A Trip to the Grocery Store Bathroom

20 Jul
Bathroom Signs - Hold For Effective Flush

Pic by Joanna8555. Click to check out her Flickr Photostream.

I don’t trust grocery store bathrooms.

I don’t know why, but I don’t.  It doesn’t seem right – folks relieving themselves in the same place they get their groceries.  It’s like peeing beside your pantry.  It’s wrong.

When nature calls while I’m grocery shopping, it is only out of absolute desperation and necessity that I will resort to the grocery store restrooms.  They’re often scuzzy, hidden, and almost always traumatizing.

Yesterday I got out of work a bit late and Dave came as a knight in shining armor to pick me up from the evil soul-sucking corporate castle.  I was afraid I’d tried his patience so I dared not stop for a bathroom break before heading to the elevator.   But when the elevator reached the lobby, the slight thud of a stop it made bounced my bladder just a tad and it became evident that my pee situation was becoming higher priority than I anticipated.

When I opened the door to Dave’s metaphorical steed, he casually mentioned we needed some milk and might consider stopping by the grocery store.   I grimaced at the possibility of resorting to using the restroom there.  Tucked back behind the meat coolers, the one-toilet  deadbolted room was no party.  I imagined toilet paper strung up around the ceiling and a variety of gag-inducing messes strewn about.  No doubt the employees do their business elsewhere so upkeep isn’t of much concern.

But alas, as I was in the cereal aisle debating with Honey Nut Cheerios as to whether they really were America’s favorite cereal or if they were just saying that, I could endure it no longer: the bladder needed drained.

I cautiously made my way to the back of the store and there in the bowels of the meat department between the antibiotic-free chicken and the precooked ham steaks, was several stacks of soda can packs and the steel door behind which lied my fate.   I took a deep breath and tried the door to find it locked and heard a woman heartily shout from inside “ALMOST DONE!!!”.

I’m never sure how to take a statement like that.  I don’t want to think about the fact that she knows how much more she has in her and is approaching the finale.  I don’t want to imagine her rushing.  It seems stressful.  And potentially painful.  But I don’t want to yell anything back to her to indicate that we’re now in a conversation while she is doing her duty.

So I told myself she must have meant she was almost done washing her hands.  Yes.  That’s what she must have meant.

When she finally came back from the depths of the cove and into the harsh, bright lights of the meat coolers, she looked me straight in the eye, exhausted, and said “I was in there a while.   You know, sometimes that’s good to know.”

I admired her straightforwardness but was absolutely paralyzed with fear.  How could I possibly venture forth with such a certain doom?  But there was no way I could make it through the after-work grocery crowd, back to the metaphorical steed, and home in time to save myself from a very public, very wet embarrassment.

So I took an enormous breath and charged forward, hoping I could squeeze my bladder empty fast enough to rinse my hands, skip the drying, and bolt out the door.

That never works,  you know.

I sat there, rushing, heart pounding, breath held – knowing what was waiting for me – absolutely certain that every squeak of a breath let out was inevitably a puff of putrid air that would have to be let in.  I held and held until I could hold no longer and slumped my shoulders in defeat.  Eyebrows furrowed, face bright red, and eyeballs strained, I forced myself to release the meat department air in my lungs and replace it with “I was in there a while” air.

It was everything I thought it would be.

I’m considering a detox today.  You know, an all raw diet of sorts.  There’s nothing like a huge, lung-swelling breath of stale bathroom air to make your very genes feel sullied.

I need an apple.


15 Responses to “A Trip to the Grocery Store Bathroom”

  1. pegoleg July 20, 2011 at 9:25 am #

    Gagging and retching in sympathy here. You poor baby!


    • Jackie July 23, 2011 at 6:55 pm #

      it was truly awful. it helps to know I’ve passed on the pain to others.


  2. Jessica July 20, 2011 at 10:49 am #

    LOL great post! You had me laughing the whole time – and gagging in sympathy for you. 🙂


  3. misswhiplash July 20, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    A Brave Woman it is to venture where one has gone before.

    At least you did not wet your panties..what a relief!


  4. misswhiplash July 20, 2011 at 11:26 am #

    It takes a Brave Woman to go where one has gone before!

    At least you did not wet your panties!

    I loved the post, it was funny,giggly and oh so true


  5. Ro July 20, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    Ugh. That’s the worst. I never know what to say to people who yell to me when I try opening a door. Mostly I feel guilty for interrupting. Or, even worse, when I’m using the bathroom and someone tries to come in. The “almost done”? “Occupied”? “Someone is in here!”? “Just a minute”? What is proper? I don’t know if anyone has agreed on a social norm for that situation. All we know is that we’re supposed to yell back or something. Blech.
    For what it’s worth- you’re lucky. At my grocery store, you have to go through the staff break room to get to the bathroom. That’s right. You have to walk past those poor schmucks (my kid brother included) eating their lunches just to get to the bathroom. And then they’re stuck hearing and smelling all sorts of nasties. Next time you’re in the meat section, be grateful.


  6. Jules July 20, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

    Oh man, I’m laughing so hard. Thanks Jackie.

    While we’re on the subject of putrid smells and and breath-holding, I just wanted to let you know that I do the same thing. Not for bathrooms, of course, because that’s just way too long. I do it when I have dispose of the trash.

    I goes like this…holdbreath -> open lid -> tie up bag -> run out the front door -> dump trash in bin -> exhale.

    Ya, I know that was lame in comparison to your awkward experiences with strangers, but I do what I want.


    • Jackie July 23, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

      So glad you liked it. And it wasn’t lame at all 🙂


  7. knotrune July 21, 2011 at 5:47 am #

    Do you not know the holding a cloth over your nose trick? If you don’t have a hanky, the ends of clothing will do in such a desperate situation. Even a bit of toilet paper! Then you just have to hold your breath for the bits you need your hands for.


    • Jackie July 23, 2011 at 6:50 pm #

      Ah, a handkerchief. I shall keep t in my purse with some body spray should I need to utilize the grocer’s water closet again.


  8. Lucy's Mom August 4, 2011 at 9:27 am #

    I am with you Jackie! Public bathrooms are the absolute worst! The most disgusting one I have ever encountered was a in a grocery store. What a nightmare – literally. That is my recurring dream ~ filthy public restrooms. I keep opening stall after to stall to find a “presentable” one to no avail. Real life is not much better. What can’t my recurring dream be normal like being naked in public or flying?

    Talk about TMI! “Almost done!” “I was in there for a while” ~ Why would you need to know that? I hope your nostrils are cleared by now.


    • Jackie August 10, 2011 at 12:40 am #

      LOL My recurring dream is my teeth falling out and yours is public restrooms. hilarious 🙂


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