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Ya down with O.P.P.?

Ya down with O.P.P.?

Warning:  This post is not for the squeamish.  If it weren’t my own true story, I’m not sure I’d even be able to admit to it, let alone,  read it.  But it happened and there is nothing I can do about it now. I can’t change the experience or forget that it occurred.  From here on out, this will forever be part of my autobiography.  Part of my life’s adventure.

My church meets in a retirement home’s multi-purpose room.  We are small but are actually growing there and we like it.  Truth be told, if I could afford it, I would live there.  I tell people that I want to live in a retirement community and they look at me as if I am crazy; but a retirement “village” is the perfect set up for me.  It’s quiet, except for the occasional blaring of the deaf’s television sets at four am because they fell asleep during the seven pm telecast of the Snuggie infomercial.  Every meal is fixed for you, which is perfect for someone who essentially lives on takeout or frozen meals because it’s just not worth it to cook for one person.  And this particular home has Wii bowling tournaments and I don’t want to sound all braggy, but I could totally beat those old people at bowling. Plus, they bring in outside entertainment.  A friend of mine is in a harmonica band and I went to see them play recently  and the home was giving the residents refreshments as they entered the program!  Free chips, soda or beer at three in the afternoon while I sit in the AC and listen to a harmonica band? YES PLEASE!

But I digress.

As is my normal custom at church, between worship service and Bible study, I sauntered down to the home’s public bathroom.  It’s a two seater.  Normally, even if the handicapped stall is open I go for the regular stall because to take a handicapped stall in a nursing home when you are not handicapped is bordering on cruel.  It’s a real possibility that while you’re in there, someone who actually needs that stall will come in and then you have to take that awkward walk of shame out of the stall. You know, the one where you open the stall door and lock eyes with someone patiently waiting for you to get out, leaning on their walker.  You smile that sheepish smile because you’re busted and they try to smile back but you can tell there are some territorial things going on here.

On this particular Sunday, as  I turned the corner to enter the restroom, I saw an abandoned walker by the sink.  The handicapped stall was open and I heard someone making noises but I entered anyway, trying to think what I should do if I enter the stall and they are in there but just didn’t close the door.  This happens sometimes because I think as you get up there, you don’t care anymore if someone sees you pooping or not.  But the noises were coming from the tiny stall so I took my chances and walked in to the bigger stall.  Whew.  Empty.  I put aside my pre-guilt of using the handicapped stall because, really, how long would it take me to pee?

I turned around to close the door and that’s when it happened.  I made the mistake of not looking at the door but just grabbing it and pulling it closed.  And this is where the regret comes in.  As I pulled my hand away, I felt something on it.  A sick feeling went through my entire body because just as I felt the sticky goo on my hand, my eyes landed on the handle.

There was something dark brown on it.

And on my hand.

OH NO. OH NO. OH NO. THIS IS NOT HAPPENING TO ME. THIS IS NOT HAPPENING! But it was.  I looked at my hand for a brief second.   It was on my index finger and thumb.  Now, had this been a  different time, a different place(not a bathroom) and a different color of goo (anything but brown or red)  my first reaction would have been to immediately smell my hand.

I didn’t smell my hand this time.  I didn’t want to know.  I didn’t want to confirm my fears.  Quickly I grabbed some toilet paper and wiped it off and threw that in the toilet.  I still had to pee though so with my one untainted hand, I swiftly unbuttoned my fly and did my usual hover.  Buttoning back up was a bit tricky but I made it.

I hurried out of the stall to the sink. All I could think about was what had just been on my hand and how even though I had wiped it off, nearly taking the outer layer of skin with it, it was still there, but was just invisible.   Yes, I realized that the proper adult thing to do would be to wipe the gunk off the door. When it comes to bodily secretions or fecal matter, I am not a proper adult.  I turned the hot water on as high as I could and as hot as I could stand it.  I tripled the amount of soap I would normally use.  I scrubbed every inch of my hands, especially the part where the substance had attached itself to my fingers.  I rinsed. I repeated the whole thing again. And two more times.  I washed my hands four times. I dried them and left. As soon as I got back to my journey bag, I got my hand sanitizer out and sanitized my hands not one or two times but THREE TIMES. I still felt dirty.  I spoke to no one of the incident.  Whether this was out of shame or shock,   I do not know.

