Monday, April 13, 2009

Potty Talk

I have a thing about restrooms.

It stems from the tiny bladder I was born with that was then badly abused by childbirth and a terrible surgeon or two. Things have been a bit better since my last surgery, but I'm still always hyper aware of the nearest john jane, and I position myself in a room accordingly.

Suffice it to say I've been to more than a few over the course of my life. In fact, my husband thinks I should write a travel book documenting the best rest stops from here to the West, seeing as I've been in each and every one of them more times than I can remember.

I can tell you which ones are fairly clean, which aren't. Which stock the cheap TP and which spring for the good stuff. Which ones have soda, snacks, and ice cream machines, which have picnic tables and dog trails, which is the last one for 180 miles so you better go there or make sure you have a bottle handy.

Some places even have really cool touristy stuff to see that will entertain your children or plaques documenting local history. Basically, it would be a guide on what to be sure you hit and which ones could leave you cowering in the fetal position crying for your mommy to make it all go away. E coli, man. Fear it.

As a few of you know, my family took a much needed and highly anticipated road trip to the beach in Destin, FL last week (in which the Cosmic Thumb ran rampant. More on this in a future post). Between me and all three of my children this meant many a rest stop would be in order, and we were prepared to make many stops.

On the way down, we did pretty well for the most part. We stopped for food and gas, forced each kid to go right then and there regardless of need, and that was it. I was gratified that things were going so smoothly in this particular department.

Then the trip back home. Can I just say, Alabama, what in the world are you thinking? You know your mama raised you better! We hit the most disgusting places I have ever seen in my life all in the same day. Filthy, abused, smoked-filled, doors that wouldn't close, out-of-order...but the worst by far was when we stopped for lunch. Dave took the kids in while I stayed with the baby. He came back out and quickly drove away saying the lines were too long, and I should go somewhere else.

Now I am convinced that Alabama doesn't believe in rest stops, cuz we only saw maybe three of them that day, and they were always situated a couple a miles beyond whatever nasty gas station we'd eventually resigned ourselves to using. There sure was not one anywhere nearby at this point in our trip. Thirty or so miles away from the restaurant as my eyes were turning yellow, we finally found a town and stopped at a KFC. I ran into this joint as fast as I could, bulldozing my way through a line of hungry people to get to Shangri-La the rest room.

Be warned. What ensued is not for the faint of heart (or weak of stomach).

I ran in and took the first of two stalls, ripped my pants down, and was about to feel a whole lot better when I noticed the TP holder. It was empty, of course. (Rookie mistake, man. I so know better than to strip before checking.) A few colorful thoughts later and I was jerking my britches up, slamming through the restroom and hurling myself at the other stall door. Which was occupied. With a girl with quite the upset stomach.

My stomach wasn't feeling very great either as I took a look around me. It was bad. Really really bad. I'd been in such a hurry I hadn't noticed the pitiful state of affairs this joint was currently in. And then there was the smell. (I could describe it but this post is forever long already and you, faithful reader, might still want to eat something later.) I settled myself to wait a while.

After a few minutes, another family came in and tried to jump the line, but after seeing the look on my face they retreated back behind me. Sick girl finally came out, and I ran in. As I was about to lock the door, this woman waiting behind me pushed her way in with me. I'm now crossing my legs in an adult version of the pee pee dance while she instructs me to start pulling TP out for her and each of her children to take to the other toilet. I figured she was crazy enough to follow me, a complete stranger, into my toilet so there was no telling what else she was capable of. I tried to do as she asked. Only problem was, sick girl had used all of the roll. The other roll was shoved way on up in there, and the dispenser was broken.

I was almost in tears when I finally got enough for her to finally get out of my really nasty and really small stall. I finally got to sit myself down, but as did the whole toilet listed to one side, and I came very close to falling on the scum-encrusted floor. I had to balance the thing to keep it attached to the floor as I went.

Expecting Dave to be getting worried, I hurriedly took care of business and tried to leave the stall. Only I couldn't. The lock I had thrown so quickly (to ensure the woman didn't try to barge back in) was thoroughly jammed. I was sure I would have to crawl under the door, but I managed to open it. I washed my hands (without soap, they were out) and high-tailed it out of there.

Usually at this point in my post I sum up my experience and reflect on the lesson. This time though, I'm not sure what moral or lesson I should have learned from this experience, but it sure has inspired me to purchase one of these.


  1. I gotta say, I love the add. Especially at the end where it says, "You won't be like a man, you'll just pee like one."

  2. I am not sure what made my stomach flop more, your story or the Go Girl ;) Yikes, note to self don't stop in Alabama!!

  3. Too funny! Hey I have one for you....there is a bathroom (and yep, it's in Alabama on Hwy 278 somewhere past Cullman) that doesn't even have a floor. There is actually a trench leading from the toilet to somewhere under the STORE that carries whatever you put into the toilet away! You have no place for your feet to be without literally GOING on your shoes because this trench leads away from the toilet from the FRONT side of it. Going home from up there Thursday, we drove that way and when we passed this infamous BP station (and this bathroom is INSIDE the store, not an outhouse on the side of the building) we all looked at it, shivered and held it!


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