I was waiting in line for the restroom. There was pandemonium going on around me as I waited. Little children were running amok with no pants on, women were washing their faces in the sinks, then hogging the space to look at their non existent pimples in the scratched and tagged mirrors. The bathroom was so crowded, even the baby changing station had a queue of poop-filled, diaper wearing, red faced toddlers, who were screaming in their mother’s arms; while the parent with the babe on the changing station shouted into her cell phone as she deftly wiped a urine soaked butt.
I watched the progress of the line for the changing station with envy. My line for the stalls was moving much slower. I looked down the long line of black and white flecked plastic doors which ran the length of the cream colored, highway rest-station powder-room. Three of the doors had an “Out of Order” sign hanging on the front that looked like it was written with crayon, mustard, and the blood of a busted mouth (probably from the fight that broke out over who had to clean the tampon stuffed toilet which was now overflowing water into the drain at the center of the room, and rather than deal with it, an improvised sign was smacked on the front).
I watched as the ladies in front of me dodged the pantless children and, like lithe gazelles, leapt for the sound of a toilet flush. No where in the world is a toilet flush a sacred sound, save for the inside of a packed ladies room. Every time the sanctimonious whooshing sound of soiled water being sucked into a filthy sewage pipe hits the air, it’s as if a call to the bladder to begin to relax is sounded. A sigh of relief becomes audible every time another woman can take a step forward to await her fate in whatever stall she may be lucky (or unlucky) enough to get after the toilet has drained, and the lock turned, releasing an unassuming woman from its dark and secretive enclave.
There’s a gamble when waiting for your turn in the stall. If all the cards fall the right way, then the toilet seat is clear, the floor is dry, there is toilet paper in the dispenser, your lock clicks into place without hassle, and there is no brick-wall-of-shit smell when you first enter. Unfortunately, any one of those things could go wrong, leaving one with the unpleasant task of having to do her duty in circumstances that make relaxation extremely difficult. Not to mention the pressure from every second spent in the stall is another second some other poor schmuck needs to wait to get in.
I was lucky enough to be in and out of my stall with as little harassment as possible, save for the toilet flushing automatically before I was really finished. Aw well, if that’s the worst that’ll happen, then I’ll consider myself lucky. I stepped out to wash my hands. No one can fault me for leaving anything nasty behind me, there was a little wad of TP left behind, but that was harmless.
I watched the next gazelle leap for my stall in the bathroom mirror I was washing up in front of. She read the “Out of Order” sign on the door next to mine and then pushed my door open. She paused, looking in, and considered her options. She looked back at the mustard and blood spattered sign and then back at my stall. What? Is my stall not good enough for you? I found myself thinking. I left that stall in great condition! I wanted to go over and sell that girl my stall: “Look! I wiped the seat! There’s no smell! The lock, locks! That wad of toilet paper was the result of an automated pre-flush! That’s not my fault! USE THIS ONE I’M NOT FILTHY!”
Instead, I hogged a sink by looking in the mirror and pretended to pop a pimple that wasn’t on my face before I got the hell out of there.
May 28, 2013 at 3:44 am by Natalie Allen