Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Trouble with Restrooms

We’ve all done it. You are in a retail store, supermarket, etc and suddenly that urge rumbles up your body like the first tremors of an earthquake. Your eyes dart around, searching desperately for the universal sign of a stick man and woman. They always inconveniently hide the restrooms in the deepest corners, past the winter coat section or the seafood aisle. But soon you are there, bursting through the door as if you were an explorer traveling through the Amazon. You pray no one else is inside this domain, but there always seems to be a creepy guy who isn’t really doing anything, just sort of standing there, watching you. You zoom over to the nearest stall and shut the door attempting to lock it, but the pieces of metal are always broken off. You take your position and get ready for your business. And then you see it. Water everywhere on the floor, carvings all over the walls, and some small animal is crawling on the ceiling above you. You are trapped in: Public Restroom Hell.

Ever since I was little I never really enjoyed the public restroom experience. I would avoid it as much as possible, sometimes to the point where I would never use a public bathroom and attempt to “hold it” until I got home. These would of course be the times where my mother would hit all the red lights on the way home and I would sit there “holding” myself, shaking like a psychopath, and receiving puzzled looks from people in their cars as they passed by.

I’ve often wondered what sort of things go on in a public restroom. I can almost guarantee alien life by just examining some of the creations that occur. Not to get too graphic but how does one “miss” that badly? That target is pretty big. I’m no sharpshooter myself, but the floor and the toilet don’t look anything alike. Do people just say, “I’m going on the floor and there’s nothing anyone can do about it!”?
To start with, there are two types of public bathrooms. You have the standard urinals and stalls combo with the row of sinks. This is a classic model used in most public places and so far it seems to be successful. Then you have the one person bathroom. This is definitely the most stress-causing. The first issue I have with these is that I don’t really enjoy interacting with strangers. There always seems to be someone in the bathroom when I want to use it and it’s very awkward just standing there outside the door, especially when a line starts forming. There really isn’t much small talk you can make with your fellow relief seekers, “Yup I’ve been waiting here for about ten minutes, how long have you been waiting?”
The second issue is the fact that once you are in there, the toilet is located about 20 feet away from the door. Therefore you spend your entire time thinking to yourself, “Did I remember to lock the door?” and you never can really remember. You stand (or sit) there petrified, expecting at any moment an army of your worst enemies to burst in and laugh at you in your vulnerable state. By the way there are two types of people in this world: people who dry their hands with paper towels and those who use the hand dryers. One actually involves you doing some work and practicing your aim at the trash bin and the other a monkey could do. Which kind are you?
I have only one horror story having to do with public restrooms. A few years ago I was dining in the wonderful establishment I like to refer to as the “Golden Arches” (McDonald’s). I was with a couple of my friends and a very attractive girl who I was trying to impress with my quick wit and charm. I politely excused myself from the table and headed over to the bathroom. Without a care in the world I opened up the stall door and settled in. I was thinking of something funny that would get this girl to say, “Take me, I’m yours” when as I pushed open the door to leave the stall I noticed it was not opening. I tried again with a little more force but it still would not budge. This also seemed to be the only McDonalds in America where the stall door goes all the way down to the floor so I could not simply crawl out. I had a cell phone with me but in my time of panic I was not thinking clearly and began to consequently freak out.
I started to pound loudly on the door with my fists and yell, “Help me I’m trapped!” The door leading into the stalls was very heavy and probably soundproof, very inconvenient for times like this. After about ten minutes of pounding, my fists were very tired so I gave up. I sank back down to the seat and put my head in my hands. This was it. This was where I was going to die: A McDonald’s bathroom. At least the cheeseburger was good.
Suddenly I was awoken from my despair by the door leading into the stalls creaking open. I hoisted myself over my stall’s door and screamed “GET ME OUT OF HERE!” at the elderly Hispanic gentleman who had walked in. He clearly was not expecting a young, white teenager’s head to appear above the stall door screaming his head off. After this initial shock the man calmly walked over and opened the door as if there had been nothing wrong. “Door was not stuck,” he calmly stated.
“I assure you good sir that this door was stuck and I was to be trapped forever”, I replied kissing the ground which I now walked on. He just shook his head and walked into the stall next to my previous prison cell and closed the door behind him. With a sheepish grin on my face I walked back to the table expecting a police force there already investigating my disappearance and the hot girl talking to an officer saying, “I’d only just met him but I already miss his handsome face. His name? I’m not sure, he looked kind of like Brad Pitt”. But I was enraged to discover my “friends” had already left the establishment without waiting for me.

I believe weeks later my friends finally asked me where I had been all that time and I made up some story of Mexican mafia members holding me hostage and fighting them off using only my fists and mind powers. They didn’t buy it and my buddy spread around a rumor that I had peed my pants and had been too afraid to come out of the stall and instead sat in there crying, but that clearly was not the case. It’s all right though; I believe the experience has made me stronger and to this day I always give the door a little kick as if to say, “You ever do that again and I’m going on the floor and there’s nothing anyone can do about it!”



Join the Discussion


This article has 4 comments. Post your own!

CelebrateDifferencesThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 12:54 pm:
this had me ROLLING ON THE FLOOR LAUGHING!:D  Plus the writing is on point, descriptive and well-wriiten.   
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
the_Horsegirl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 25, 2010 at 9:42 pm:
HA HA HA! This is hillarious! My sister and I were laughing out loud when we read this!!!
 
dontbearick replied...
Feb. 22, 2010 at 8:19 pm :
hey thanks alot for the support! lol i hadnt checked these in a while so i hadnt seen the comments you left. You inspired me so much that Im going to post some of the pieces i've been writing over the past couple months, hope you like them!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
penguin35 said...
Nov. 2, 2009 at 1:56 pm:
Ha ha, I like this! It's funny. I hate those one-person bathrooms! I'm always afraid the lock doesn't work. Once at Dunkin Donuts I was using the restroom and someone knocked on the door. I called out but she didn't hear me and she opened the door with a faulty lock. Needless to say, very embarrassing. I loved this memoir. Keep writing.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback