Tales From the Public Restroom

English: I photographed this picture from a pu...

This is the sign from a restroom. It is either for men or women who wear pants. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Warning: The following post is an excellent example of over sharing. If you do not care for over sharing, please move along to a different blog. I hear there are a lot of blogs that feature recipes. Maybe you could learn to make a nice spinach dip or some tomato relish to garnish your black bean burgers. That would be a decent use of your time and, no doubt, would cause people to be impressed with your culinary skills.

Just for the record, there will be no recipes in this post. I was suggesting you go find some if you do not want to read the following post. Now that we have cleared that up…


It was early, but it had already been a long day. As is prone to happen on days such as this, I had enjoyed a cup of coffee to stay awake. Then another. After switching it up for a bit with some water, I had just a bit more coffee.

There is a phenomenon that happens on days like this. Scientists probably have a very fancy name for it. I call it “needing to pee.” See, when one ingests that many fluids, there is a finite amount of space to store them. When that space is filled up, one usually starts shifting about nervously and, in the worst cases, crossing their legs and making strange noises until all that sloshing liquid comes out.

I politely excused myself from my work area (I am not a barbarian after all) and headed to the restroom. I was in a bit of hurry and got right down to business when I noticed it.

I had left the door unlocked.

There are very few things more awkward than walking in on a person using the restroom. One of those is being walked in on WHILE you are using the restroom. It is not ideal for either party.

Now that the business at hand had begun, there was very little chance of escaping to lock the door. I tried to reach, straining my stubby left arm towards the lock, but I had clearly not been genetically engineered for this type of situation.

Maybe if I shift over to the left side of the urinal and… nope. Still can’t reach. I looked around for a stick or something that might allow me to lock the door. As it turns out, there are not a lot of sticks in public restrooms. If I were to identify a public restroom design flaw, it would be that. There should be pool cues next to every toilet to allow all restroom patrons to bolt the forgotten lock with ease.

For a second I considered trying to kick the lock. This is a very dangerous procedure when at a urinal, though. Plus my legs are as stubby as my arms. Knowing how my life works, odds are  that someone would open the door just as I kicked, making the awkward situation a bit more tense for both of us. I crossed this off of my mental list.

They might knock before they come in. That would be nice, but still a bit awkward. I never know what to say when that happens:

“I will be out in just one minute. I am expelling waste right now!”

Usually what ends up coming out is just a noise. I usually spit out a quick “Aaauauaha…” before they decide they have no interest in using the restroom that the insane mute man is currently in and they move along.

I scripted out what I would say if someone did walk in.

“HEY! I’m working here!”

“Do you mind?”

“Have a seat right over there, sir. I will be done in just a jiffy.”

Finally, I had finished. I quickly zipped my pants and ridded myself of this fear. A quick hand washing (Kids, always wash your hands after using the bathroom!) and I was back to work unembarrassed. It seemed that I had, once again, made a big deal out of nothing.

Not to say I avoided all embarrassment throughout the day. I spilled some food on my shirt during lunch. I made a bad joke that just confused those around me. My stomach decided to grumble at the quietest and least opportune time.

I am not the victim of bathroom humiliation, though. That is a small victory for me, at least until tomorrow.

Maybe I should just give up liquids…


12 thoughts on “Tales From the Public Restroom

  1. Ha! I hate to point and laugh at your situation, but I am going to go ahead and point and laugh at your situation. I’ve had that happen to me before. Lucky for me it was a stranger and I never had to look them in the eye again. It was that brief moment though where I felt like they just knew too much about me.


    • What you are speaking of is the elusive trough urinal. This is done in large public restrooms, particularly at sporting events. The rules for this type of urinal are as such: The first person takes a spot at one end. The next goes as far away as possible. Each person tries to avoid being near another human being until, eventually, everyone is jammed in there. Then you bump elbows with someone while you are both peeing, guaranteeing that you will avoid eye contact with that particular person as long as you both are alive.


      • Oh, that is of course a big difference. I do appreciate the explanation, far far away from the girl version of going to the toilet in pairs. Over the past few years there have also been able to find toilets with two seats facing each other to enable girls to sit and chat while doing their thing.


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