Sunday, February 11, 2007

Rants on Public Restrooms

For the life of me, I cannot figure out what takes many people so long in public restrooms. On Friday I nervously watched the doors of the men’s room and the ladies’ room at Whole Foods as I stood there crossing and uncrossing my legs. I was happy to take the first one open.

I have always been somewhat curious and fascinated by public bathrooms. Growing up in the South, I often found myself at the back of the Sears & Roebuck, back by the catalog department, in search of a bathroom. I would read the signs – MEN, WOMEN, COLORED – and ask my mother why there were three choices. I always wanted to try the COLORED to see if it was any different from the one I normally used.

Then there were the restrooms associated with the public library. Aside from the gross smell, they seemed like just another set of toilets to me. But my mother was always warning me NOT to sit on the seat for fear of contracting some unmentionable disease. Instead she would put layers and layers of toilet paper on the seat as I squirmed with a need to pee. Later in my life, I wondered how many cases of gonorrhea had ever been documented as coming from toilet seats.

As I get older my ability to “hold it” after I feel the urge to pee has decreased. So I find the lines for public toilets to be annoying. The women’s line is always far worse than the men’s so I am certainly not above using the men’s room. As long as it has a toilet, it works for me.

Airline toilets are perhaps the worst. I am always dismayed to see someone in front of me carrying a toiletry case in hand. I find myself placing bets about which door will open first and inevitably losing.

But back to my initial question – what is it that takes some people so long? Is there some elaborate process of preparing to pee and then washing up afterwards? Or is it the need to touch up their makeup? Or is it the perverse idea of making me wiggle outside the door?

I have occasionally knocked on the door in desperation to make sure the person inside knew I was still waiting. I’m not so obnoxious in most lines, but the need to pee sometimes brings out the worst in me.


Anonymous David said...

Well, there's always "Depends" :-)

2:30 PM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I don't know. I'm pretty fast. I don't get the slow ones.

4:49 PM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

I am a lot slower than most people and I feel terrible that people are waiting! I have really hardly any feeling in my hands since many of my sensory nerves are dead due to diabetic neuropathy...sugar -coated. This also affects the motor nerves as the message can't move along the nerve to tell them to move. Thus, I have a huge dexterity problem! I can't get zippers and buttons done up very well, get the needle caps off if I have to do an injection or test my sugar, I even have a problem grasping the end piece trying to get the toilet paper! It drives me nuts and I've been known to come out and ask someone to do up a button! I often use the wheelchair washroom or try to test my sugar and do my needle by the sinks even though it might freak some people, at least I won't take up a stall.
Anyway, there's one reason.

11:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, sometimes that's me trying to change into my superhero costume. It keeps getting tighter; prob'ly the cold, dry weather makes it shink some? I'll ask Reya, she gave it to me...

6:39 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

David -- Some day I may follow your suggestion, but not just yet.

Kristin -- You can be in front of me in line any day.

MOI -- This post is not directed to people with physical problems. Of course you and others have good reason for needing more time. But there are plenty of healthy people out there who simply ignore the mile-long line and take their own sweet time. Those are the ones I would like to hurry up just a little.

Anon -- Your superhero costume is not fitting so well because you are still drinking all that beer to make sure your clients have plenty of padding to rest their foot or knee or whatever on. You may just have to order a bigger size. Unfortunately I think Reya has gone out of the superhero business.

8:49 AM  
Blogger Old Lady said...

I am with you! If there is a line, I'll pull my panties up, but walk on out and finish zipping and buttoning in the open area. Must be all those concerts and St. Patrick's Days, I am an expert in speed bathroom use!

7:41 AM  

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