Later I texted a friend and told her what had happened.  i told her that I may or may not have stuck my hand in….

Old people poo.

She LOL’d me.  This was no LOL’ing moment.  This was serious. This was traumatic.

I don’t have proof that it was old people poo.  In the hours since the incident I have tried to make myself believe that it wasn’t old people poo.  It’s a scientific fact that old people like chocolate pudding.  Maybe it was chocolate pudding.  Or maybe the dining room was serving chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  Could have been chocolate frosting.  Or maybe, Just maybe, instead of carrying Werther’s or butterscotch disks, or starlight mints, maybe the woman who used the stall before me had a forgotten melted chocolate bar in her pocket.  Maybe she  sneezed and when she went to get her hankie, instead brushed against the melted chocolate and that’s what was on the door.

I’ll never know for sure. I’ll never have concrete evidence as to what the substance was on my fingers.  Could have been chocolate, could have been poo.

I could have smelled it to find out but sometimes it’s easier to not know the truth.  I have to accept the fact that I will never know what it was.

Because if I don’t accept that, I have to accept what is probably more likely the truth and that is that I stuck my hand in old people poo. And I cannot fathom living my life with “I stuck my hand in some unknown old person’s poo” as part of my legacy.

I am not down with OPP…Old People Poo…

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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Random

 

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The Zoo

The Zoo

I bought a zoo! Wait…that wasn’t me. That was Matt Damon in a crappy looking movie made just to sell popcorn. Ever since the incident that shall hereafter be known as the “Four Dollar Haircut Debacle of 1997” (I had to wear hats for a year. Many tears were shed, many hats were worn.) I am oft mistaken for Matt Damon. For years strangers would come up to me and ask me to say “Do you like apples?” Most of the time I obliged because they would offer to pay for my meal if I said it.

I did go to the zoo today though. And I thought about buying it but after much inner debate I realized that I would have a lot of poo to clean up and while I love my dog, following her around with a poop bag is my least favorite dog owner duty. (Ha ha. See how I did that? I used the word “duty” while talking about “doody.” I amuse myself. I have to; no one else will.) So for now I will just remain a frequent guest. Because guests never get asked to clean up poo unless it is their own and that’s a discussion that you never want to have with your host.

You went to a zoo in February? Are you crazy? (These are your thoughts. I am not talking to myself. I am pretending that you are talking to me….so yeah, I guess I’m talking to myself.) YES. I did go to the zoo in February. I have the day off and should be going back any day now to my secret job so I thought I should make the most of this sunny semi-chilly day. I figured that there wouldn’t be a lot of people there, I wouldn’t have to fight the buses upon buses of schoolchildren pandering for the best view of the bears and the animals are usually more active when the weather is cooler.

So I thought.

The St. Louis Zoo is, by far, one of the best zoos in the nation. For one thing, it’s two miles from my house so I kind of like that and also it’s free unless you want to go touch a stingray (which I don’t) or pet an alpaca (Sorry, alpacas. Although I find you very cute, my friend Romy owns a whole gaggle of them and I can see them, pet them and be spit upon by them any time I want.) or feed a goat (I only feed goats at Grant’s Farm, another awesome St. Louis landmark. Seriously, you should come visit my city. Look me up. I’ll take you on a tour. Unless you’re a serial killer. Serial Killers need not apply.) It also has some pretty cool exhibits: Penguin and Puffin Coast, 1904 World’s Fair Flight Cage Walk-Through and the soon-to-open $120 million Sea Lion Sound, which by the looks of it should be amazing. It’s going to have underwater viewing stations and an underwater tunnel. I can’t wait.

I started off my journey at the River’s Edge. It’s a jungle-ish walk through various exhibits of spotted hyenas, warthogs, cheetahs, bush dogs, hippos and Asian elephants. Along the path there are also fake gazelles dangling from tree branches (one can only assume that the gazelle was carried up by a fake predator and left there to be made into fake jerky) hidden speakers to simulate natural animal sounds and as you round one corner, a giant plaster king cobra standing about three feet tall with its hood up and coiled around its eggs. Scares the crap out of me every time and I know exactly where it is. Today, I pulled a Yadi on the cobra and made sure to turn my head and not look at it even once because Yadi’s theory is that if she doesn’t see it, it doesn’t exist. I have to say that this works well when dealing with three foot tall plaster king cobras. The first several exhibits seemed empty. There was no warthog. The cheetah was in its cage. No bush dogs. No foxes. What the heck? On a positive note, up until this point, the only people I saw where caretakers.

