As with most people, I am not fond of public bathrooms. I try to use them as infrequently as possible, but sometimes you just can't avoid it. Whether it was the 87 oz. Big Gulp from the gas station or 14 cups of coffee, you never know when the limits of your bladder will be reached.
In a stroke of genetic luck, men were given the advantage over women when it comes to urinating in public bathrooms. We were given genital features that can be aimed with semi-accurate precision, instead of having to crouch over the toilet and hover. When it comes to the Other Matter, though, the playing field is equal. I try to limit my public bathroom usage to Urine Only, but when you let Nature's Call go to voicemail enough times, you won't know that there truly is an emergency until right before it happens.
Which is what happened to me a couple of weeks ago.
While out to dinner with The Boss, I felt a roll of thunder pass through my intestines. I had been ignoring the protests from my gut all day, but this colon complaint finally was angry enough to be heard. The message was clear: I needed to get my ass to the bathroom, or I'd risk ruining my favorite pair of jeans, the chair I was sitting on, and the dining experience for everyone in my corner of the restaurant.
I excused myself and walked tight-cheeked to the bathroom as fast as I could.
Now, by nature, men are disgusting creatures. The horror stories you hear about men's public bathrooms are generally true, but we were at a decently upscale restaurant, and the bathroom wasn't the fecal-fest it would have been elsewhere. The bathroom was empty, so I scanned and selected a stall by making sure it met the all of the important public bathroom criteria:
- No unidentifiable (or identifiable) substances on the floor or on any part of the toilet/toilet seat, or in the toilet bowl,
- Adequate stock of toilet paper,
- Test flush of the toilet verifies there is no clog,
- Functioning door lock mechanism.
I entered the stall and locked it behind me. Since I had Business To Do that required a sitting position and the bathroom lacked seat covers, I layered the seat with toilet paper before sitting down. I won't go into any details as to what happened immediately next, but suffice it to say that the Bowel Storm passed through quickly and without any incident. I reached to my left for the toilet paper dispenser, and pulled off about 370 feet of tissue. I leaned to my right, and as I shifted my center of gravity, I slipped.
I slipped off the toilet seat on the protective layer of toilet paper, and slammed my shoulder into the wall. With my left hand bent behind me and my right hand pinned to my side by the wall, I was stuck. I remained still for a moment, obviously uncomfortable and with the toilet seat giving me a wedgie. I freed my left hand, and tried pulling myself back up. When that didn't work, I tried bouncing myself off the wall. I got a good momentum going, and finally managed to get myself semi-upright... until the toilet seat snapped.
When the toilet seat gave way, I came crashing down to the floor on my right side. I lay there for a minute, stunned, before getting up from the floor. Keep in mind that this all happened while my ass was hanging out, pants piled around my ankles. I did my best cleaning myself up before flushing and leaving the stall. I took a look back before closing the door, and it was a mess. Not with anything that would require gloves and a strong gag reflex to clean up, but still.
As I was washing my hands, an employee of the restaurant came in. He looked at me, and then peeked into the other stalls. Finding them all empty, he appeared puzzled.
"Was that you making all that noise?" he asked.
"No, some guy was in that second stall there when I came in. I don't know what he was doing, but he left in an awful hurry," I said, now drying my hands and keeping my head down.
"Huh," he remarked, and scratched his head. "He must have been having a hard time in there. He broke the toilet seat."
"No shit," I said, turning to leave. "Well, I guess that might have been his problem."
The employee chuckled, and closed the stall door. "Maybe so."
I exited the bathroom, and rubbed my shoulder on my way back to the table. When I got back and sat down, The Boss looked at me quizzically.
"Everything okay?" she asked.
"Yes, everything is fine. Just remind me to tell you something funny when we leave."