Saturday, July 07, 2007

Problems With Public Bathrooms (Not for Sensitive Readers!)

I have a problem with public bathrooms.

Glad to see that my opening line caught your interest and you're still reading.

Anyway, I despise public bathrooms. I really do. I mean, everyone has bodily functions that must be tended to and I get that. Really, I understand that. What freaks me out is, um, I guess HOW people tend to their bodily functions in public.

Everybody pees. Everybody poops. It's a fact of life. Sometimes, when we're not in the comfort of our own homes, the urge strikes and we do what we have to do.

Enter the public bathroom.

It's bad enough that there's a conglomerate of stalls. But, where's the appeal in that? Are we supposed to walk in the bathroom and be like, Ooooohhhhh. Look at them. There are four toilets in here! FOUR! What on earth am I going to do with four toilets?

Well, I'll tell you what you're going to do with four toilets. You're going to look at each one and pray that you find one clean enough to plunk your behind on. Most toilets usually have dried (or even worse, sometimes WET) bodily fluids on them. Eeeewwww! I will never understand how people can "miss" when they go the bathroom. And if it's a child, for Heaven's sake, as a parent, please clean it up!

I just have to say, thank God for toilet seat covers. And FYI, you can find 5-packs of Charmin toilet seat covers in the sample section at Target. I've got a lot of them. Potty training a two-year-old, you know? Anyway, once you get past the grossness factor of having to put your naked rear end on a seat (even a covered or toilet-paper lined seat) where God only knows how many people have sat prior to you, you have to get down to the business of going.

I can barely pee in public. No matter how bad I have to go, even if my bladder is ready to burst out of me, it takes me a minute to go. My bladder is a little shy. It got better when I was pregnant, because when I had to go, I HAD TO GO! But I still hate going in public. I mean, I'm sitting in a nasty stall, with however many people around me, and of course, there are the terrible acoustics in public bathrooms. Even if you only have to go a little, it sounds like you're draining a fire hose. Am I right? You know I am! Quit pretending that you pee silently.

So, you manage to go, and then you look at the toilet paper. How many people have touched that paper? And even worse, there are no lids on public toilets, and we've all been told that when a toilet flushes, the contents can splash up to six feet out of the bowl. So, who knows what's lurking on that toilet paper? FYI, you can also get travel toilet paper at Target. Man, Charmin thinks of everything!!

Okay. Now, you're done peeing (or pooping, if you're able to do that in public) and just when you get ready to wipe, what happens?? It's the AUTOMATICALLY FLUSHING TOILET!!!

Who thought of that? I don't know. I'll have to look that up and get back to you. I'm sure it was someone who thought it would be helpful and more sanitary not to have to manually flush. And it seems like a great idea have nasty toilet water splashing up all over your butt and then the ultra powerful suction tries to whisk you down along with the toilet contents.

Automatically flushing toilets? Come on! If I wanted my butt to get wet, I'd go back to the days when my husband left the seat up in the middle of the night and I wouldn't realize it and fall in. At least it was clean toilet water! The good thing is that I now insist that all toilet lids must be closed before flushing (that whole droplets-traveling-six-feet-from-the-bowl thing), so he puts the seat down all the time now. I'm so lucky!

So, my ranting comes down to this: Everyone, I would like to say that when you use a public toilet, you should treat it like you treat your toilet at home. Of course, for people who leave charming little "leftovers", maybe that is how they treat their toilets at home, in which case, this will have no bearing at all. And one more thing, wait until the toilet is done flushing to make sure everything is gone. The person in the stall after you has no interest in your floaters.

Oh yeah, one more thing...wash your hands. That's a post for another time.


Cheryl said...

Excellent commentary. You thought of everything. What I hate is using the employees bathroom in my salon and finding 1) The seat wet or 2) no toilet paper. Come on. It's not a public bathroom.

jAMiE said...

Whenever possible i hold it till i get home...but when i can't..i'm forced to use one and it's never good. Some places really look after their bathrooms, say, for the hospital where i have my treatments...but other places are not so fastidious in the care of them.

Here's to nice, clean bathrooms when we're out and about.

Anonymous said...

Martha, you've thought alot about this. My thought is much simpler... After using a public restroom with 'touch-free' flushing, soap dispensing, faucet, and auto-towels, why on earth would I want to grab ahold of a door handle?! When was the last time that was disinfected? I hear you- public RR's are gross!!