by Teddy Sephina
Education: when you grow up having no choice but to have an absolutely, terrifying aversion to the public restrooms because your grandmother taught you that you simply must hold in your insane desire to pee, until you have fully decorated the public toilet with half a roll of toilet paper–not to mention the toilet handle, the toilet tank, and even the bolts on the floor.
That’s education for you.
Education: when you have finally elevated yourself to just mere balking at using the public restroom, and life is slightly less stressful, you meet someone who strikes up an easy friendship with you. Little do you know, slowly will your sanity be also taken away. My roommate has a serious, and I mean, serious aversion to the common Germ. Yes, that horrible, fretful, nasty four-letter word that starts with (shudder) a “G.” But sadly, and this has caused me great changes in my former simple life, I now am deathly afraid of the public restroom. Not only there, but even in my own home.
You see, here’s the ritual: You have a strong desire to pee, only not with Grandma there to decorate the toilet; you have to do it yourself. So now, you’re standing there, with your legs crossed at the knees, with a bottle of Purell or Germ-X in your one hand, a saturated wipe in your other, leaning precariously over the dreaded toilet whose life has been touched by millions of heinies, and you, with eyes closed as much as you can, begin to wipe down this porcelain throne. When you finally decide you can pee, you still think of Grandma, smiling down on you, and you still decorate the toilet with half a roll of toilet paper.
Now, you can commence peeing. But!
That’s not all.
When you finish with everything, and get ready to leave the stall, you have to take a piece of toilet paper, not used, to open the stall, and then you manage to weakly make your way over to the second dreaded station: the sink.
First, since you feel dirty anyway, you yank the lever on the paper towel holder, and leave the paper hanging. You will, of course, use the first sink next to it, so no one can take your paper towel. Then, you proceed to wash your hands. Now, your hands are clean, so you’re not going to touch the faucet, no no. You take that paper towel, dry your hands, and then, using that same paper towel, you turn off the faucet you just used. Dispose of that paper towel with every germ known to man on it, and you take that long, head-hung-low walk to the door. You pray, with each step you take, that someone else will venture into that slimy place we call the public bathroom. And if you don’t have time to stand and wait for the unknowing, naïve next bathroom guest, you hark back to the days of being lithe, athletic, and into yoga, and you rear your leg up and open the door with your foot. And then, in a way that would inspire awe in the most trained contortionist, you wrap around the open door and slip back out to where your waiting party is.
This, my friends, is the education I have gained from my friend.