I got to one of my favorite exhibits in the River’s Edge. It’s a giant tank of water teeming with various fish and about five hippos. Part of the exhibit is dry land but the part where you stand, under a bamboo shelter, is looking directly into the little pond where the hippos tend to hang out. There was a family of four (I swear it was Larry the Cable guy and his family) gathered peering into the glass so I prematurely got my hopes up that I would finally see some animals. I walked up to the glass and looked for a hippo…any hippo. No hippo. But for Larry and fam, this was a pretty big deal. I know this because right as I was walking up I heard him exclaim with a little more excitement than necessary,

“Lookee they-urr! Kate-fish! That’s a big’un!!!!”

Larry and his family might come to the zoo to see the Kate-fish. I do not.

Disappointed, I walked on. I came upon the spotted hyenas. At first I thought there was just the one sleeping in his den (a cave, not his tv room or where he reads his National Geographics) but then I spotted one a little further away. As I got closer, I noticed that he was gnawing on the nearly-bare skull of something. As gross as that was, and as squeamish as I am, I still watched for a while.

Last summer, the St. Louis Zoo was fortunate to have a baby elephant, Kenzi. I saw her a few days after she went on display and she was adorable. I walked toward the Asian elephant exhibit. The first viewing station was empty, except for an obese squirrel who was in the distance munching on something. I stopped for a second, secretly hoping that at any moment an elephant might come barreling around the corner and squish him. I’m not saying I wanted to see death or anything and it probably would have actually really upset me but at this point, I just wanted to see some sign of life, even if it led to a display of death.

I went to the next elephant viewing station. Nothing.

To the next. Empty.

Where were the elephants hanging out? Where can four elephants hide? Were they getting their hair did somewhere?

There are a few things that, separately, won’t faze me. But together, they are the perfect storm for my imagination to run amuck. The first component is the missing elephants. The second is that right when I got to the end of the elephant exhibit and saw no elephants, I looked down on the ground and found a bolt. A BOLT. A BOLT AS IN HARDWARE THAT IS NEEDED TO KEEP THESE WILD ANIMALS FROM STAMPEDING UNSUSPECTING VISITORS. The third is that behind me, I heard breaking bamboo. Separately, harmless. Experiencing all three together in the span of a minute and my mind is seeing headlines:

‘LOCAL BLOGGER CRUSHED TO DEATH BY ANGRY ASIAN ELEPHANTS. OBESE SQUIRREL ESCAPES HARM.”

‘CITY GIRL CRUSHED TO DEATH BY KENZI, THE NORMALLY DOCILE BABY ELEPHANT. SPOTTED HYENA FIRST ON THE SCENE AND MAKES OFF WITH THE SKULL!”

‘LARRY THE CABLE GUY’S FIRST TRIP TO THE ZOO MARRED BY LOCAL’S UNTIMELY DEATH, LATER ARRESTED FOR ILLEGAL CATFISHING IN THE HIPPO POND!” (worse than just death, I don’t even get top billing in this one.)

In my best action movie, slow motion turn around, I find relief. It was just a chipmunk. Still can’t explain the bolt though. I brought it home as a souvenir. Tonight, if one of the top stories on the news is that somehow a bolt was misplaced at the zoo, leading to several animals escaping, I will take down this blog and deny its existence.

I left the River’s Edge and headed towards the bears. The first bear exhibit was empty. I came up to the sloth bear. High up on a rocky cliff he was eating and pooping at the same time. I can’t imagine that he wanted me staring at him while he went about his business so I walked on. Got to give him props for making the most of his time though.

