Sunday, April 10, 2005

Public Restroom Act #1: The Hover

I was reading about the Queen of Rambles having a traumatic experience with a port-a-potty when I was struck by a memory. A horrific memory. A horrific, embarrassing memory. I stopped breathing for a few moments, sat down, caught my breath and recovered. Then I decided it might make a halfway decent blog post. So here goes.Once upon a time, a handsome prince met a beautiful princess. He begged to court her and she happily agreed. He picked her up in his carriage and whisked her away to a fine candlelight dinner. Well, mostly. Mike and I met in a bar, both aghast that this particular watering hole did not sell Bud Light. We exchanged digits and went out a few nights later to see the classic summer romance There's Something About Mary. It was our next date that was the setting for The Incident. Mike invited me to a parking lot party - with Bud Light - at the local comedy club.

We talked and mingled and had a generally good time. Ever the lady, I tried for as long as possible to give the impression that I don’t actually urinate. Eventually, the Bud Light got the better of me and we strolled over to the port-a-john lines. Now, I spend a great deal of effort avoiding any type of public toilet in general, even at work if I can help it. Port-a-pots are not my forte by any stretch of the imagination. But I had to appear suave and debonair…breezy if you will.

I daintily approached the aromatic blue biohazard and batted my eyes coyly as I entered. Entered the most wretched environment I had ever encountered. My eyes took in my new surroundings with horror. The person before me hadn’t even flushed….wait, this was sick! Where was the flusher? Where were the safety bars? How on earth was I going to do the Hover?

I grimaced and gingerly eased my pants down to a safe midway point, carefully keeping them away from the sludge-covered grime fest on the floor. Lowering myself warily, I attempted the full hover necessary in all public facilities. Turns out balance is a tricky thing in a phone booth sized toilet. I slung an elbow around to the side and balanced myself against the large pipe that led to the…what was that? I was face to rim with a round receptacle. A urinal…bowl? Receiver? I shuddered and turned away. Turned away to face a sea of faces standing in line. And looking through my now open door at me in full Hover, pants in the calf region, elbow slung against pipe.

Those few seconds seemed like months as I tried to wrap my brain around what exactly was going on here. I definitely stopped breathing for longer than the recommended amount of time before I grasped the edge of the door and yanked. Without removing my fingers. I slammed the door full force onto my second knuckle of my middle finger on my right hand. Despite the fact that there is a raised scar to this day, at that moment I felt no pain as I stumbled my way through figuring out the green-turns-to-red security feature on this classy bathroom.

I felt the color drain from my face as I put myself back together, pausing for a moment before leaving my less-than-hygienic environment. Maybe he hadn’t seen anything. Perhaps he was in a stall himself at the time. I held my breath with hope, squirted a massive dollop of hand sanitizer into my palm (no need in catching some infectious bacteria in addition to my public humiliation), and held my head high as I marched through the crowd, not making eye contact with anyone. The story actually ends okay.

After the candlelight dinner, the prince offered the princess his arm and they strolled into the moonlight and lived happily ever after.

Pretty much. I found Mike at the back of all the people waiting for me. He, being more fluent with the port-a-john, had finished long before. He got me an ice cold Bud Light to hold on my now-throbbing finger and I confirmed that he had not, in fact, seen anything without actually revealing what had happened. And then we lived happily ever after.

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