Surviving A Public Restroom - Fear Not Brave Warrior
Of course mid-way through the grocery store, you feel the familiar rumble in your tummy. Your cart is full and there are only two lines open at the register. What's a girl to do? You have to pull up your big girl pants (or down rather) and attempt a trip to the dreaded public restroom.
Two things immediately come to mind when you realize this in fact is happening. One, I sure do hope no one else is in there. Two, I really hope it is clean.
You abandon the cart in the bread isle and do the walk of shame to the exit largely labeled "Restrooms". Using your shirt over your hand to avoid the germs on the door, it begins to open. The squeaky door pops open and the first thing you do is do a sweep for other people.
Tip one, always look for feet. There are things in there you probably do not want to see if you look elsewhere and once seen, can not be unseen. (When I am using a public restroom, I preemptively shuffle my feet to alert any newbie of my presence. But that's just me.)
Tip two, if you are going in there to do some very unpleasant things, you may need to think ahead to your exit strategy. If the handicap stall is unused, you may opt for that as it could offer an added benefit. Besides being roomy (the Cadillac of the stalls), it usually also has it's own sink. Perfect for ducking out quickly with minimal eye contact. Like you've never done this? Don't judge me!
You find an empty stall but before committing to it, look at the paper situation. This is not a small detail to overlook, especially if no one else is there to call for backup. Does the number of squares equate to how bad your tummy is feeling right now? If the square count doesn't fit, you must acquit.
Fortunately you find the perfect stall. It's relatively clean. The paper is flowing freely. Unfortunately, there is still someone else in the bathroom and you need to do your job. Fear not, there are ways to covertly hide what you are doing in there...although let's be honest it is a bathroom and everyone already knows what you are doing in there. You aren't making a bologna sandwich and we are pretty sure you aren't filing your taxes.
You can try to wait the other person out. If they are just tinkling, sometimes just pretending to blow your nose buys you enough time to get some much needed privacy. But if that person is stubborn enough to stay, you have to come up with a plan B. Perhaps the courtesy flush is just the answer.
A courtesy flush is generally what you do quickly afterwards, as to keep the odor from entering the room. However if you are like me, the part I dread are any possible "sound affects" which may take place during. By flushing while you are going, you kill two birds with one stone. (I swear that pun was not intentional.) An additional flush afterwards may or may not be needed. Use your judgement. Be sure to wad toilet paper in your hands to avoid actually touching the flusher and catching the next bird flu mutation which will kill us all.
This brings me to my next fear....sanitation. The dog may think drinking from the toilet is great, but even using the toilet can give the bravest soul a cause to panic. There are viruses and diseases galore on every public surface and Lord only knows that a bathroom can be the worst place to catch them.
You may be as paranoid of germs as I am, but that doesn't mean Joe Schmo before you wasn't a disgusting slob. Sprinkles are for cupcakes Joe, not for toilet seats. Be sure to hover as you go, use paper towel or toilet paper barriers when touching things, any things.
I try to use my left hand whenever I touch anything public. I am right handed so I figure that by using my left hand to touch unclean surfaces, I am less likely to contaminate myself. Think about it if you sneeze, you are instinctively putting your dominate hand to your mouth. If your eye is itchy, your right hand is going to pop right up to scratch it. So if you have run out of paper, use your left hand to open the door.
We are all adults and it is embarrassing that I should even have to say it, but you have to wash your hands. I don't care what took place in there, if any part of your body touched that room, it should be cleaned before destroying all of Western Civilization. You owe that to the Grandkids at least. Everyone wants to have a famous relative but they do not want to be related to the next Outbreak monkey.
So you came, you saw, and you conquered your fears. Now you can live to tell the tale. God speed brave warrior. And maybe hit the Taco Bell drive thru on the way home next time.
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© 2013 Amy L. Tarr