January 06, 2005

Close Call?

I have a laundry-list of pet peeves when it comes to using public bathroom stalls. In addition to things like this, I also positively shudder when I sit down on a toilet seat that's still radiating the warmth of the person who shat before me.

It's one of those things that just jump starts my brain and gets me thinking of all sorts of scenarios regarding the person who pooped previously. Was it someone I know? Were they reading a magazine? How long were they sitting here? Things like that.

Well, today, just a few short minutes ago, in fact, I experienced a public-toilet-stall situation that I immediately added to my list of pet peeves.

One thing that I've always just generally undertood to be common toilet stall etiquette is the act of checking for feet in each stall. It doesn't have to be an act of getting down on your hands and knees and peering intently or anything; just a nice, casual glance downward to see if there are some shoes shuffling around down there, indicating stall occupation. Granted, it's not foolproof, but it's probably effective 99 percent of the time.

And I understand that, particularly in the workplace, people just kind of unconsciously develop an affinity for a particular stall; a favorite, if you will. I, too, have my favorite work stall and I, too, feel a pang of disappointment when I see feet shifting around within my favorite stall because it means I have to squat in unfamiliar territory. But, at least I always check for feet, and I move on, though disappointedly, when feet are encountered.

Well, today, I'm sitting there, in an unfamiliar stall, because my favorite was occupied, which I ascertained through appropriate foot-glancing. I was pooping, catching up on the latest issue of eWeek, when someone came barging into the bathroom.

And then the mystery bathroom barger went and slammed up against my toilet stall door, trying to gain entry.

Which. . .

There are several, minor, butt-clenching moments the typical person experiences on any given day. Perhaps you decide to run a late yellow traffic light, or maybe someone cuts you off suddenly on the Interstate, or maybe the family pet simply startles you when you're rounding the corner. All of these may result in a minor, quick clenching of the buttocks.

It's an instinctual "fight or flee" reflexive action, I imagine, a product passed on genetically from our simian ancestors, who had to clench off a turd in mid-effort in order to outrun a hungry tiger. So, I understand where it comes from.

But, when someone tries gaining entrance into your public toilet stall, and makes a considerable amount of noise in the process, while you're blissfully reading an issue of eWeek, the startle-factor, and the instinctive butt clench that accomodates it, is more than just minor; it's considerably pronounced.

It was so pronounced, in fact, that a tiny sprittle of pee went arcing up and over the toilet seat, settling in the boxer shorts that were in a crumpled mass around my ankles.

And then the toilet stall assailant just kind of stood there, apparently not fully realizing that the stall was locked for a reason. Check for the feet, man!!

"There's someone in here!" I finally offerred, hoping to defuse the tense situation.

No movement. Either this guy just didn't understand, or he was really, really upset that his favorite stall was occupied. A few shuffling steps in front the stall occurred, and then finally, FINALLY, the unknown would-be crapper moved on down the row of stalls to a different toilet.

I sat there awhile, pondering the incident, thinking for some reason that I had just experienced a really close call of some sort, although I couldn't figure out what that close call actually was.

But, it definitely made my list of pet peeves. Check for feet, man, that's all I'm saying.

Posted by Ryan at January 6, 2005 03:10 PM

We as women always have to sit, and yes it's acky when the seat is still warm. Or when the person before you has decided that the seat was not clean enough to sit her pristine ass on and has hovered above it and had splashed and or dripped and or sprayed on the seat and didn't bother to wipe it off because SHE didn't want to get HER ass dirty. Fuck me. And yeah, look for feet! And tell your damn kid not to look under the door at me, or through the crack, I hate that too.

Posted by: Donna at January 7, 2005 02:05 AM

And the little arc of pee? Sorry dude, but that was FUNNY! Maybe to the rest of us huh?

Posted by: Donna at January 7, 2005 02:09 AM

I hate to rely on cliches, but... Too much information!

Posted by: UML Guy at January 7, 2005 02:51 AM

You actually sit on the toilet....

Posted by: Lily at January 7, 2005 09:23 AM

Lily, if I'm taking a shit, you're damned right I sit down. What am I supposed to do? Hover?

Posted by: Ryan at January 7, 2005 09:26 AM

In public dunnies, I find that a rapidly constructed ring of toilet paper covering the seat does the trick. But I've got to say dude, that if your little soldier is pointing upwards while you sit there's something horribly wrong with you.

Posted by: Simon at January 7, 2005 11:01 AM

It wasn't that my "little soldier" was pointing upwards, Simon. The guy just hit the stall door so forcefully, and so unexpectedly, that I practically leaped off the toilet seat, and my soldier, which had a little bit of liquid still in the chamber, flopped upwards and squirted. It wasn't a lot, mind you, just a few driplets.

I can't believe I just explained myself so graphically.

Posted by: Ryan at January 7, 2005 11:07 AM

So, did I miss it or did he scare the shit out of you?

I hate bathrooms with multiple stalls because there is nothing in the world worse than competing ass symphonies. And its even worse if the other guy is your boss.

And Ryan, don't think you're getting by with that warm seat comment. I seem to recall a tagline for Rambling Rhodes from a year or two ago about the joy of sitting on a toilet seat prewarmed by someone else's buttocks, something to the effect that they were good times.

And you could have startle peed worse, it could have arced back on to you!

And, last thought, sitzpinkel. Its a word, its a movement, its an emasculation of a nation of men. I'll sit to pee when they chop off my legs!

Posted by: Johnny Huh? at January 7, 2005 12:11 PM

The things we talk about!?! Ryan, you kill me.

Posted by: Donna at January 8, 2005 01:49 AM

I'm amused to note that your sidebar ads are both for self-cleaning toilet seats right now.

It occurs to me that, given the kinds of things you blog about on a regular basis, these side bar ads will probably be pretty good entertainment.

Posted by: Joshua at January 9, 2005 01:44 AM

I love those sani seat toilet seat covers, for those of you who've not seen them, it is a plastic sleeve that goes over the toilet seat, and when you get up, it slides itself around so the next person gets a clean seat. Nice...and not warm or wet.

Posted by: Donna at January 9, 2005 04:12 PM
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