Thursday, February 15, 2007

Adventures In The Bathroom

Adventures in the Bathroom
By Sean Fitzmorris 
I think that public restrooms can be fascinating places. Now don't get me wrong; I'm not some perv that hangs out in public toilets to check out the action. It's just that sooner or later, everyone is forced to go to the toilet and if you’re at the movies or a restaurant or somewhere, you pretty much have to shuffle off to the public restroom with the rest of the schmucks. Not my favorite thing either, but you might as well make the best of the situation, right? All I mean is that these little trips can be a fascinating study in psychology - mine as well as everyone else's.
One of the things I've noticed over the last couple of years it the proliferation of those "midget urinals" in the men's room. You know, these are the urinals that are set like six inches off the floor. What's the deal with these things? Are they like mandated by federal law from the Small Humans Organization's Referendum on Toilets (S.H.O.R.T. for short)? I've never seen anyone using these that actually was so short that they genuinely needed the midget urinal. And a lot of times, they'll have like two or three in one restroom! Hello? What about us normal sized people who don't want to have to aim that well? Kids never use them; they go into the regular toilet stall with Dad to pee in there. I guess Junior’s afraid that he'll fall into the big gaping urinal. I'm sure the bathroom cleaning person is no more thrilled with these contrivances that the pisser is, what with all the “misses”.

One thing I always try to avoid is taking a dump in the public restroom. I'm not all paranoid about catching diseases or anything, but I always feel like I'm at my most vulnerable when I'm sitting there pushing. Like what would I do if some psycho burst into the bathroom kicking open stall doors looking for a fight or something? I'd probably try to just flush myself down. But sometimes you're having a bathroom emergency and you just have to go. When this happens I've found that I prefer to use the handicapped toilet. I guess everyone figures that some handicapped person will need to use it so they avoid it so it's usually cleaner than the terlets designated for the mere mortals. Plus it's more comfortable to sit on, being all up in the air like that, and there’s always way more space in the stall. Besides, the handicappers get all the best parking spots so I'm darn sure gonna use the best toilet, especially since I don't need to show a damn handicap placard. So there I am, feet barely touching the floor like I'm a little kid again, when someone comes in and sits down in the stall next to me. I totally clam up. I'm torn between the abdominal cramps raging in my belly and the fear of making a really loud, gross job. I'm worried that the guy in the next stall will study my shoes and point me out as the farty, smelly guy when we're both back outside. So I try to push "quietly" which never works of course and I try to finish before him so he won't be able to see me coming out of the bathroom and attach a face to the sounds and smells.
Peeing is infinitely simpler. If there's no one else in there, you have your choice of urinals (except the midget ones). I just walk right up to the middle one. That gives me the advantage over the next guy that walks in. Proper men's room etiquette requires a urinal's separation between guys (unless it's super crowded) so he'll have to either crowd up against the wall or be forced to use the midget urinal.
Sometimes you wind up next to a guy who's pee-shy. He can't pee when there's someone else nearby. Not that I stare at him trying to go, but you can always tell when there ain't nothing comin' out. So he stands there for a minute, not doing anything till he finally gives up and goes back out to the movie or whatever and sits there in agony because of whatever psychological malfunction he has going on. Unlike my "number two" phobia, I have no problem going number one with any number of bystanders. I guess this is because my kidneys seem to be on permanent overdrive so it's either pee every two hours or explode.
Now to address a matter of some controversy: do guys "check out" one another in the bathroom? Yes they do, but now let me qualify that statement. I don't go and actively seek out to see the next guy's "unit," but once in a while you'll just be standing there, minding your own business, when in your peripheral vision you'll catch a glimpse of some kind of motion and you happen to notice that Bubba next to you is waving around some kind of baseball bat of a package as he goes to shake or whatever. You just can't help but notice; I'm sure it's some kind of defense mechanism in case that thing gets out of hand and it might put an eye out or something. You've gotta be aware of your surroundings!
Of course there are always a couple of pervs hanging around the men's room. They're the guys who can't wait for you to sidle up next to them so they can try to get a peek at your stuff. One time I busted one of them. I was standing there doing my thing when he apparently saw my Prince Albert piercing and sort of gasped "Ouch!" I totally saw him staring over at me, violating all the boundaries of men's room etiquette. He couldn't do anything but turn beet red in the face and get the hell out of there. I love feeling superior.
Then of course you have the funny accidents, like when some dude loads up on soap to wash his hands only to discover that the sink doesn't work. Better him than me! Or when someone drops his watch or something in the toilet. Bummer. Or the water in the sink comes out at like a million pounds per square inch and splatters the dude with the baseball bat thing. Good for him, the bastard!
And of course sometimes you have the weird things happen, like the guy who sounds like he's exercising or working on heavy machinery behind the stall door. Or the dudes who hunch over the urinal like something's gonna bite off their thing if they don't protect it. Or the obsessive-compulsives who wash their hands thirty times. Or the guys who pee in several different urinals one after the other (what's up with that?).
Anyway, trips to the bathroom can be very entertaining, and a terrific exercise in social psychology. Remember - it's not just a toilet, it's an adventure!

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