Doing in Public What Is Better Left Private

August 6th, 2009

I don’t like public restrooms. I just don’t. It’s not that they’re dirty — it’s just that they’re public. I suspect that there may be a genetic component to my aversion and if that is the case, then I blame my mother.

Over the years, I’ve come to accept and tolerate the truly public restrooms. You know, the airport, the movie theater, the mall. Restrooms of mass anonymity where you are simply one of dozens, whizzing together as one. You don’t know anyone in there, you’ll never see them again, and so the intensely awkward fact you’ve shared a very private moment is blunted.

It’s the semi-private-yet-very-public restrooms that cause me no end of anguish. Like the one at my work. There are three stalls, which is exactly the wrong amount. Too many to be private (obviously) and not enough to feel isolated in the throng.

Chances are good that someone will wander in mid pit stop, and chances are even better that you will not only know that person, but be on fairly close terms with them. Sometimes, my co-workers even strike up conversation. Oh horror.

This week at work it’s been particularly difficult because there’s a horde of teenagers in town for a big volunteer project. They’re living at our offices and so when I try to go down for a quick nip into the bathroom, it’s full of barefoot girls, giggling, doing their hair and brushing their teeth.

And you think I’m going to pee for that audience? Surely you jest.

Today I was forced to leave the building entirely and go to the nearest Walgreens. Well, in fairness, I had legitimate business that took me out and about, but the timing of that trip was entirely dictated by my bladder.

3 responses to “Doing in Public What Is Better Left Private”

  1. G'Mom says:

    Mother, aunt, grandfather. Oh yeah, it's genetic.

  2. prettyisa says:

    I don't know, it might be locational–I have the same problem. Luckily my work has one bathroom with 5 stalls (reasonable) and one private one, which I will always try first. I was at a gas station this weekend (desperation!) waiting in line witha whole horde of other weary travellers, and a couple WENT IN TOGETHER. Is it just me, or are there some things that shouldn't be shared if it is at all possible to avoid it?

  3. Kate says:

    Oh my. Together, huh? That is alarming on many levels.

    There is actually a more private bathroom at my office (which I used for puking purposes early on in the pregnancy). But it is often mysteriously locked. Sigh.

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