Not so long ago we were eating out. I was just thinking fondly of restaurants because I am hungry and about to eat an all-white-turkey-meat hotdog of sorts. Mmmmy. Right. So that led my mind to wander to a better food day in my life. My mind wandered right down to our favorite Sonny’s BBQ. We used to go there a lot.
I love their food.
I do not love their restrooms.
But when Sister Tinklepants asks to go to the potty, you don’t say no. So we went.
We’ve all had them: creepy bathroom experiences in public places. Maybe it’s walking in on some sort of aftermath that leads you to wonder if the previous occupant had been raised by wolves. Maybe it’s wandering into a restroom of a dollar theater and being 100% certain that you’ve interrupted an animal sacrifice or a terrorist operation.
I’ve had my public restroom moments. I am not a germophobe, which might account for my kids having had their share of airborne diseases. Still though, I have standards. One of the rules I have for myself in public bathroom stalls –call me crazy– is that I must shut and lock the door when I’m going to disrobe and relieve. There are at least 150 very obvious reasons for this, most basic, of all rules. But there is at least one person in the greater Tampa Bay area that does not share this particular policy. So as I walked into the Ladies’ room in Sonny’s BBQ that day, I was surprised to have to force myself to look away as I walked past an open stall with an oldish woman using the toilet. Oh. I didn’t see a whole lot, as I managed to snap my neck in the other direction very quickly. The girls gawked as long as they could in that second and a half as I rushed them by into a stall of our own. I had just a moment to gaze upon the old woman’s feet as I could see them from the next door stall. Oh, the horror. Feet are inherently ugly. You should have seen these. Words cannot support the task of describing these feet. Sister Tinklepants was marching back and forth inside this stall singing at the top of her lungs. I’m sure everyone in the restaurant knew that I had two toddlers in the bathroom with me. And as I was waiting for Beloved to be done and pass the torch, the hand that accompanied this gnarled set of pantyhosed feet reached under my stall partition and grabbed hold of Tinklepant’s fat baby leg. My eyes immediately humongosized as I grabbed my baby back and moved her away from the Crazy Toilet Troll. Then came the questions from the girls. Who is that? What was she doing? Why does she pee with the door open? Look at those FEET. We waited for her to move on before we did so ourselves. I was out of stock reactions to horribly awkward moments, so I could not risk facing her at the sinks. Sinks? She potties with the door open! She wasn’t going to wash her hands. Well, either way. That was that. It seemed the price we had to pay for sweet sauce and the moist towelette.
We eat in a lot more often now. And when I have to use the restroom–when I absolutely have to–I always check the feet under the next door stall. You just never know, apparently.