Public relief facilities or private relief facilities that are available to the public are of gargantuan importance in my life. There, I said it. I would be tethered, nay imprisoned in my home if it were not for these public service areas. I would never bash these places that allow me to travel the world without wearing adult diapers. However, why do we refer to them as “restrooms”? I have visited some of the best and worst of these facilities throughout the world, and while I have found relief and sometimes comfort in them, I have never found rest.
When I was young, I took issue with what I called “peak-a-brats”. These are the small children who run around looking through all of the gaps around or under stall doors at you while you are engaged in activities of desperation. They can often interrupt the stream of concentration and be very annoying. I became much more tolerant when I had my own children and could not leave them or send them on their own. Furthermore, I have very fond memories of taking Morgan to the small lounge area in Dillard’s where we would take a few minutes to have a little tea party. Who would not want to use the Tampax machine for the pretend Coke machine?
I know that through the years women have needed a place to freshen their makeup and powder their noses. It is not polite to do that in public. However, nothing irritates me quite as much as those who completely camp out in the restroom even going so far as to plug in curling irons or straighteners and block sinks that are needed for hand washing. We are supposed to hold back on all things unladylike until we reach the sanctuary of the restroom when possible. Many facets of waste and phlegm elimination are terribly undignified and, while they are crowd pleasers in a movie with “beer” or “fraternity” in the title, they are not as well-received by the general public, especially if your name is not Schumer or Galifianakis. When you rush into a facility burdened with the pressures of time and intestinal distress hanging on to the last vestiges of dignity by a quickly failing sphincter muscle, the last thing you want is an audience of teen or pre-teen girls brushing their hair while watching Youtube makeup tutorials and tweeting to their crushes. And when you cannot curb the indelicate sounds that escape the body that betrays you so regularly (or irregularly without Metamucil), you must endure the humiliation that goes with knowing the comments and giggles are about you and not the cute cat video in play on an iPhone 7 as you ran into the stall.
I have seen the writing on the wall, and admittedly, I have read a great deal of it. I do not know if Hemingway, Faulkner, Yeats or Shakespeare began legendary writing careers on outhouse walls. I want to go out on a limb and say that they did not, but I cannot be certain. I suppose that before Facebook and Twitter, stall walls were the only places that one felt free to exercise the second amendment with such an unbridled lack of couth. I have often wondered why people write what they do while they doo, but they do and in what I call a crappy lack of good moral code, they bring into question other peoples’ lineage, mothers, ethnicity, religion and sexual orientation. I can somewhat understand advertising: how else would we know who to call for a good time and what all services might be offered by this apparent jack of all trades, including the oldest profession? I have to admit, though, that I am still confounded by those who wish to prove they exist or leave a notification trail of places they have visited. Once they post their Disneyworld photos on Instagram the world will know, and a picture with Mickey has to be better than your name inked above a broken toilet, doesn’t it? Perhaps they have been kidnapped and this is to help the FBI return them to their families. That could be a plausible explanation. Then again, animals do mark their territory by urinating or defecating, and a signature just adds a bit of panache to it.
Do you remember in Titanic or The Way We Were or Gone with the Wind when the most famous couples of all time declared their undying love and devotion to one another by scribbling it above a soiled commode ripe with odiferous skid marks? Neither do I. That is all.
Finally, we should not have to process a person’s poor choices with his or her poor literacy. People, please! In order to describe anatomical features, sexual acts, and/or proclivity for any combination thereof, one should have to spell correctly and use proper grammar. My revulsion to behavior is only surpassed by my indignation at the lack relationship between education and real world application. Such a travesty!
As I lament that there is no “rest” in restrooms, I confess that I thought about increasing my readership tenfold by hanging excerpts of my blog on the back of stall doors like they do with ads in truck stops and health and study tips in college. By the way, I have had some hilariously awkward conversations with strangers in public stalls. A person enters a stall near me and begins talking to me, and although I am somewhat perplexed by the vein of the conversation, I answer as best I can only to find out later that the person is speaking with someone else on a cell phone. Remaining germane to the topic, I cannot decide if I am em-BARE-ASSED or relieved.