16 November 2011

Of Poop and Circumstance

In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit to my obsession with poop. Specifically, the disbursement or dissemination and the acceptable receptacle of said poop.

In the building where I work, the route to access the ladies room (this is a misnomer because there's nothing ladylike about what occurs in the women's water closet) takes you down the hallway to a mini-kitchen (complete with refrigerator, sink, and microwave). As you walk through the mini-kitchen, the bathroom door is a mere TWO FEET from the microwave. (I know, GROSS, right?) So, if someone had just taken a particularly noxious #2, AND at the same time, an unsuspecting employee were to be microwaving her lunch, imagine if you will the awkward moment when the dumper opens the bathroom door to the poor recipient who had just taken her Lean Cuisine out of the microwave. Now, imagine if you are the dumper – how would you handle this situation? Do you avoid eye contact as you slink away? Do you own up to that smell and do the “oh well” shrug? What is the appropriate response in this situation? Is there one?

One of my life's unbreakable rule is: NEVER EVER use a public bathroom to take a dump. (There are exceptions to this rule which I will explain below.)

Two reasons why:
1.   Public toilets are disgusting. If I could, I would Lysol down the seat and surrounding area, lay down 5 layers of those disposable paper seats, and then, only then would I deem it safe to sit. As it is, I don't carry Lysol with me nor are the paper seats always available, so I squat when I pee. I could squat all day. I have very strong quad muscles. But as everyone knows, one cannot squat and dump. It's physiologically impossible. One time, when I was in a stall peeing, someone entered the adjacent toilet, and I look underneath the divider with horror as this person drops trou and sits right down on the seat without any prepping like it ain't no thang. Gah, that's disgusting. I knew a girl once who caught crabs by sitting right on a naked public toilet seat and that is why I don't sit on public toilets.

2.   Public toilets are disgusting. See Reason #1. 'Nuff said.

Exceptions to this rule (aka, Extenuating Circumstances):

2007, Rome, Italy. I'm roaming around Campo de Fiori, which is a delightful open air market chock full of vendors of fresh fruit, vegetables, spices, wine, cheeses, meats, flowers, pastry – so intoxicating, the air heavy and fragrant with strawberries, peaches, lavender, blue cheese.  So, I'm walking around, having a hard time deciding what to purchase – I want everything – walking back and forth, overwhelmed by all the choices, vendors evil-eyeing me, thinking “Buy something already, jeez” - in Italian, of course. From this veritable cornucopia, I finally decide on... a bag of giant capers. Brined and heavily salted. Buds as large as grape tomatoes.

I should have had an artichoke...

...or a tomato. Anything but the capers.

I take my baggie of salty capers, find a vacant spot along a stone wall and proceed to chow down while I people watch.

Cut to: thirty minutes later and my baggie is empty. I'm smacking my puckered lips, like it's the best thing I've had all day.

Cut to: ten minutes later on my way to explore some cathedral close by.

And then the rumbling begins.

Just a twinge at first, in the upper intestine. I ignore it. Twenty more steps. I stop in my tracks. The twinge has turned into a gurgling bubbling of acidic morass that's clearing a path through my intestines like a flash flood through the Grand Canyon. I panic. I pull out my street map, calculate the distance to my hotel. I trace my finger across the map... There's no way. I can't make it back in time, this bowel movement is not willing to wait.

Italian trattoria
I'm sorry for befouling your water closet.
I double over in pain, rendered immobile. I spot a small trattoria on the corner. I shuffle/creep over, do a quick recon of the interior through the window – 3, maybe 4 customers – certainly not enough so I can sneak in undetected. But I have no choice. Casually, I walk in, spot the “bagno” sign, which is right after the bar, behind which 2 Italian dudes are chatting it up. As I approach, they both turn to look at me suspiciously. I bare my teeth in what I hope is a semblance of a smile, croak out “Ciao!” and sneak into the darkened bathroom. There's no time – I yank my pants down and collapse onto the UNPREPPED toilet seat and unclench.

What happened next was not pretty; I will spare you the craptastic details, but I did manage to wipe down the area afterwards, because I'm considerate like that. 20 pounds lighter, I floated all the way back to my hotel room.


  1. Too bad we don't poop coco puffs! Great post!

  2. Please don't tell me that you're one of those ladies whose ass is too precious to sit on the seat, so she delicately pees all over it...

  3. @Anon - I actually use one of these: http://www.go-girl.com/. Guaranteed no spraying :)