Ruining a good thing: Bathroom privacy

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Updated Feb 25, 2018

bathroom stalls

It’s a well-known fact I don’t have good luck in public restrooms. I’ve written more stories about bathrooms than pretty much anything else, and if you didn’t know any better, you’d probably think I was weird. (This is where you say, “No way! You’re not weird at all!” and roll your eyes, because we all know it’s true and I am actually very weird.)

Weird or not, I have a hard time doing my business when I don’t feel like I’m in a private place, and let’s face it, a stone wall and a moat wouldn’t help some of the public restrooms along the road feel private. I’m not sure why people have the burning desire to crash into bathrooms and announce to the entire world they’ve arrived, but I think all of those people should be struck mute, so the rest of us can poop in peace without having to know Mary Beth from Albuquerque is present and accounted for.

I also don’t understand why people sometimes feel the need to strike up a conversation when they see another set of feet beside them. Again, I may be strange, but the thought of asking someone where they’re from through a stall wall is absolutely inconceivable to me. Don’t they have emails to read on their phone, like normal people?

We traveled out of the Portland area towards Reno on state routes, as we are unwelcome in the Republic of California with our butterfly-killing, non-CARB compliant truck, and even the 150-mile clip we would have to make was more of a risk than George was willing to take on a $1,000 fine. He’s pretty much made up his mind to never give California a dime of his money again, especially in the form of legal extortion. As it turns out, the ride was incredible – some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen are in Southern Oregon, also some of the most remote.

We hadn’t seen a car, building, human or even cow for miles when we came upon a little convenience store and I asked George to stop so I could go to the bathroom. I figured my chances of taking an unhindered poop in a private bathroom were pretty doggone good out there in the middle of nowhere, so I took the opportunity while we had it.

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I swear on my eyes – about five seconds after I sat down and attempted to open my email (no service out in the boonies) some guy comes crashing into the store announcing loudly that HE HAS TO USE THE BATHROOM RIGHT NOW! It was as if he were sent directly from hell to ruin my quiet, uninterrupted poop. He launched himself at the door and yelled, “Please hurry!! I really have to go!” Needless to say, I shot him and continued with my quiet time.

Of course I didn’t, I just wanted to really bad.

I did what I always do. I got up and cursed him and his entire family under my breath, and let the poor man use the bathroom. I guess he noticed the “I hate you and everything you have ever touched on this earth” look I gave him on the way out.

“I’m sorry – I really have to go. You can have it back in a minute, this won’t take long.”

The noises that issued forth from the tiny room assured me I would indeed never enter it again, even if my life depended upon it. I’m pretty sure there were moose lined up outside, looking for the female bleating out mating calls from the bathroom when he left. (This may be a filthy lie.) I walked back to the truck, defeated and with an aching tummy, to find George waiting and laughing.

“You didn’t go, did you?”

“Uh, no. Captain Break the Bathroom Door Down didn’t permit me to complete the task.”

“I knew as soon as I saw him scream off the highway he was going to disturb you. Only one reason a man runs from the car like that.”

“Do I have some sort of homing beacon for people to interrupt my number two? Is it tattooed somewhere on my body that I’m never to take an unhindered crap? Stop laughing at me.”

“I’ll stop in the badlands and let you out. No one will bother you out there.”

“No, I’m pretty sure someone would find me squatting in the middle of the desert and ask me where I’m from. Forget it. I’ll just wait until we get to the next truck stop so I can be forced to converse while eliminating. I hope you choke from laughing, because it’s not funny.”

“You’re right, babe, it’s not funny.”

I think he quit laughing about the time we actually got to Reno, a day later, when I found a bathroom without a talker in it. You’re not going to believe this, but there was a maintenance lady in the restroom mopping, who kept trying to mop the floor of my stall by sticking the mop under the door and swishing it around my feet. This caused me a great deal of consternation, as I had sandals on and absolutely did not want the mop to touch my toes, so I just lifted my feet and let her mop so she would leave me alone.

At least she didn’t talk to me.