I have a fear of public restrooms but my bladder doesn’t care. So when it was intermission at the Art House theatre and the bladder said we had to go—I lined up with the rest. My date was quicker than me and was third in line. I was number ten in line with at least fifty people behind me. It was an old building and the women’s restroom only had three stalls. While I waited I pondered why it takes women so long to go to the bathroom. What are they doing in there – meditating?
So you can imagine as I finally got a stall how relieved I was. I sat down, but couldn’t go. My bladder had performance anxiety. I plugged my ears and hummed Frere Jacques. That worked. I stood and flushed. The toilet made a funny noise. I looked in the toilet bowl and there was a floating turd. It wasn’t an enormous turd but evidently a big enough turd that when the person who left the turd flushed, it didn’t go down. Maybe I’d have better luck a second time. I crossed my fingers and flushed again. The turdlet bobbed around like a sturdy little boat determined to weather the storm.
I silently cursed it. I hissed, “Go away little turd.” I flushed again. The turd stared defiantly up at me. Now people will think I did it because I had been in the stall so long. I frantically scanned the stall for a plunger. Surely, if the Art House had such defective plumbing they’d have supplied each stall with its own turd-removing plunger. No luck. I flushed again, holding then jiggling the handle. I took the back lid off and stared into the innards of the toilet, fiddled around and flushed again. Nothing. Mr. Turd stayed right where he was. I sat down on the toilet and tried to think.
Someone knocked on the stall door. “Is everything all right in there?”
“Yes. I’ll be right out.” I refrained from screaming, “AS SOON AS I GET THIS FUCKING TURD DOWN INTO THE SEWER WHERE IT BELONGS.” I hissed at the turd, “You miserable piece of motherfucking shit.” I flushed again. I whined and pleaded, “God, in your infinite mercy please make this turd go away and I will be the nicest and sweetest and most patient, kind and loving person on the planet. I will end world hunger.” I flushed. No go. I banged my head on the door.
“Ma’am do you need some help?” came the disembodied voice from the outside world.
There was only one thing to do – confess, tell the whole sordid tale. I took a deep breath and opened the stall door. Fifty sets of eyes stared me.
I said in the most confident voice I could muster, “There is a turd in the toilet and it is not mine. I did not deposit it in the toilet and I’ve done everything humanly possible to send it on its way.” I dramatically pointed into the stall. “I will swear on a stack of bibles that it was there when I went in. I apologize for the inconsiderate actions of my fellow man. That is all.” I ran out of the restroom.
I went back to my seat. My date – this was pre-Layce – said, “What happened?”
“What gives you the idea anything happened?” I said, wiping my face with my sleeve. I was sweating profusely despite the air conditioning.
“You looked kind of stressed, that’s all.”
I snapped, “Women are the most inconsiderate restroom users on the planet. It’s all about them. Once they finally lay claim to a stall they lose all sense of time and just sit there going la la la la la, imagining all the others waiting outside with bladders full to bursting and they don’t give a SHIT. And to top matters off SOMEONE left a turd in the toilet bowl for me to deal with. What sort of a person does that?”
My date colored. “It wouldn’t flush down,” she confessed. “I had no choice but to leave. I didn’t think you’d get the same stall as me.”
I nodded sadly. We watched the rest of the lesbian short films and when she dropped me off afterwards there was absolute silence as I got out of the car. I nodded at her and she nodded back. We both knew that turd had come between us before there had ever been an “us.”
The Perfect Summer Read!
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