Full Circle: The perplexing Game of (Public) Thrones

Published 9:12 am Saturday, June 30, 2018

What’s a girl to do?   In the loo?  I mean public toilets. You see, anymore they downright confluster me. Once I was able to easily navigate them, but not now.  It’s like I’m back in Restrooms 101.

Here’s the way it goes. I enter a stall with purpose, fully in charge.  My confidence immediately ebbs, however, as I look about for a place to hang my purse.  No hooks, no shelves, no nothing.  Thus, I use the only tool I have: my double chin.  Why have this auxiliary flesh and not put it to good use?

Next I reach for a lighter-than-cobweb hygienic tissue to lay upon the toilet seat … if a tissue is provided.  And then I face a quandary.  How to land my bulk on the toilet seat without causing a whoosh of air that will dislodge that ethereally fragile filament?

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This requires the skill of a ballerina.  Suspended in place, I hover. Then when I think I am precisely in line with the target (which I cannot see), I plunge downward.  My aim and execution must be exact.

Whew! First big hurdle hurdled.  Next the toilet paper. I reach for it, but find no end.  Thus begins the frustrating scratch-unroll, scratch-unroll (world without end), until the edge appears. I pull on it.  The paper slides to the corner of the dispenser causing it to compress into a long paper rope.  What am I supposed to do with a rope?  With no options, I contrive a lumpy, gap-filled pad. By now can any of you ladies relate?

But, sometimes things are far worse. There is no roll.  Still, the large bulky dispenser on the wall holds promise.  Ah, God is good.  It must be hiding inside. So, sliding my hand into every crevice of this container, I search for an opening.  It’s like working blind in a subterranean grotto. No luck.

This leaves me with several options: rip the darned contraption off the wall, have a meltdown conniption fit … or simply search my pockets for Kleenex.  But, of course, Peggy!  Pockets!  But, darn!  With my jeans tightly stretched across my knees, it’s near impossible to enter them.   Repeatedly probing, my fingers at last feel the edge of a Kleenex.  I tug.  It tears in shreds.  Do I care?  No!  Many shreds, I reason, will do the job, so I begin to layer.  In time, I amass an almost sufficient stack.

At this point I reach my last obstacle. I must unsquat.  Such a maneuver requires not letting any part of my wardrobe fall into the toilet bowl or touch the contaminated bathroom floor.  I know then I should have taken my yoga lessons more seriously.

Public bathrooms come with no instructions.  They should.  But … but …. I’ve been using them for 80 years!  Why, anymore, is there such a mystery to this, I beseech, as I reach for the flush handle? Panic ensues when I realize there is none.  Did Koehler forget to install it?  What cheapskates! My search surges into extreme earnestness.  For crying out loud!  For this loo, any lever will do. By now I am utterly flush-tered!

Peggy Keener

Hmmmm, could pushing this button on top of the tank be a hint? Gushhh! That was a surprise.  I stand there confounded when a second detonation detonates.  Look, Ma, no hands!  I did nothing and yet it flushed again. What a plucky marvel this toilet is.

I walk to the sink to wash my hands.  Puddles cover the counter, so I cannot set down my purse.  The second chin is again called into duty.  I’ve been washing my hands since 1938, so this should be cinchy.  But, wait!  There is no faucet handle. How dumb is that?  And, how am I supposed to get water? Surreptitiously I glance around to see what other more savvy ladies are doing.

Why, look at that! They’re waving their hands inside the sink. I try it.  Nothing happens.  I repeat. That’s when I know I am the world’s biggest public bathroom dodo bird.  Where is the blankety-blank water?

Perhaps if I use soap the faucet will work, like the two may be magically connected.  So, I press on the well-disguised lip of a dispenser that I pray will produce some suds.  It does.  But, alas, my hands are not strategically placed. A large foamy explosion poofs onto my wrists, the sleeves of my blouse, the sink.  Dang!  It’s so embarrassing.  Hope no one noticed.  As I swing my soapy wrists under the dry-as-a-desert-faucet, water suddenly spews forth. Relief spills over me.

Nearly finished, I look around for a paper towel.  That’s when I know that ultimately none of this will end well.  There are no towels of any kind.  As I stand there dripping, a smarty-pants four-year-old sashays over to a widget on the wall and sticks her hands into it.  A great shooooosh of very loud air suddenly erupts. To my shock, in no time at all she turns and exits.  Completely air dried.  Well, I’ll be.  I stick my hands in the contraption.  Kaboom!  Air!  Simple air. Stunned beyond good sense at the logic of it all, I find I am at last finished.

I leave wetter, wiser, and wrung out, but to be sure … relieved.  In more ways than one.