This is the week of the Newport Seafood & Wine Festival, and thousands of visitors will be descending on our community. All the local facilities will be packed, including restrooms. The following is for females everywhere, and the men who wonder about such things.
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Bonding in the Bathroom
When you have to visit a public restroom, there is usually a line of women, so you smile politely and take your place in line. Once it’s your turn, you check for feet under the stall doors. Every stall is occupied.
Finally a door opens and you dash in, nearly knocking down the woman leaving the stall. You get in only to find the door won’t latch. It doesn’t matter. You have been waiting so long you are about to wet your pants.
The dispenser for the modern “seat covers” (invented by someone’s mom) is handy, but empty. You would hang your purse on the door hook if there was one, but there isn’t. So you carefully, but quickly, drape it around your neck. (Mom would turn over in her grave if you put your purse on the floor.)
You yank down your pants and assume “The Stance.” In this position, your aging and toneless (oh, I knew I should have gone to the gym) thigh muscles begin to shake. You would love to sit down, but you have not taken time to wipe the seat or lay toilet paper on it, so you hold “The Stance.”
To take your mind off your trembling thighs, you reach for what you discover to be an empty toilet paper dispenser. In your mind, you can hear your mother’s voice saying, “Honey, if you had tried to clean the seat you would have known there was no toilet paper!” Your thighs shake more. You remember that teeny tiny piece of tissue you blew your nose on yesterday — the one that is still in your purse. (Oh yeah, the purse around your neck that now you have to hold up, trying not to strangle yourself at the same time).
That piece of tissue will have to do. You crumple it in the puffiest way possible. It is still smaller than your thumbnail. Someone pushes the door open because the latch doesn’t work. The door hits your purse, which is hanging around your neck in front of your chest, and you and your purse topple backward against the tank of the toilet.
“Occupied!” you scream as you reach for the door, dropping your precious tiny crumpled tissue into a puddle on the floor, lose your footing altogether and slide down directly onto the toilet seat. It is wet, of course. You bolt up, knowing all too well that it’s too late. Your bare bottom has made contact with every imaginable germ and life form on the uncovered seat because you never laid down toilet paper — not that there was any even if you had taken time to try.
You know that your mother would be utterly appalled if she knew because you are certain her bottom never touched a public toilet seat because frankly dear “You just don’t know what kind of diseases you could get!” By this time, the automatic sensor on the back of the toilet is so confused that it flushes a propelling stream of water like a fire hose against the inside of the bowl, which sprays a fine mist of water that covers your butt and runs down your legs and into your shoes.
The flush somehow sucks everything down with such force that you grab the empty toilet paper dispenser for fear of being dragged in, too. At this point, you give up. You are soaked by spewing water and the wet toilet seat. You are E-X-H-A-U-S-T-E-D.
You try to wipe with a gum wrapper you found in your pocket and then slink out inconspicuously to the sinks. You can’t figure out how to operate the faucets with the automatic sensors, so you wipe your hands with spit and a dry paper towel and walk past the line of women still waiting. You are no longer able to smile politely at them.
A kind soul at the very end of the line points out a piece of toilet paper trailing from your shoe. Where was that when you needed it? You yank the paper from your shoe, plunk it into the woman’s hand and tell her warmly, “Here, you might need this.”
As you exit, you spot your hubby who has long since entered, used and left the men’s restroom. Annoyed, he asks, “What took you so long, and why is your purse hanging around your neck?”
As for the men who wonder why women go to the restroom in pairs, it’s so the other gal can hold the door, hang onto your purse and hand you Kleenex under the door.
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So, ladies, you should show this to that man in your life. It might make him more patient the next time he has to wait for you outside of the restroom.
Bobbie Lippman is a professional writer who lives in Seal Rock with her cat, Purrfect. She is the author of “Good Grief: A Collection of Stories As One Woman Journeys From Heartbreak To Healing Through Honesty and Humor.” The book is available on Amazon, at JC Market in Newport and directly from Bobbie, who can be contacted at [email protected]