Saturday, November 6, 2010

Sarah vs. Evil

Today, my loyal subjects, we are going to talk about how I battled evil and won. More specifically, how I destroyed a public toilet. This post is inspired by my recent bout of dysentary, but my love/hate relationship with public restrooms goes back a long ways. I am grateful there are public facilities when my bladder is about to explode, and I have been known to cry tears of joy to find a restroom when those buffalo wild wings want to return to the wild, but I am still completely baffled by the universal lack of functional design. I see public restrooms as a necessary evil.

We are going to get graphic. If the topic of bodily functions offends you, I suggest you leave now.

My potty issues go all the way back to probably age 6 or 7 when my older brother thought it was amusing to sit outside the bathroom door and call out encouragement: "is everything coming out ok? Can I get you a spoon? Chainsaw?"

This was my earliest realization of the male gender's preoccupation with the process of defecating (we will explore this a little later). I also have vivid memories of public toilets in Mexico where there appeared to be more excrement on the floor and walls around the throne than actually *in* the holding tank below (I don't recall ever using any modern plumbing in Mexico back in the late '70's - early '80's). Notice I didn't say "public restrooms" - there was nothing restful or roomy about Mexican toilets, and honestly, I would have rather relieved myself outside if not for the complete lack of anything bigger than a tumbleweed to squat behind and the unabashed stares of mangy dogs, roaming chickens and solemn-eyed, ragged orphans.

Then later, and into my teen years, there were the mad dashes through the cold in the dark to the outhouse, seared into my memory by the burn of tender ass skin being torn off my cheeks after sitting on a frozen seat. My longing for plumbing and pooping comfort intensified around age 15, but that quest is chronicled in another post*.

So why is it that every stall is so narrow you have to climb up on the toilet to open the door, coming *and* going? And then the toilet paper dispenser, which is LOCKED, and purposely designed to only allow you one square at a time, is mounted *below* the level of the toilet bowl, and you are forced to A): rest your chin atop the sanitary pad disposal, or,

B): stick your head between your knees while you try to get your arm underneath the massive paper holder compressing your diaphragm - and then - with your fingertips, try to spin the roll, which is not allowed to spin, and grasp a square of toilet paper that is so thin it shreds because at this point you're scratching and clawing at it in desperation. I will never understand why that damn dispenser is big enough to hold two gigantic rolls of tp, yet when one is gone, you are prevented from accessing the second one because it's LOCKED. Yes. Because if it wasn't, so many of us would be sneaking those worthless rolls of tissue paper out under our shirts.

I usually plan my route on any trip out-of-town around my favorite (or should I say least likely to annoy me) public restrooms. Of course I have a list, and they are ranked in order of: cleanliness, square footage, and number of steps from my car.

I don't know why I always seem to get myself into these kinds of scrapes. In my rush to get to the seat of ease before all hell breaks loose in the seat of my pants, I often fail to note if the toilet is fastened to the floor properly, tp is readily available, door latches working, etc. And it happens on a regular basis. I have had a sink break away from the wall in a gas station restroom, toilets overflow onto the floor (and it wasn't *my* poop, honest), and tanks explode. Well, maybe not so much explode as *collapse*.

So I was not particularly surprised the other day, upon sitting down in a public restroom, to hear a sharp *pop* behind me followed by a deafening crash. Sheer panic hit me because, and trust me when I say this, there was NO WAY I could jump up to inspect the damage. I could hear the toilet lid rattling where it hit the floor behind me, and I braced myself for the flood of tank water I imagined hitting me like a tsunami, but it never came. The crash was so loud I wondered if anyone had called 911. I could see the cops arriving to break down the door and there I would be, clinging to what was left of the toilet seat, trying to finish my business. Or perhaps lying on the floor in the sea of toilet water, pants around my ankles, bleeding from my head wound where I had been bludgeoned by the broken lid. I imagined my obituary: "... rockstar found dead in front of toilet. Foul smell suspected."

This is not how I want to go! I considered making a run for it, but then I realized that while the toilet lid *and* the tank lid were broken, I came out pretty much unscathed. It was a miracle. And awesome. I exited calmly, leaving the carnage in my wake.

Walking away a winner.

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