, you know it well. I carefully place a strip of toilet paper on each side of the seat. There is an art to this method. If the paper is too short, well, it's useless. If it's too long, it will slide off the seat just as I'm about to sit down. Once the papers are CAREFULLY laid in place and I've ever so slowly shimmied myself into position (so as not to cause a breeze that blows them to the floor), business can be taken care of. However, as I sit down, I notice something...

...I notice the HUGE gap between the door and the stall wall, it's got to be an inch or more. The kids standing by the sink, waiting for their Mom who's busy trying to shut the door in stall #2...are they staring at me? Are they seriously making faces at me? So, now I'm not sure if I should ignore them, wave, or give them the "Momma Eye". I decide to pretend not to see them, hoping they'll go away!

Once I've safely managed to put myself back together without dropping any of my personal belongings in the toilet, it's time to flush...this part is really frightening. I really want to open the door first and step outside to escape the water particles that will inevitably fly into the air with the force of the mega-industrial toilet, but that would be kinda rude, so I just press my foot against the flusher (yes, my foot,...I'm NOT touching that!), then face the door and hold my breath for fear of breathing in the unthinkable things that are flying into the air right now (I've seen Time Warp!).

After straddling the toilet once again and getting out the stall door, I head for the sink. I look around for somewhere to put my purse while I wash my hands, no hook, no shelf, ok...I guess I'll just do the "lean". This is the position where you sling your purse over your shoulder and onto your back, lean slightly to the side to keep it therem, not unlike the hunchback of Notre Dame. I do the sidestep from sink to sink looking for the one soap dispenser that has something in it.

Now that I finally have a little dab of soap, I flip up the water lever to be greeted by freezing cold water...because who wants hot water in a bathroom???? I feverishly scrub my hands as my fingers turn blue from the cold, all the while keeping my purse layed across my back. I turn, to look for paper towels.

No such luck. I am faced with the ever useful "air dryer". I make my way to the dryer and begin the long journey of hand drying...after 10 minutes of rubbing the skin off the back of my hands, I resort to wiping them on my shirt, and turn to leave,...only to realize that after all that hard work of washing my hands someone expects me to touch the door handle???????? Do we need to discuss the number of people that DON'T wash their hands? Do we need to think of the people that changed diapers and didn't wash their hands? Not too mention little booger pickers that aren't even good at wiping...EWWWwwwwwww. Sorry, no, I'm NOT touching that handle.

Let's see, I have a couple of options here. I could stand there and wait for someone else to enter, stopping the door with my foot, then make my escape. I can use my shirt as a "glove" and just remember not to touch my shirt all day. I decide upon option #3. I run back the stall, push my way inside with my hip, grab a couple of squares of toilet paper and use them to open the door, holding the door open with my leg, I turn to make a long shot toward the trash can, hoping that it makes it ~ I never was a basketball player. I make the shot and head back down that long hallway, left with another bad bathroom memory burnt into my brain.

Is it just me? Am I just weird, or do you ever experience this? LOL name is Kathy,...and I'm a bathroom snob.


  1. .....and a cake snob, a buffet snob, Oh wait that's me! LOL.
    So when exactly did this happen. You failed to mention this fun thing happening to you! LOL.
    Love you my friend.

  2. Oh my gosh...that sounds just like ME!!! I DETEST the public restroom!! My kids know that if they ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO GO, they are NOT TO TOUCH ANYTHING INSIDE!! And I know this is so bad (GOD FORGIVE ME!!), but when I have to open the door, I grab the paper towel, and if the trash can is out of arms length, I drop it behind the door!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm so embarrassed that I admitted that, but it's either me touching the door with my bare, clean hands (NOT!!) or the littering!! I choose the latter!!


  3. Oh, yes! I can be labeled a bathroom snob too. Along with a fast food snob (handling money AND food?????)

  4. I left you the longest comment and then hit close without publishing. Oh my word. In short now..I am the same way and to use a public bathroom freaks me out. YUCK. But it has to be done sometimes. Off to scrub my hands:)

  5. OMGosh. Eww. Eww. Eww. Each paragraph was grosser than the previous!

  6. Yeah I am not a big fan of the public fact, sometimes I will let my boys go to the bathroom outside over inside at a public place {its bound to be cleaner right??} So glad you stopped by my blog and left a comment..I'll be sticking around and glad to have you with the 365 project!!!

  7. Oh my gosh! I have had that same experience - on numerous occasions - to the letter! I have been known to go 12 hours without 'going' to avoid a public bathroom. If I absolutely MUST go, I am guilty of using the handicapped stall. I figger nobody else is in there, so I'm not putting anybody out. Besides, claustrophobia is a handicap, right? There's actually room to get in and out without being squashed by the door. Honestly, what WERE they thinking?!

    Love ya loads, snobby sweetie! 8-]
    Have a JESUS-filled day! ^i

  8. You described this experience perfectly. I always wonder why they build the stalls with no room to turn around.

    When my kids were little I chose my grocery store based on the bathrooms. I'd spend $10 more just so we didn't have to go through the storeroom.

  9. I have seen more than my share of gross public bathrooms.

    Great post!

  10. I am no longer alone, fellow OCD'er!
    I am EXACTLY the same way. I taught my children to say their alphabet while washing their hands so as to make sure they wash them long enough. I got into the habit as well and now do it. Sometimes I sing it and seem like a weirdo but I don't care.
    Also, I keep extra napkins in my purse for just such occasions so as not to touch the door!

  11. That is me to a "T" except I refuse to use the air dryer because of all the germs it sends flying germs through the air. I hold my breathe if someone else is using it. Oh, and a little secret about me....I'm a hoverer, lol. I don't sit at all. I ate at smokey bones a couple of weeks ago and they have what they call boneisms posted in their stall. Mine said Hovering takes great skill and balance but is an unnatural fear of germs. I disagree lol.

  12. I saw this the other day but didn't have time to comment. HILARIOUS and oh so true my friend!!! You know I've posted before about my issues with the public restrooms in Montana - LOL - but you've covered every possible issue right here!!

    There needs to be a website of all the best public restrooms in every city so we know where to stop - LOL! I have experienced a few, only a few good ones.

  13. Hi - new here - I live in Australia and I have been to some TERRIBLE restrooms - some are so dirty I have walked out, dark (this can be good as you can't see the dirt), lacking in toilet paper, can't shut the door (so I have to rest my foot against the door to keep it shut). I could go on and on.......... Finding a clean new toilet is a wonderful thing:)

  14. This is hilarious.
    I feel an anxious feeling coming on every time I have to go into a public bathroom. Airports are the worst because you have all that extra stuff you're carrying and not enough room to even fit in the door...much less, with a carry-on bag...
    And don't even get me started on all the public restrooms without the paper seat covers...there should be a law demanding those everywhere! :)

  15. Umm... okay! I HATE public bathrooms!! I flush with my foot! :o)