This is a personal question, but when you use a public restroom, do you feel you need to buy something from the establishment to pay for the privilege, if you get my drift? (No pun intended there, Sport.)
Years ago we were driving back to Wisconsin after picking Oldest Daughter up from her southern college. The scenic backroad through the Blue Ridge mountains was a poor choice, for when I needed to GO, we had to ride for miles to find a bathroom, finally spotting an old gas/grocery store. I walked inside as fast as dignity would allow only to see a disheartening sign on the single restroom door: Out of Order. I raced out to stop Dearly Beloved before he began pumping gas.
“Don’t buy it here! Their bathroom is out of order!”
He was obligingly returning the hose to the pump when Boo, our oldest daughter, stuck her head out of the store door. “Mom, the man says it’s okay to use the restroom!”
DB began filling our tank and I went back inside the store only to find out that my sneaky daughter had gone in ahead of me.
When it was my turn. . . how can I say this delicately?… I set about taking care of matters as quietly as possible. It took awhile; I had been in misery for the last forty miles and the winding road had made me a little carsick so, to use a driving term, there was backup.
I finished. I flushed. Nothing.
I flushed again. Nothing… only the hollow rattle of the handle. Not good! Removing the lid from the tank revealed there was no water in it. Apparently there had been enough for one flush and Boo had used it! I jiggled anything that looked jiggle-able, made sure the little rubber thingie was in place–the extent of my plumbing knowledge–and replaced the lid. I flushed again. Nothing.
I dumped the contents of the trash can onto the floor with the idea of filling it to pour into the toilet bowl, but it was too large to fit under the spigot. Panic began to set in as I looked around the room for a vessel. Nothing. I didn’t even have my purse with me. Yes, I’d have considered it! In desperation I cupped my hands under the faucet and tried to sling water into the bowl, but that didn’t work at all. I thought briefly of making a run for it, calling to my family on the way out the door, but I could imagine the owner using our charge receipt to hunt us down, then putting my photo on a poster declaring, “BATHROOM BANNED!!”
Enough time had elapsed that my family had to be wondering about me. It was obvious Mom hadn’t gone in for a quick tinkle. There was only one thing left to do. I cracked the door and hissed frantically at Pogo, our younger daughter, who was standing close by. “Pssssst…POGO! GET YOUR DAD!!!”
This man has gone through many travails with me, but none were approached more reluctantly than this one. He entered that bathroom like the condemned man making that last, lonely walk. There was no seat lid and short of throwing my body across it, there wasn’t much I could do to hide my…transgressions. Yes, DB, I have bowel movements!
“SHEENGAH-HONGA , you did THAT???? I would never have BELIEVED that my wife …” gagging noises and on and on. Soon all three kids were knocking on the door wanting to see what was happening and who knows what the guys behind the counter were thinking. Finally it came. . . the wonderful, wet flush!
In addition to the gasoline, we bought a bag full of snacks and made our retreat, swearing off further back road driving. These days we make our stops at fast food restaurants where I cast logic aside and buy still another Diet Coke to replace the one that necessitated the stop in the first place, then I’m good for another hundred miles. Back to my original point, however, we are not restroom freeloaders. We always pay to play, so to speak.
Yesterday we went out to lunch and afterwards Dearly Beloved handed me the keys and asked me to drive back alone. He wanted to walk down to the beach and then would walk home. I had some errands to run, so I didn’t get home until a couple of hours later. When I walked into our bedroom I was surprised to see, laid out on the bed, a new jacket which was embroidered with the logo of the local fishing pier .
I found DB in the sunroom, watching CNBC. “That jacket is for ME? Is it a Valentine?”
He never took his eyes off the television. “I had to use the restroom at the pier. It was either the jacket or a granola bar.”
I’m not even going to ask.