Monday, May 24, 2010

Wal-Mart bathrooms

I have always had bathroom issues. I do not like public bathrooms. It always amazes me when women can come into stalls chatting together and they keep chatting while they both pee. Once I was in a stall and some woman came in talking on her cell phone, she talked the whole time… I can only imagine she had Bluetooth!

Last weekend while we were camping I ended up in a Wal-Mart bathroom. It does not get more public than that. Who knows how many people have sat on that seat! There were 4 stalls. Three regular and a super-sized one. The first two were occupied by two women chatting to each other and the last one had a woman with at least two children and a cart in it. That left the third stall open for me. Someone else came in right behind me, which I really hate…. There is pressure because someone is standing there with nothing to do but wait for me. Rationally, I should not have felt pressure, there were 3 other stalls that should have opened up before me but the woman with the two kids sounded like she was struggling with a potty-training two year old and the two women in the other stalls were exchanging recipes and having a wonderful time. They did not sound like they were in a hurry to go anywhere.

So I walked in to my stall, turn to shut the door and a screw was missing from the latch and the stopper clasp was missing. There was no way that the door was going to stay closed on its own. Thanks Wal-Mart. I sit down, trying to keep the door shut with one hand and keep my pants off the floor with the other. The toilet flushes without warning or being asked to… so now I am precariously balanced and my biscuits get to start off cold and wet. Wonderful. I focus, and pee in what I consider to be a timely manner. I am proud of myself for not freezing up. My happy feeling is cut short when I notice that although there is lots of toilet paper it is so thin it basically dissolves on contact. Also the toilet that flushed when I wasn’t ready, didn’t flush when I was.

This whole time I continue to hold the door closed with one hand… very carefully because it is like a saloon door, it can swing in or out with very little effort. The woman with the cart and two children walk past just as I am ready to come out. One child lost a shoe so she stopped the cart in front of my stall door. I try to open the door going inward and there is no room for me, the toilet and the door. Who designs these things anyway?!! Seriously, nothing makes you feel larger than trying to get out of a stall with the door that opens inward and nearly pushes you into the bowl as you try to make an exit.

Apparently, one of the little kids in the super-sized stall somehow got wetter in the ordeal than expected. I am not sure if she intentionally stuck her arm in the bowl water or peed on herself.... and quite frankly I did not want to know. The Mom was now trying to block the door with her cart to keep one child from darting out while blow drying the wet child’s arm with a super strong wall mounted air dryer. I hate when a door is blocked, it gives me a scary claustrophobic feeling, put that door in a public bathroom and that is already 2 strikes to amp up my anxiety. I washed my hands and used the paper towel dispenser to dry them.

That’s probably the best thing about a Wal-Mart bathroom. They have both the blow dryers and the paper towels. Sort of the best of both world’s. When the kids were younger it seemed like they knew what kind of catastrophe to have to make things difficult. If it was 10 below and Macy spilled apple juice down the front of her shirt it was a sure thing that the bathroom would not have a handy dandy super dryer to fix the problem. However, if Pete’s nose started to bleed, you know for sure that there would be a row of super dryers and not a paper towel to be found. That’s Murphy’s Law, I suppose.

Well, the mother finished drying off the wet arm of one of the kids and I busied myself putting the other little ones shoe back on, assuring the woman I was in no hurry. I was tempted to grab another paper towel and write down the recipe the women in the first two stalls were currently discussing, cobbler with peach jell-o.... I think she said the main ingredient was peach schnapps.... :)

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