Thursday, November 09, 2006

Potty Talk

The public restroom has always been a place I avoided at all costs. That is, until I had children.

Even before they were born, their presence was causing me to abandon my previous rules about these communal places, as the increasing pressure on my squished bladder just would not wait until I made it home.

I briefly enjoyed a hiatus from visiting the public restrooms during babyhood, when I only had to duck into one to change a diaper or, and this is the most unpleasant of unpleasantries, nurse a hungry infant on a hard plastic chair shoved in the corner next to the hand dryer (oh, I do not miss those days).

My detest and dislike for public restrooms not only comes from a fear of the various germs and smells that live in them, but the mere fact that I don’t like going into a place with a bunch of other women to share what, to me, is very private. I don’t want to visit. I don’t want to know what others did in the stall before me, I don’t want to hear it or see it. I know that this makes it virtually impossible for me to ever experience other cultures where there aren’t even dividers (or western toilets) between, a’ hem, potties. I know that my public bathroom phobia has caused my bladder to grow to the size of the Goodyear blimp, and this is not healthy, but I also know that this is something that will be with me for the rest of my life, and now that I have a toddler who wants to devour public bathrooms like she does fruit snacks, I need to deal with it.

Just when I think I’ve overcome the germs (Hand sanitizer? Check!) and the unsightliness and the general grossness of using a typical public restroom, I am faced with a new problem: the freaky drunk woman.

That’s right, you heard it correctly: freaky drunk woman.

I was in the middle of helping Katie with the toilet seat cover in a restaurant bathroom when in stumbles (I knew she was stumbling because you could hear her stumbling) a lady who had one too many margaritas.

She mumbled/slurred a few expletives before realizing that she was in a stall next to a child at which point she apologized for her dirty mouth.

What to say? “Well, at least you’re in the bathroom” I call out, while holding Katie above the bowl for fear that if she falls in she will need to bathe in bleach when we get home.

The woman goes on to tell me (all the while doing what one does in a bathroom) all about how she swore in front of her kid’s school teacher and she hardly ever goes out and do I ever take my kids to the Science Center because I really should she took her daughters there to see the Dead Sea Scrolls and that was so fun and now they are 15 and 16 and they won’ even talk to her and I should, while I am down there, go up in the Space Needle and have lunch – spend the extra money because it is so cool when the restaurant spins and you’re eating lunch, it costs extra but spend the money because those kids they grow up so fast and oh, I have a son and I named him a gunfighter’s name (Dylan) and good thing because his daddy slept with the babysitter . . .

All of this information from a quick trip to the loo.

We exit our stalls and begin the hand washing process. Freaky drunk lady sees Katie and starts gushing about her cuteness (okay, I guess this lady wasn’t too intoxicated) and little girls and repeats that hers won’t speak to her. Her words are hard to decipher between the spitting and slurring that is happening and I reconsider that bleach bath for Katie and myself upon our arrival home.

Please understand that I hardly said anything to this woman. Remember that I don’t care for public bathrooms; I only go in them when my children need me to (because I don’t care if my bladder explodes and I need emergency surgery to repair it). And now, I have a whole new fear of those very public places where we do our very private business.

The fear of the freak.

Because that's what I feel like these days, a freak magnet. And I don't think they make a hand sanitizer for that.

Oh, and freaky drunk lady left without washing her hands.


Left Coast Sister said...

Maybe her kids aren't talking to her because they can't get a word in edgewise. Yikes. Those are hard folk to rationalize to wide-eyed kiddos!!

Grim Reality Girl said...

You had to know she wouldn't be washing those hands! I am a freak magnet as well. And people wonder why I don't let my kids go alone to the bathroom (they are 9 and 10). FREAKY DRUNK LADY will be there, that is why!!

Lisa said...

Gah. What is it with wierd people doing this sort of thing?

And yes, I share your loathing and disgust over public bathrooms.

Jenny said...

See that's exactly why I go to the public bathrooms. Chance of gawking at freaks and hearing about their cheating husbands.

Admit was a little bit interesting, right?

sunshine scribe said...

Oh I hate public washrooms too. Such crazy stories.

Mamacita Tina said...

Eeeewwww, and double EEEEWWWWW! Worst part, there's nothing you can say to someone like that, they'll just think it's an invitation to converse some more.

Nicole said...

Ok ewwwww on the no hand washing first of all and second of all, I'm 100% with you on the public restroom thing. I hate everything about them and do my best to not ever make eye contact with anyone when I'm in there. And after I wash, I am the freak that takes the paper towel with me to open the door up with on the way out because ewwww, the germs. Ack!

mk said...

I think her mouth needed sanitizer!

I am not a huge fan of public bathrooms in paticular places, and I can handle it for me, but I HATE to use the changing tables! And when I have to I try to hold Abbies arms down for fear that she will touch somehting and I sanitize my bad later...up! I usually lay papertowels down before my pad even touches it! Ugh!

Angry Dad said...

As long as you don't sit on the seats its fine. Toilets and public places can just be the pits. Its not just you, I attract freaks too. Scary.

Kristin said...

My kids have used every foul public bathroom between in the US, China and the UK... we LIVE for Purell. I don't let my kids touch anything (including the sink and freaky drunk people).

Becky said...

oh man how disgusting!

Kevin Charnas said...

I wish that I were with you. SHE SOUNDS AWESOME!!! Seriously, you usually have to pay for entertainment like that. I can't believe that she told you all that shit THAT quickly. Actually, yes I can, because I attract them too.

And the baby sitter??? nice.
And no hand washing??? figures.

Jason said...

Check out a new site It's a ratings guide of public restrooms by kids. Plus you can rate a potty in your area.