I wrote three blogs this week and I’m on vacation. So that should give you an idea of how fired up I am. The first one is a heated mess about how every parent has a breaking point. Every. Single. Parent. And I got to witness one such mother’s, in a state campground two weeks ago. A quick high light? She may or may not have been outside, disrobed and shouting the f word at one point. Yep. We are all this mother. The second is a deep and soul searching piece about racial relations and recent events in our country. The third, you ask? Public restrooms. This one, without question, is the one I have chosen to deliver first.
GIVEN THE CURRENT CLIMATE, THIS FEELS NECESSARY. You can thank me later.
Dear Public Restrooms,
I have a bone to pick with you. Actually, more like a roll. Or many, many rolls, in fact. You are failing at your job. You exist for two purposes: good hygiene and effective human waste removal.
When I end up doing the army crawl between bathroom stalls on a search and rescue mission for toilet paper, you have failed.
When I end up with what can only be described as second degree burns on my lady parts because your toilet paper is two grades shy of sand paper, you have failed.
There are certain expectations I think human beings should reasonably have when they visit a public bathroom. Not ending up in an Emergency Room feels like it’s up there with the 1st and 2nd Amendment in these circumstances.
And here’s a tip, what’s with single ply? Just no. At no point during my visit to your fine establishment should any part of my hand make contact with anything else while conducting business. If this happens, IT has failed, and therefore, YOU have failed. And two ply that is made of that stuff that dissolves on contact is still single ply, only worse. Automatic fail.
If you have installed one of those toilet paper holders that moonlights as a magic trick, you fail the most. You guys know what I’m talking about; the double holder that is empty on one side and you can see the full role on the other side but it’s locked and you don’t know the super secret password to get it open, so you are SOL. Literally.
Or how about the kind that releases one square at a time? Because, “That’s all I need,” said NO PERSON EVER. So you turn into that crazed person rabidly collecting shredded singles into a sad wad as you venture fearfully forth into the great unknown. Just, why? To the single square TP creator, you are a monster. When's the last time you went #2 with one square? "Vengeance is mine," says the Lord. This verse, absolutely applies to you.
And then there’s the super double secret special agent holder. It's purpose I know not. You pull. The beautiful stream of white glory comes down. The perfect length. You go to rip. But suddenly some sort of reverse action spring snaps into motion and your bounty is instantly sucked back into the holder.
What kind of evil sorcery is this?
I’m all for saving the planet and going green, but this just seems cruel.
Then there's those toilets that automatically flush on their own now. Because that's necessary. Especially when I'm mid stream. This is the moment you get the refreshing gift of public restroom toilet water, generously and unexpectedly becoming a bidet. Liberally spraying it's water about. Nope. No thanks. When did going to the bathroom turn into cruel and unusual punishment?
And why is it that the public restroom always just happens to be either out of order or closed for maintenance/cleaning when you are in the most emergent situation possible?
I was at the Miami airport this year and the men’s room was closed. As I entered the women’s room, I made brief eye contact with a mortified gentleman who was clearly fleeing the scene of the crime. It was clear, this man was not a pervert. He was not a weirdo. Not a child molester. Not looking for a peep show. He had zero desire to be arrested.
He had one need. A bathroom. Any bathroom. End of story. I looked at him and thought, “I stand in solidarity with you, good sir.” Because we’ve all been there.
I like to call time inside the bathroom stall, phase one. When you’ve survived the gauntlet of the stall experience, you get to move on to the mind numbing adventure of the hand washing and drying Olympics.
An exercise in futility.
Welcome to phase two. Something most MENSA members are not even capable of successfully maneuvering these days. Seriously, where are the hidden cameras? I remember the days when you just walked up, turned the water on, got some soap, washed, rinsed and dried your hands. Job done.
Public bathrooms now exist to make us question our sanity. Whether we should be allowed to leave the house. Drive a car. Vote. Procreate. You know. Little things.
Somewhere in our pursuit of world betterment and the war against bacteria we decided to make everything touch free and motion sensored. Or as I like to call it, you’re not as smart as you thought you were. I left a restroom the other day with dirty hands. But my shoes and my right jacket sleeve around the shoulder area were clean. I'm just going to leave it at that.
At this very moment in time, on planet earth, there are millions of humans neurotically flailing arms and hands through the air. Waving at nothing. Into oblivion. Talking to themselves. Like psychopaths. Some cursing, some praying for some sort of invisible lever, switch, or ray to be activated so that, please, for the love of all that is good and holy, the soap will dispense, the water will run, the paper will descend and the air will blow.
And on a final note, as many of you already know, I live openly with and write about mental illness. The older and the healthier I get, the more I am coming to realize that this world will give you a direct pass to the loony bin, if you haven't already arrived. So for those of you who can relate to this article, welcome! Welcome to sanity. Us wackadoodle folk are fantastic company. We've been talking to ourselves and waving at invisible stuff for years.