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Escaping A Public Restroom

Updated: Jan 3

I look straight ahead toward my exit. It's not as easy of an escape as I was expecting. The only thing that stands between me and freedom is a silver matte doorknob. I'm not sure how I'm going to pull this one-off. All I wanted to do was relieve the pressure of a soon-to-explode bladder. The only place to do so was this gas station. Gas station bathrooms always seem to be much filthier than other bathrooms. Fortunately, someone was leaving the single-person restroom right as I was walking towards it. This provided me just enough time to hold the door open with my foot so I could enter without having to touch the door. I love these small moments of joy.


I use the urinal and notice someone spit their gum in it. This type of shit really grinds my gears, but not quite as bad as when someone throws toilet paper in the urinal. There's a bunch of long pubes around the rim of the urinal. Clearly, someone doesn't manscape. Disgusting. I manage to urinate and flush the urinal with my foot, as usual. Luckily I was able to step away from the urinal without getting any splashback. I would have known if I did too because I was wearing shorts and ankle socks. You have to love your own urine mixing with another's and splashing back onto your exposed leg skin.


My expectations are always extremely low for gas station bathrooms, so I knew the soap or faucet wouldn't have a no-touch sensor. I hoped to grab a paper towel to turn on the faucet and dispense the soap on my hand. There's no doubt that there are microscopic particles of fecal matter on the faucet handle and soap dispenser. This bathroom only had an air hand drier. And it wasn't one of those high-power Dyson Air Blades; it's the type from back in high school with extremely low air pressure and a button you have to press to activate it. Not cool. I take out my wallet and grab an old receipt and use it to turn on the faucet and dispense the signature pink soap onto my hands. I do a little washy-washy scrubby-scrubby. As the water still runs from the faucet, I kick the button on the hand drier and proceed to dry my hands. A few minutes later and a couple of gallons of water wasted, I reach back into my wallet and grab another receipt. I keep receipts in my wallet to use in just such a time as this. I use this new receipt to turn off the faucet, and then throw it in the garbage.


Hands feeling clean I'm ready to make my exit, and...No. No. The dreaded round doorknob. Why the fuck is there a doorknob on a bathroom door? I must have not even noticed because I was so focused on entering the bathroom using my foot. I wish it could of at least been a door handle. Ideally, a handle that turns. Then all I'd have to do is turn it with my foot and kick the door open. Even a handle that doesn't turn would be better than the doorknob. I could at least use a receipt to touch the handle to open it. The doorknob, however, will not accommodate standard receipt size. All my receipts are too small to use as a full protective barrier between my clean right hand and the DNA riddled doorknob. I start to panic. BANG BANG BANG. Someone is knocking. "Just a minute" I reply. What's it going to be, touch the doorknob with my hand or shirt and spread shit particles all over my car, or take drastic action? Drastic action for sure. BANG BANG BANG. The person waiting knocks again. Showtime. I yell out to the man that I am locked in the restroom and can't open the door. I kindly ask him to get the cashier to open the door with a key. The sound of footsteps fades out, a couple of minutes of silence, the sound of footsteps fades back in. The doorknob starts to jiggle from the inside and...bam. Open sesame. I walk a free man, back to my car. Another successful journey through a piece of America's public restroom system.

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Anthony Bishop, LMFT

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist #123334

Los Angeles, CA