TMI DISCLAIMER: If you don’t like it when people talk about poop, maybe it would be best to skip over this entry. For those of you who, like me, have no shame, carry on.
Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I don’t use public bathrooms unless ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY, and only to pee. I never ever poop where strangers are also doing their business. It has nothing to do with the cleanliness of public restrooms, and everything to do with the potential audience. I don’t like to pee because I think people are listening and judging the amount of time it takes me to go. What if I have a really long pee? Will people think that I’m gross? What if it’s really short? Will they think I am weird?
I only recently started peeing in public bathrooms. I still hate to do it, but if it comes between peeing my pants and using a common toilet, I’ll choose the toilet every time. Sometimes, if it’s just me and someone else in there, I’ll get stage fright and I’ll leave the bathroom. Sometimes, I make a show of russling toilet paper and flushing the toilet before washing my hands and exiting even though I haven’t actually gone, only to run to another bathroom a few seconds later. Sometimes, if I’m sure the person didn’t see me come in, I’ll just turn around and run.
Pooping is the worst, though. What if people can hear me? What if I toot? What if it splashes? What if I they can smell me? I get bouts of IBS-like symptoms after eating, and still I refuse to use public bathrooms. Back when I was working at the call centre and Karen lived very close, I would borrow her keys and run to her place to use the washroom. It happened so often, my frequent trips to her house during working hours came to be known as “key breaks”. Once, someone overheard me ask Karen for her keys and assumed that I was borrowing her car to drive myself to the hospital. She told Chase, who called me in a state of panic, assuming I was dying.
Now that I have moved to Toronto and my commute to work takes over an hour each way, I don’t have the luxury of key breaks. I don’t even have the luxury of a single-stall bathroom like I did at the call centre. It’s just rows and rows of cubicles as far as the eye can see. There have been times when I contemplated going home sick rather than poop in a strange bathroom, but I always managed to make it to the end of the day. Always, that is, until yesterday when I had to muster up all of the courage I had, and face the reality of the public toilet head-on.
Luckily, yesterday the office was like a ghost town, and I was assured a pretty private washroom experience. It was still unnerving as hell, though. I brought a little can of air freshener with me that I’ve been keeping in my purse for forever for just such an emergency (a trick my friend uses), and I quickly sprayed a little before I started to doubt whether it was wise to mix the smell of poop and oranges. I also flushed the toilet at least five times, abiding by another friend’s rule of “don’t let that shit hit the water”. There were a few moments of panic while my body was fighting itself, and I wasn’t sure if I was pushing or holding it in, but I DID IT!! I actually pooped in a public bathroom. I have never been prouder. Go me!! I pooped!