Next up, another of my favorite places in the zoo-Penguin and Puffin Coast. Said to be the only one like it in the United States, this is a small but impressive sight. You walk through sliding doors and are greeted by a blast of forty-five degree air. Another set of doors open and you are magically transported to a room that is filled with penguins. There’s a walkway down the middle of the room and on both sides, penguins are standing on rocks or diving into the water. The walls are glass and are only about four feet tall. If you’re a first time visitor and without someone who knows stuff, you will be all excited and walk right up to the glass because you’re less than a foot from the penguins! And then a penguin will see you there and he will dive right in front of you. And you will be covered in penguiny water and smell like it the rest of the day. You can tell the people who have been there before because they all walk down the middle of the path and never get too close to the glass. (Side note: I figured out that one of the reasons the penguins are my favorite is because of the way they walk. They always walk like they’re afraid they’re going to slip and fall. It amuses me to see penguins being so careful.) Of course, there are a few other downsides to the penguin and puffin exhibit. One that has always bothered me is that it doesn’t seem healthy to be in an enclosed area breathing in bird air. The other thing is, and this didn’t bother me until a friend pointed it out, that it smells like a women’s restroom that hasn’t been cleaned in days. I guess I should mention the puffin part of the exhibit. The puffins are contained in a small area much like the penguins. They really don’t get much attention and are kind of boring but you have to walk past them before you are forced to exit into a well-placed Penguin and Puffin Coast gift shop.

A few years ago, the zoo spent a ton of money revamping its chimpanzee, gorilla and ape exhibits so that it was more like their “natural habitat.” We studied these animals and not once do I ever remember seeing a chimpanzee lounging in a hammock made of recycled fire hoses. (Another side note: I would love one of these hammocks in my house. Please write to me if you can hook me up with one.) Watching the chimpanzees kind of creeps me out because of their eyes and their hands. They look so smart through their eyes, almost human. And if you watch how they use their hands, again, almost human. Today one of them took his hand and shielded his eyes from the sun. That’s pretty smart. But then he started pulling poop from his own butt and nibbling on it and I realized that maybe he’s not as smart as I thought. And not for one minute have I, or will I, EVER believe that I “evolved” from these or any other creature. I’m not here to debate but if I evolved that far, why wouldn’t I keep evolving? If anything we are DEvolving….the Kardashians are proof of this.

I walked up to where the giraffes are kept. In one little area there were two ostriches, a gazelle and a gerenuk (I think that’s how it is spelled) and two giraffes. The giraffes were off eating grass and the ostriches were eating bugs off of each other’s butts. But the gazelle and the gerenuk mesmerized me. I couldn’t tell if they were male or female but I think they both must have been male because they kept clashing. I watched them for about fifteen minutes. The gerenuk would be going about his business, doing little gerenuk things, thinking little gerenuk thoughts:

“When’s lunch?”

“What’s that smell?”

“There’s that obese squirrel again….”

And the gazelle would see the gerenuk in his own little world and he would start after him. They would both stop and look at each other for a few seconds, with their snouts about two inches apart and then almost at the same time they would both lower their heads and slowly butt them together with their horns clashing. It wasn’t violent but at the same time it didn’t seem to be friendly. Then they would push each other and just as slowly back off. The gerenuk would then walk away with the gazelle trailing behind him, antagonizing him until he turned around and they started the process over again with exactly the same results. Were they enemies? Was this a territorial thing? I don’t think so. I think that they had been playing a word game and the gerenuk won the game because the gazelle used a made up word like “creasotey” and the gazelle was just mad that he didn’t win. At least, that’s what leads me and Romy to butt heads like that.

My last stop was in Big Cat Country. My favorite part of the Big Cats is the Snow Leopard. Most of the time you don’t see him in the summer but today there were two out. One was snoozing on his side and the other walked up to him and looked down at him, like he wanted to wake him up to play. He stared at the sleeping leopard for a while and then just cuddled down beside him. It was kind of cute.

All of the times I’ve been at the zoo I’ve never heard the lion roar. You can hear them roar up to five miles away so I figured that if I was twenty feet away it would feel much like it does when a car drives by with its bass thumping. I read the placard that pretends to educate me on lions. It said that they roar to alert the pride of danger or to gather the pride.

