I was recently out and about and a certain urge came upon me. It wasn’t the urge to eat or drink or even have sex. I didn’t have this urge before I left the house and I wasn’t going to be able to make it home without indulging. And this was the type of urge that sneaks up on you from behind, grabs you in a bear hug and wrestles you to the ground leaving you dazed, confused, and walletless. It was the expulsion or rather execution of a certain bodily function that can best be managed from a sitting position.
The standing secretions are easy as they can be expunged in alleyways, behind trees, and in Yankee Stadium bathroom sinks. In times of impending crisis that require a thinker’s posture, sometimes an executive decision has to be, well, executed knowing you can’t have the home bowl advantage.
I wrote about my frustrations with public restrooms a few years back, and I’ve been asked to share my expertise on finding the proper public restroom without having the brain of Costanza.
When faced with this physical and quizzical quandary, the first thing I do is check my surroundings to weigh my options. Not all public restrooms are the same. They can be ranked just like college football teams, favorite types of fudge, or former lovers.
The creme de la
crap creme of public bathrooms are in white collar corporate parks. From 8am until around 12:45 pm, these are the Lincoln Logs of all of the public pooping experiences. During the morning rush, the urinals get all of the attention. After 1pm, the stalls are filled like the starting line at the Kentucky Derby; and with a similar smell.
Most public bathrooms have the same issues as child actors: great before twelve, not so great after. If you have to go before lunch, don’t put it off or it will be like eating a black banana. That being said, in the afternoon, the options are quite diminished.
Barnes and Noble, which used to be the magic bullet in the pooping arsenal, has become a last resort option along with airports, gas stations, and bars after 8:30pm. When they first opened, the average book reading customers were the ones who used the bathrooms.
Now that they’ve installed the cafes serving Starbucks coffee, which tastes like jet fuel and turns the drinker into a human espresso machines; the bathrooms have become the muddy frontline trench of public excrement elimination. We’ve all seen the squatters in the café with a laptop computer and an entire office of supplies just short of bringing the cubicle walls. We have to limbo under their extension cords so the world won’t miss out on their Facebook updates every twenty minutes.
They also drink twelve venti coffees that tend to grease the track so their secretions can best be described as Mardi Gras chili bomb. I’ve been in Barnes and Noble bathrooms when they first open in the morning and they have the smell I would call South Bronx dumpster. If at all possible, I’ll avoid pulling out anything in a B&N bathroom I might need someday
Starbucks, despite serving coffee that cleans you out better than high test Metamucil, has the same squatters yet they have remarkably clean bathrooms. When I use their bathroom, there is always someone waiting just outside the door that I have to inevitably come face to face with. I’ve actually cleaned up other people’s messes so I don’t get a dirty look from the waiting person.
Every time I leave the house, I have the stress of potentially having to use a public restroom. Even if I just dip in for a stand up job, I am forced to stand in a fetid pool of other’s excretions; my feet stick to the floor like in a movie theater, but for different reasons. After leaving many public bathrooms, I inevitably have to throw out my shoes, wash my clothes, and bathe in a vat of penicillin.
When choosing the proper restroom, the ones with the full-time attendant are best. Mall food courts are somewhat hot and cold. Outside of that, Macy’s seems to have one of the best public facilities; the bathrooms are always clean. It’s probably because they’re so difficult to find. They have them tucked away in the dark corners of the pots and pans section so most people give up and seek other solutions. This is also why I never buy pots from Macy’s.
The key to finding a clean public restroom is to have a plan in place and not wait until crunch time. It actually helps to have more than one. Because not having a plan is like losing a farting contest; you could be stuck with #2.