My mom, my four-year old, my two year-old, and I were traveling down the desolate highway between Gray and Eatonton, Georgia. The area is quite unpopulated. All of the sudden, I began to have a “rumbly in my tummy” as Pooh would say. I knew this meant that I needed to use the restroom, but being the freak about public restrooms that I am, I refused. Then, my daughter said, “I have to tee tee” (our term for #1). Being the highly prepared and freakishly germ phobic mom that I am, I always carry a potty chair in my van. I pulled into the closest parking lot I could find, the parking lot of a convenience store that looked to be straight out of Deliverance.
As the gravel crunched under my tires, I wondered if things were safe. The guy selling boiled peanuts scared me a little because his wagon train cart looked like it might hold a den of destruction, so I tried to position the car so that he wouldn’t actually see us. No matter where I parked, I could still see his beady little eyes staring at me over the steam rising from the pot. However, I knew I had to make the best of the situation, so I found a spot. As I got out of the van to help my daughter, something inside my body gurgled, “I need to get out now!” Again, we were at the Deliverance gas station, in the middle of nowhere with peanut man staring at us, and I had a feeling that what might lie inside the Deliverance gas station might be quite up to my standards, so I tried to tell my body that it could wait. My daughter could use the potty in the car, but for what I had to do, this would not work. My body refused to listen, so I yelled to my mom, “I have to go to the bathroom NOW!”
I grabbed my purse and crackled across the gravel parking lot, eyeing the peanut man suspiciously. As I approached the front of the store, I saw a yellow sign with large letters that read, “Public Restroom Outside” and an arrow pointing to the right. I thought, “You have got to be kidding me; I am about to become Charlotte in the Sex and the City movie.” So, I trotted to find the bathroom. As I was hurrying, I began to hear footsteps behind me. I turned around, and a woman and a little girl, about the age of nine, rushed at me from behind. We were in a race, and I HAD to win this race. I reached the door first and opened it. I turned to the woman and grimaced, “There is only one.”
I entered the bathroom and tried to lock the outdoor fence lock attached to the door without actually touching the lock. I turned and took stock of the situation. The seat was up, and I wasn’t quite sure if the toilet had been flushed, so I flushed three times to make sure. Then, I disinfected the entire space with my handy travel-size Lysol. As the fresh breeze scent of Lysol overpowered the stinky behind smell that existed in this bathroom long before I entered, I unfolded my Diego potty cover, removed adhesive covers and gingerly applied it to the seat. The idea of sitting on that toilet, even with my Diego potty cover, made my stomach turn, even more than it was already doing. However, this was a dire situation. Once I finally rationalized that my body was somewhat safe, I became a scene out of Dumb and Dumber. I sprayed and flushed, sprayed and flushed, sprayed and flushed in order to try to cover up the deed. My eyes glanced to a sign inviting “guests” to shop in the store because the restroom was provided as a “courtesy.” Let me tell you, this was no courtesy! Then, someone knocked on the door, and a woman’s voice said, “Are you alright in there?”
“Yes, sorry,” I replied. I continued spraying and flushing, and again was interrupted.
“Can you hurry up? My daughter really has to go.”
I thought, “Oh my gosh! Can this get any worse?” First, I despise public bathrooms, and I NEVER go #2 outside of my house. I’m in the Deliverance bathroom, and I have a woman banging on the door. Let’s not forget the exodus that is happening in my bowels. About that time, I hear knocking on the wall behind me, which I felt sure was the employee checking the hidden camera that I just knew was hidden in one of the holes in the ceiling. “Okay, enough humiliation.” I tried to hurry things up and get finished. As I pulled up my pants, I looked at the sink. This sink was obviously well-used, as evidenced by the brown stains. At least I hope those stains were from use. Then, I looked at the device for drying my hands. This thing was an antique. It had the fabric towel that you pull and it simply rolls around and wrings itself out. Extremely sanitary. “Germ-X is a safer bet,” I thought.
I turned and unlocked the door, only to be met with the glare of the offending knocker. The woman said, “She really has to go.”
“So did I, and that’s why I keep a potty chair in my car, so my daughter doesn’t have to wait,” I replied. I wanted to add, “And so she doesn’t have to use the Deliverance bathroom.”
When I returned to my car, I briefed my mom on the events. She said, “I saw that woman right behind you and wondered why she was in such a hurry. It was obvious you really needed to go.” We then continued on our trip to Eatonton, with a pit-stop at Wal-Mart.
At Wal-Mart, my children and I looked at the toys. Suddenly, my stomach churned again. I grabbed my children and said, “Mommy has to go potty. We have to hurry.” Thankfully, I passed my mom on the way to the bathroom, so I left the children with her. I ran into another public bathroom and prayed that the bacteria wouldn’t begin to grow on me immediately. I found a somewhat clean stall and applied another Diego potty cover. Then, the exodus resumed. I sprayed and reached to flush. “Where is the flusher? There has to be one somewhere,” I uttered under my breath. This happened to be an automatic toilet, and I tried and tried to push the little button on the wall, but nothing happened. I began to frantically look around the toilet. “I can’t let this stay in the toilet. Someone might pass out from the fumes.” Since I couldn’t find the flusher, I resorted to the only thing I knew to do. In between bodily function events, I stood up, moved away from the toilet with my pants around my ankles, and let the toilet flush. “Please God don’t let anyone actually figure out what I’m doing,” I prayed. This went on for quite some time. Used the bathroom, sprayed, stood up, moved away, waited for flush, resumed process. Then, some lovely teenage girls came in as I was finishing up. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” I thought. Too mortified to endure glares again, I stood in the stall and waited for them to leave. I guess I forgot how long teenage girls can stay in the bathroom.
“I thought you were going to call me a b**ch,” said one of the lovely young ladies.
“Uh, no, I called you stupid,” was her friend’s reply. I guess that somehow makes it better.
I contemplated the pros and cons of swallowing what was left of my pride and leaving the stall while they were still in the bathroom, but I wanted to avoid further shame from this horrid night.
Finally, they left, and thankfully, so did I.