I made up my mind to make him roar. I figured that in my biker jacket (with pretty striped scarf) that I might look menacing. I’d be scared of me. Alas, he was not. I made constant eye contact with him, trying to antagonize him but he just blinked at me and looked away as a flock of sparrows flew out of the tree above his head. When I regained eye contact, I WILLED him to roar. Today I learned that you cannot will a lion to roar. More often than not he will stare at you for a minute, blink, get up, walk in a tight circle and then plop back down on his side. Oh well.

By this time I had spent two hours at the zoo and was tired and hungry and still had to walk all the way back to my car on the other side. I headed towards the gate and on my way got to see a bonus exhibit. Coming at me about thirty feet down the path was a man in the middle of the path. Might have been homeless. Might have been drunk. Definitely a little off his nut. He was dancing a jig and talking to himself (and anyone who passed by) and generally scaring people who had to walk by him. I hurried my step a little and then kind of felt disappointed as I realized that he totally beat me to the punch on suggesting a human exhibit at the zoo.

Dang it.

 
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Posted by on February 6, 2012 in Jenn's Adventures

 

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Resolutions

Resolutions

First of all, let me apologize for my two week sabbatical…what?….what’s that? You didn’t realize I was gone?  Well I was. But now I’m back. And it’ll be easier for you to get rid of that toe fungus you think you’ve been hiding from us all than to get rid of me.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, I’m just going to go ahead and put this out there: I don’t normally make new year’s resolutions. Here’s why.  I see no point in setting myself up for failure.  If we are all being honest, we get super excited at the beginning of a new year and we make all these promises-I WILL lose weight, I WILL fall in love, I WILL stop eating ten White Castle cheeseburgers right before bed every night for two weeks, and then, right around January 9th, we find ourselves lying in bed alone with little grease-stained cardboard hamburger holders strewn all over our duvet.

This year I decided to make my resolutions more attainable so that instead of feeling like a failure before January is over, I put off that inevitable feeling until at least mid-March.  So here they are, narrowed down to the top ten most important ones.

1.  I will finish that can of Chef Boyardee beefaroni.  I will not open it, eat a few bites, realize that it’s barely food and throw it into a Tupperware container that will sit in my fridge until August.  There are people starving, you know.

2.  I will not hum or strum the opening notes of “Dueling Banjos” every time my hometown is mentioned.

3.  I will not try to pass off the clump of hair that I dredge up from my bathtub drain as a donation to “Locks of Love” just to get a free movie rental from Blockbuster.

4.  I will stop watching Good Times obsessively.

5.  I will not write the word “poop” in the dust on my boss’ desk because she refuses to clean it off.  Instead, I will learn the word for poop in seven different languages and write that instead.

6.  I will have the “Thank You” that is tattooed on my right palm removed so that I actually have to verbalize my thanks instead of just holding up my hand.

7.  I will not make any jokes about Whitney Houston.  Or Rosie O’Donnell.  Or Spiderman the musical.  It’s too easy and I refuse to use a comedy crutch.

8.  I will try to be more patient with mouthbreathers.  Seriously, though, you have two other orifices designed specifically for inhaling and exhaling, USE THEM. And I don’t mean as a parking space for your finger.

9.  I will not try to start the wave during Sunday morning church services.  or funerals.  or when I’m alone on my couch.

10.  I will not giggle every time I re-order my acid reflux medicine, aciphex….Dang it, I giggled…..

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2012 in Jenn's Adventures

 

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Thankful

Thankful

It’s funny how we all become “thankful” this time of year, as opposed to being grateful for who and what we have year round.  I know that on every November morning, I can expect to find several status updates that start “Today I am thankful for….” Since we are nearing the end of this month and I have yet to be publicly thankful, I decided to, instead of dragging out my thankfulness for a full month, I would just smoosh it all up into one day and get it over with so that I can continue with my regularly scheduled feelings of entitlement, greed and self-centeredness.

Day 1:  I am thankful for Halloween candy sales, wherein I can purchase massive amounts of candy for fifty to seventy percent off.

Day 2:  I am thankful that I know how to use the timer on my camera so that I don’t have to take pictures with the camera held at arm’s length when I think I’m having a good hair day or am looking particularly sexy

Day 3:  I am thankful when I am in line behind someone in a store or at the library and they do not smell like stale bowling alleys.

Day 4: I am thankful that when I get out of the shower the first thing I see is a little rubber ducky rug. No, I am not five. I am…more than five.

