This morning I had 9:30 reservations for 1 at the Porcelain Bar and Grill on the second floor. No one else was in there, just me, taking care of some business in the regular stall. The handi stall was vacant, and all was right with the world. I had my solitude and there was great peace.
Then I hear the steps of what can only be a JBC coming down the hallway. Feet beating the ground in a heavy rhythm, the door flies open, shuddering from the high-pressure blow delivered to its oaken veneer. Breathing heavily through the nose and mouth, a moan echoes throughout the bathroom as the JBC makes a beeline for the handi stall. I can tell something awful is definitely about to take place, but powerless to defend myself, I remain calm and seated, hoping this storm will pass quickly.
Then, it all just happens. The kind of thing you might do in the privacy of your own home, but for the love of all humanity would you never do in a public place; let alone, with someone in the same bathroom riding shotgun. Not a trace of shame or humility. Just…an episode.
I hear trousers hit the floor, and then just a barrage of cannon fire. The kind of salvos that tell you right away that maybe your personal hygiene needs some serious attention. The kind of horrifying report that declares your diet to have major, major errors in it. Who knows what this guy’s real problem was. And were that the only real problem here, we may not find this at all remarkable. But it was the moaning. The gasping. And the heavy, heavy breathing throughout the entire ordeal that really made the situation over the top. But even still, in spite of the whole production, we still can’t find the situation that remarkable. Maybe the Jabe (Jabe is short for JBC for those just tuning in) is just having a rough morning. Maybe he has IBS or Chron’s. Who knows and who really cares. But where the story really starts getting into the twilight zone is when he finishes. Which is literally 60 seconds from the time he sat down.
Now, I can’t even wipe properly in 60 seconds, let alone that and actually perform the act that would necessitate the wipe in the first place. Something isn’t right here. He can’t possibly be done. But, he is. He’s flushed, and he’s left the stall.
And like watching a car accident from my helpless little perch, I am powerless to stop what is about to happen next. As if I’d lost my sight, my sense of hearing is at its superhuman peak as my ears tell the story of what is unfolding right outside my steel curtain of anonymity. Literally, one full second of water runs, as hands frantically scrub back and forth. The absence of soap takes center stage as he goes for a fistfull of Kleenex, embedded in a stainless steel pocket next to the sink. And then, it’s over. So overwhelmed and disgusted, I spring from my throne, peering precariously over the confines of my rightmost partition, only to catch a fleeting glimpse of a white collared shirt and a slicked mane of dark hair exiting the restroom.
So thanks for leaving me a toxic waste dump to wash up in. I finish up and leave my stall, gingerly scrub down, and I open the bathroom door with my foot using a combination of moves borrowed from Cirque du Soleil and The Karate Kid. The Jabe, of course, long gone. But he has not won the day; not by a long shot. For this is the last straw for me. Today friends, today I can take no more of this.
Today friends…today is the day that I hang up the signs.