The last time I stopped at a Chevron for a bathroom break, there was a fully grown man with his pants pulled down to his knees using one of only two urinals. He had a hairy ass and that indelible image is seared into my memory and there’s nothing I can do to wash it away. I stopped dead in the middle of the tiled floor after walking in; he must’ve sensed my disgusted expression or something because he turned and made eye contact and then reached down to slowly pull up his pants as if nothing were wrong with his decision. Nope, nothing to see here. No forty year old vagrant pissing like a toddler on a camping trip. There was simply no way I was going to walk up beside him and use the other urinal (it was the one closer to the ground for children anyway) so I just washed my hands and left. I’m not quite sure why I took the time to wash my hands either. I guess it could be to save the guy some embarrassment and make it look like I wasn’t just leaving because of him. Or maybe it was a statement, you know, like “your bare ass doesn’t scare me and I just came in here to wash my hands anyway.”
Look, there are a few unwritten laws when it comes to urinal usage. You always leave one empty one between you and the next guy. If you can’t because too many people are in the bathroom, you use one of the stalls. If all the stalls are full and you’re forced to saunter up to a urinal next to some other dude, you don’t say a damn thing, you keep your face perfectly expressionless like a pissing robot, you stare at the wall directly in front of you pretending like peripheral vision doesn’t exist, and you sure as shit don’t let your pants and tighty-whities fall to the ground. Those are just the damn laws. I didn’t write them but I follow them.
The wife and I went to Starbucks a week ago because we didn’t have our monsters with us and that’s just what you do in a scenario like that; you find a public place, go there, and revel in the tranquility that comes from being sans children. Before ordering our iced green teas, we each went onto the single bathrooms; one for her, one for him. I walked in and once again froze in front of the toilet. Someone had left a rather large surprise in the toilet and hadn’t flushed and it sure as hell wasn’t a biscotti. As I stared down into that elliptical ring of porcelain, something nagged at me. Something else was wrong with this picture and I just couldn’t figure it out. And that’s when it hit me like a double espresso: there wasn’t any toilet paper in the toilet. Son of a bitch. Someone had gone into the bathroom thirty minutes or so after an enormous meal, done their business, and then failed to do that one thing that separates us from the primates. “Employees must wash their hands before returning to work” my ass; this dude didn’t even wipe.
Upon leaving the restroom, I started slowly panning my head from left to right trying to figure out who the hygiene shirking culprit was. Was it the effeminate guy in a tweed suit sipping a latte? No frickin’ way; he looked way too uptight to be the perpetrator. Was it the teenish guy in athletic gear doing his best to impress an awkward blonde on what looked to be a second or third date? No frickin’ way; he’d never risk the smell. Was it the disgruntled heavyset and slightly emo dude working the drive through window? Yup. Son of a bitch. We ordered our iced teas and I watched those baristas like a tree-hugger would watch Paul Bunyan. Our drinks never came close to Mr. Too-busy-or-angst-ridden-to-wipe and we went on our way.
Anyway, I write and sell books, and they never cost more than a buck. Hell, tomorrow, they’ll both be free. If you’re a fan of fiction, you should check out Trailer Park Juggernauts here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00704HK6Q If you’re a fan of real life with just a sprinkling of fiction, you should check out Ephemeral Truths and Short Fiction here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AYRAXNI