Day 5:  I am thankful that I did not light a match immediately after using hand sanitizer.

Day 6: I am thankful that I haven’t reached that point of old ladyhood where my bright red lipstick bleeds into the creases around my mouth.

Day 7: I am thankful that I do not do heroin.  I wish my neighbors felt the same way.

Day 8:  I am thankful that I never lost a mylar balloon in a tree in my front yard because then I would have had to re-live that tragedy every day because they tend to withstand the elements for quite a while.

Day 9:  I am thankful for the smiley-winky face that is available for my use in text messages and facebook comments. It allows me to continue on my path to ultimate snarkdom.

Day 10: I am thankful that my dog does not like to eat the poop of any animal.

Day 11:  I am thankful for White Castle as an alternative to harsh laxatives.

Day 12: I am thankful that I am sometimes able to make sure someone is ok when they fall down before I begin laughing at them.

Day 13:  I am thankful that none of my friends have bumper stickers on their car because if they did they would not be my friend.

Day 14: I am thankful that I can perform a perfect spit take.

Day 15: I am thankful that my friends do not travel to the bathroom in herds.  I am not comfortable talking to anyone while they’re pooping.

Day 16: I am thankful that a rat has never crawled into my laundry basket in the basement and made its way into my living quarters.

Day 17:  I am thankful for marshmallow fluff. 

Day 18: I am thankful for Bob Ross on lazy afternoons.  Bob Ross paints naps.

Day 19: I am thankful that I have never been caught squishing my neighbor’s grass between my toes when I walk Yadi on the next street over because I’m not sure how I would explain my behavior.

Day 20: I am thankful that sometimes I can keep a straight face when someone says “duty.”

Day 21: I am thankful that the floor beneath my shower has not yet rotted enough for me to end up naked in a pile of rubble in my basement. Key word: YET.

Day 22: I am thankful for penguins. They always make me laugh when they walk because they look like they’re trying so hard to not slip and fall.

Day 23:  I am thankful that when I say something that I think is funny and no one laughs, I do not feel the need to repeat it to try to get the laugh.

Day 24: I am thankful that when I say something that I think is funny and no one laughs, I do not feel the need to repeat it to try to get the laugh.

Day 25: I am thankful that you just got that joke and laughed so that I don’t have to repeat it again.

Day 26; I am thankful that my neighbors with windchimes moved. Or had their windchimes destroyed.

Day 27: I am thankful that my hand is small enough to fit into a Pringles can fairly easily.

Day 28: I am thankful that I was able to get Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center’s commercial jingle out of my head…until now. Dang it.  (singing) Midwest Hemorrhoid Treatment Center…Don’t suffer in silence.

Day 29: I am thankful that I never felt the urge to eat Play-Doh as a kid.

Day 30:  I am thankful that we are only a few months away from spring training.

AMEN!

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2011 in Random

 

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Johnny On the Spot

Johnny On the Spot

I realize that I have shared some of my thoughts on public bathrooms but I would feel like I was cheating you if I didn’t share my experiences and feelings about port-a-potties. Any time I am getting ready to go to a festival or an outdoor venue, I treat myself like a six-year-old.

“Jenn, do you need to go potty before we leave? Because they’re only going to have Johnny-on-the-Spots and you know how you feel about them. So do you need to go?”

And I always mentally thank myself for reminding me to take these precautions before I leave. Because once I get to wherever I’m going, there aren’t a lot of options. Recently, I went to the annual Art in the Park festival here in St. Louis to listen to my neighbor’s band play.  As soon as I got to the festival I confidently bought a bottled water because I knew. I knew I had information that not everyone at the park had. Last night, a friend and I had done a recon mission to check out the park and she needed a restroom. So we walked to the REAL restrooms of the park.  I stood outside because I am not one of those women that goes to the bathroom in herds. That’s private time. I don’t want anyone in there trying to engage me in conversation.  And I certainly don’t want to have one of my friends talking about everything she has to do next week while she poops. That’s where I draw the line.

