Saturday, December 17, 2005

Everyone Pees

A few years ago my sister bought me the book Everyone Poops for my birthday – a picture book by Taro Gomi. It has very funny illustrations of all different animals’ poo – from giant elephant dumps to little rabbit pellet poops.

A week or so ago I was in line in the bathroom at a very upscale club. In front of me was a model-like scenester diva. Every inch of her body revealed extreme contemplation and intense attention to detail – from her two-tone shimmery eye makeup, to her layered tanktops of various levels of frontal plunginess, to the designer scent that was diffusing down the concentration gradient from her wrist to my nose.

She stood with a perfect disinterested expression, eyes gazing to the distance, with her weight on one leg and her arms crossed across her chest. I took a step back from her. I think my subconscious secretly sensed that my aura had no business infringing on her aura’s space.

Everything about her said “look and admire. I am bar-tacular perfection.” And she was right.

A stall came free and the diva went in. She emerged about a minute later and I was next in line. As I squeezed past her I gave her a half smile, acknowledging the awkwardness of cramped bar bathroom situations. She looked through me.

I entered the stall and prepared to put a safe two-ply coating between the seat and my bum, but was stopped short. A golden splattering of urine covered the seat and glistened almost supernaturally in the halogen bathroom light.

For some reason I found the juxtaposition of the image of this mega diva with this bathroom mess to be hilarious. Despite my best attempts I couldn’t help giggling out loud (all the way through my own business).

Some people think that they have the best grandmother in the world. Then they meet mine and they realize that their grandmother may get the silver medal, but mine unquestionably wins the gold. Witty, warm, kind, and smart. She is also a perfectionist.

My grandmother will spend half an hour shaping butter into little perfectly curled pats. Everything in her apartment is placed just so, and at any given time you could eat off her immaculate floor. I have seen her nearly die of embarrassment when she found a fingerprint on a window. Needless to say, her bathroom is always spotless.

But she is getting older. Lately her eyesight has been getting worse and worse. A few weeks ago when she was mixing the dressing for the salad, she tried to pour lemon juice into a spoon but poured half the bottle directly onto the counter. I pretended not to notice, but I could see the immense frustration and despair on her face when she realized what she had done.

I was the first one to arrive for dinner at her apartment for dinner last week. Having consumed too much coffee prior to my subway trip, I was dying for the toilet by the time I got to her place. I kissed her hello and headed directly to the bathroom.

But this time, there was something uncharacteristically out of place. A small but unmistakable drop of pee had been left behind on the seat. I thought of my grandmother and how she would be mortified if she knew she had left this behind.

As I took some tissue and soap to clean the seat, I began to cry.

At work we have two bathroom stalls. The one on the left is a small, regular stall. The one on the right is a larger stall that is adapted for wheelchair access. Though nobody on our floor uses a wheelchair, as a matter of convention the ladies use the smaller stall if it is available.

I entered the washroom and found both stalls empty. I headed into the smaller stall and was greeted by a disgusting yellow-soiled seat. I quickly headed into the larger stall, did my business, washed my hands, and turned to exit the bathroom. But as I did, I met a co-worker on her way in.

I should have warned her to go into the larger stall. But for some reason it didn’t occur to me until after she had headed into the left hand stall. As I exited the bathroom, a wave of panic seized me. She was going to think that I was the messy pee-splattering culprit. It was so unfair.

I was reminded of that episode of Seinfeld where Jerry gets caught scratching his nose but from an angle that looked like a pick.

For the rest of the morning I stressed about how to delicately bring up the topic with my co-worker. What if word spread that I was a filthy bathroom user? I get angry when people fail to flush, let alone when they leave remnants of their nephron-filtered morning coffee on the seat for all to see.

Eventually my neuroses got the better of me and I knocked on my co-worker’s office door.

Me: Hi, um, okay, I have a really weird thing to confess to you. Well, not confess, exactly, because I didn’t do it. But that’s exactly the point.
Her: Okay – shoot.
Me: Well, remember when we crossed paths in the bathroom this morning and then you went into the smaller stall.
Her: Maybe.. I’m actually a frequent bathroom user.
Me: Okay, well, I should have warned you and I’m so sorry but that pee on the seat- it wasn’t mine. I used the larger stall instead.
Her: Oh. I don’t even remember that. But that kind of thing doesn’t bother me. Some people squat and don’t notice the back-splash. I personally choose to sit on a layer of toilet paper instead.
Me: Okay, okay, good then. I also sit. Bathroom time should be one of relaxation.
Her: Yeah, I totally agree. Squats are for the gym.

And strangely, I felt like we had bonded in some small way.


Blogger Lisa said...

Don't cry over spilled pee. For a long time, I suspected my boyfriend was too lazy to lift the toilet seat to pee. I had reason to suspect this: 1) the toilet seat, no matter how early or late it is in the day, is always down; 2)I often come to the bathroom to discover droplets of liquid on the seat. Finally I confronted the issue, only to discover that the mysterious liquid was not pee, not pee at all, but water, as the tap to towel travel inevitably crossed over the toilet seat. So don't be so quick to judge our marvelous and emaculate grand-mere.

2:05 PM  

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