Have you ever wondered why public bathrooms are called restrooms? There is no rest to be had in any public restroom, just stress, fear, and anxiety. Listen, if I want to rest, I’ll just stay home and lie on the couch or go to bed. Why in the world would anyone want to rest in a room with a toilet shared by many, many people, strangers even, most of whom have poor hygiene, disregard for others, perverted tendencies or diseases, just to name a few.
Those paper barriers used to protect my buttocks from others’ residue? FAIL! They never work for me. Great concept, poor design.
Before sitting down on a foreign toilet seat, I usually grab a paper seat protector and one of 3 things happens:
- As I pull it out of the container, it rips in half, and I have to work at figuring out how to best place the two halves on the seat without actually touching it.
- I place it on the horseshoe-shaped potty and right when I am about to sit down, whooooooooosh, it flies off the seat and lands on the floor. At that point, it is much too late to stop my downward sitting motion; my bare ass comes into uncomfortable contact with the grimy seat, and I feel deeply disgusted with myself and others.
- I get the protector in place, plop down and realize there were drops of liquid on the seat, which immediately seeped through the paper. Once again, I find myself sitting on the bare porcelain, questioning the mystery substance – Water? Urine? Other fowl liquid? No clue, but when I am done, I stand up, only to have the seat protector stuck to my bottom, in a last ditch effort to come home with me.
After dinner in a fine restaurant one evening, I had to use the facilities. Protector in place, I sit down and discover that the toilet seat is warm….really warm, as if someone had actually camped out there for a good chunk of time. Ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!
Trying to chase the disturbing thoughts about why someone would sit there for an hour or so before moving on, I sensed a subtle vibration on my flesh. What the heck? And it came to me! I was sitting on one of those Japanese toilets that cleans, washes, dries, hydrates, plays music, massages and sends messages to your friends and family. This contraption had the capacity to do everything but pee for me!
Recently at the airport, I was delighted to see an automated plastic version of the paper seat protectors. Yessssss!!! Someone’s been thinking! Relaxed, I sit down, do what I gotta do and stand back up. Just when I’m about to try and figure out how to leave a new, fresh cover for the next water-logged person, I noticed the instructions. First, swipe hand over the sensor to change the soiled plastic cover. Second, simply sit on fresh, hygienic germ-free plastic! Fuck my life. I could not get this straight if my existence depended on it.
Tanzania, 2005. I’ve never been so stressed out in a “restroom.” Me, Gilles, Yohan and 2 male guides were out on a safari for a week. During the day, they would make several stops, all disappearing behind the car for a brief moment before hopping back in to continue the journey. Within a minute or 2, someone would spot a wild animal. “Look at the lion in the tree!” Yohan shouted gleefully. Sure enough, high on a branch, a lion would be peering at us hungrily.
Having drunk a LOT of water one morning, my bladder was about to burst. I could not hold it any longer! “Can we stop to pee?” I asked the driver sheepishly? The guides looked concerned. Mumbling something to each other in Swahili, the driver’s assistant flashed me an open hand with 5 fingers. “Gilles, I whispered. Does that mean 5 minutes or is that their way of telling me to stop talking and shut my mouth?
The jeep came to a sudden halt and in the distance, 500 feet away, was an outhouse. Thank God! About to open the door, our guide yelled, “WAIT LADY!!” He made rounds with his fingers, put them up to his eyes explaining he first had to look around with binoculars to make sure the coast was clear……of lions!
He’s kidding, right?
“Lady!!” He shouted. “Come! Come Quickly!” My fierce family stayed in the safe vehicle while I stumbled among the brush toward the empty outhouse. My guide guarding the building, I hurriedly stepped inside to find a hole with massive African flies swarming by the hundreds. On the positive side, I had not to worry about the paper toilet covers, squirting toilets or anything else. My one and only job was to pee and get back to safety.
Ever try to urinate squatting over a fly-infested hole, with no railings, no toilet paper, no nothing…..but a knife-carrying safari guide who wants nothing else but to get the hell out of there? The more he screamed, “Quickly. Quickly!” the longer it took. The stream would just altogether stop even though my bladder was still full to the brim. Worse yet, my quads ached, trembled and protested as I willed the liquid to leave my body. I would have leaned on my elbows more, but one arm was always in the air, swatting the indestructible tsetse flies. After what seemed like an eternity, I was empty. Guided at a very quick pace back to the jeep, we got out of there as quickly as possible.
2 short minutes later, Yohan, AKA Mr. Eagle Eyes, excitedly spied a hyena munching on some sort of putrid bone. That could have been my own arm, most likely my humerus, I thought.
There are only two logical solutions to the above dilemmas:
- Stay home. Going out is overrated.
- Purchase a Disposable Female Urinal Funnel Device and have them on hand 24/7. They come in handy on a safari and allow you to fit in with the other guys on the trip! No more special stops!
Next on Best Foot 4 Ward blog: The Toilet Paper Tragedies: