Trauma in the Public Washroom

One of the more frustrating aspects of having young children that are toilet trained and out of diapers, is that they perpetually need to use public toilets. They usually decide that they need a toilet RIGHT NOW when we’re in a place that is devoid of facilities, and are totally unwilling to allow the general public to traipse through their storage area to get to the staff crapper.

We were out wantonly blowing money in the early afternoon, when nature called my youngest daughter to the throne.  Amazingly, the store we were in had easy to access public bathrooms, which is a deviation from the normal routine of begging the child to hold it before I let her pee in a ditch or behind the car door on the side of the highway. I carried her to the can, as she was doing the pee pee dance. When we made it to the bathroom, I pushed on the Handicapped/Parent washroom door. Occupied. Fine. We’ll just use the Ladies Room. I haul the 3 year old further down the hall, and hipcheck the door open. There is a line.

Dear God.

There is a line.

Now, if waiting behind three elderly women to get to the toilet with the pre-schooler who is about to piss herself isn’t torture enough, LISTENING to them relieve themselves IS. I am imminently repulsed by body sounds. I can look at guts. Blood. Crap. Snot. I can touch it if I have to. But the second I CAN HEAR IT HAPPENING, I start retching. From soup slurping to food chewing, pooping to cracking knuckles – if it makes a noise, it will annoy me to the point of pathological rage. Or turn me off so much that I puke in my mouth.

So there I stood, holding the 30 pound squirmer and a mouth full of vomit, as I was forced to listen to old ladies blow farts and spray the toilet with thundering Hershey squirts. I kept praying I would be struck deaf, so that the agony would end. Instead, the sounds seemed amplified as they bounced off the tiled flooring and walls of the washroom stalls.

Then, it got worse.

The pungent aroma of toilets in heavy usage hit me.  I had to resort to plowing my nose into my daughter’s hair, hoping that the scent of bubble gum kiddy shampoo would somehow save me from the death stench of other people’s dung. Not so much.

Finally, it was our turn. A stall opens. Out comes the Noisy Shitter. We make eye contact. She’s not ashamed of her crapping sounds/stink. She smiles at me and tells my daughter “You have such pretty blue eyes!” I’m ashamed, because all I can think of is “Shitshitshitshitshitshit.”

We go in, and the stall has side by side toilets (for those times you want to take the Browns to the Superbowl with a friend?) and I decide to take advantage of the opportunity to go since I’m there. I plop the kid on one toilet, and yank my capri pants down to sit on the other.

It is WARM.

WARM, because someone else’s ASS was heating it up.

And this, my friends, may have been WORSE than the noise or the smell. Coming cheek to cheek with a toilet seat warmed by a stranger’s buttocks.

If I wasn’t afraid of public washrooms and the festering germs, I would have curled into a ball and rocked on the floor. I was deeply traumatized.

Instead, I hastened the visit, got up, zipped up, helped the Baby do her ritual, and boogied to the sink for some “out out damn spot” type hand washing.

When I got home later, I re-enacted the shower scene from “The Crying Game.”

Never, never can the things I experienced be undone.



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