What I hadn’t checked out was the actual conditions inside the park’s restrooms. I took it for granted that these would be normal, run-of-the-mill restrooms.  I didn’t know what was in store for me. Until I finished my bottle of water and decided that I would pass the lone-standing porta-john and head to the permanent toilets. Silly people waiting in line for one filthy, nasty plastic toilet with nary a sink to wash your hands in and that would inevitably already be out of the hand sanitizer located directly above the urinal.

“Hmph,” I chortled through my nose at them as I passed. Peasants.  As I got to the restrooms, I really had that I’m-smarter-than-these-people haughty smug feeling about myself. I opened the door and passed a woman on her way out. Bonus! No one was even waiting in line.

And then I saw why. As I turned the corner and peered into the first stall I understood. There were two stalls and neither had doors. I hadn’t walked into the men’s room so I was confused. I have never been in a women’s public restroom that didn’t have doors. I am not a prude but I don’t really like the idea of someone walking in on me when I’m mid-stream.  In fact, one of my other fears of public restrooms that I have is that I will be hovering above the seat and the door will become unlatched and will just swing wide open on me.  This has yet to happen but I cannot even begin to imagine the therapy involved if it ever does. Peeing in public with no privacy: again, another line-drawing place.

Defeated and full-bladdered, I skulked back to the porta-john behind the stage. Where the line had only been three people deep the first time I passed it, there was now a line of about ten. Great. Now, not only did I have to use a plastic toilet but I had to wait for ten people in front of me to do their business before I could.

For me, this is a worst case scenario. I had downed the bottle of water confidently because I thought I wouldn’t have to use the temporary toilet. Had I known that I would have to wait in line to pee in a plastic hole while my face was positioned way too close to the built-in urinal, I would have remained parched. But now it was too late.  The damage was done. So I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And then I moved four inches forward because one person exited and the next one went in. And I waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And suddenly I experienced a little joy because I was moving up again. Now things are happening. Now we’re moving.

Except that we’re not. As the thought was just forming in my mind, the woman in front of me said to her guy the same thing that I was thinking:

“I don’t get it. I go in. I sit down. I do what I do and I go out.”

I am not one to normally insert myself into someone else’s conversation but I couldn’t resist. She must have felt me looking at them because she turned to me as if she knew she had been caught talking about things that people just don’t talk about. So I spoke.

“I KNOW. Who wants to hang out in there?”

She laughed a bit. And suddenly the conversation headed into a topic that for some reason, is often a topic of conversation with me: poop. In all honesty, this time I think I was the one who brought it up. Because the person who was in there was taking forever. We’ve all been in a porta-potty. It’s not somewhere that most people like to go and just hang out in. We’re all afraid that the door will spring open, that someone will tip it over or that our cell phone will fall out of our pocket and land with a wet thud in the mounds of used toilet paper beneath us. But nature calls. And without extreme discomfort we can’t resist. We go in there because it’s not socially acceptable to just drop trou and go beside the funnel cake booth. But for some reason six out of the ten people ahead of us did just that. They were in there for what seemed like forever and as the minutes passed I could only begin to imagine the stench that was building up.

“I hope none of these people ahead of us went in there to poop. Because who wants to follow that?”

“I know. I don’t like to just hang out in there,” said the nice lady who somehow found herself listening to me begin my poop rant. I have so many things to say about poop but I will save that for another post.

“And seriously, if you’re here and you have to poop. Just go home.”

The couple continued to talk to me for a few minutes, maybe because they wanted to or maybe because they really had no way of escaping. I was wearing my That’s Not Appropriate shirt and the lady read it so I told her about my blog and then later tracked her down (in a non-creepy non-stalkerish kind of way, I hope.) and gave her my card.

It’s the first time I made a friend while waiting in line at a porta-potty. It was only after I got back to where my friends were sitting that I contemplated the truth of what had just transpired: Talking about poop is a universal ice-breaker. I don’t mean going into graphic detail about where (or God forbid what, you poop.  But the word itself will make even the most uptight person at least smile) It really brings us all together and makes us realize that we are not as different as we pretend to be.

And I think that part of the reason that I feel comfortable joking about poop is that getting people to joke about it, drops their defenses and allows me to see the six-year-old inside of everyone. The six-year-old who still giggles (although maybe inwardly) when someone says “duty.”

(Insert giggle here.)

 

 

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Posted by on October 1, 2011 in Jenn's Adventures

 

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