Public restrooms are not my favorite place in the world to be. Someone should reconsider changing the names of these facilities, as I would not want to rest, much less bathe in these places.
They are not clean. They are wasteful. People are seldom considerate of others who might use the restroom after them. When Nature calls, I hate having to worry about having to gear up in an orange suit before entering a biohazardous environment.
I’ve developed a routine with the women’s restroom at work. My favorite toilet is the very closest to the door, because it has the most powerful flush of the four toilets. If I walk in and see the stall is unoccupied, I head straight to it. I shut the door behind me, lock it, and then I push the toilet handle down with my foot 1) to make sure the toilet still works and 2) because I like a fresh toilet to work with. Then I take some toilet paper and wipe the seat over. Then, I do my business. Depending on what I have to do, I’m in and out relatively quickly. But, if I have to stay longer, I make sure I utilize the Courtesy Flush, because I usually don’t carry matches. If you are unfamiliar with the Courtesy Flush, I urge you to think about incorporating it into your personal restroom etiquette. Believe me, it’s very much appreciated. If I walk into the bathroom and notice someone didn’t Courtesy Flush, of course it’s bothersome, but it’s also just downright gross. Eww. Then, once I’m finished, I unlock the stall door, hook my foot on the bottom of the door and pull it open, then I wash my hands with lots of soap and water. Then, I use one paper towel to dry my hands, then I use that paper towel to open the door to the hallway and toss the paper just before I pass through the door. Pretty easy, and rather sanitary.
Movie theater restrooms and airport restrooms make me extremely nervous. Mostly because you have a couple dozen stalls to choose from. I’ve been trying to decide if it’s like Russian Roulette, because hopefully some chambers are empty, but you also face chambers that unfortunately are fully loaded. And sometimes overflowing, which could have been avoided had the Courtesy Flush been used. Or maybe choosing a stall is like “Let’s Make a Deal!” and you just go in and ask yourself what’s behind door number 17, then you realize the show suddenly becomes “Let’s Make a Doodoo.” Then you try doors 14, 13, 7, 3, 6, 9, and you worry, because the odds appear stacked against you. You start thinking you’ll have to resolve to hold it until you get home. Then you try one more door, one last door. It looks fine, so you rush in. But you end up having to hold the door closed with your foot while sitting on the toilet because the latch is broken. There’s always something.
If you have children, make sure they learn to touch as few surfaces as possible.
Always, always wash your hands. Use air dryers whenever possible. It wouldn’t hurt to bring along a travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer. Under extreme emergencies only would it be necessary to douse the walls and floors with lighter fluid or gasoline and set the entire bathroom ablaze.
I either hold my breath upon entering a restroom, or breathe short, shallow breaths through my mouth 1) in case no one bothered to Courtesy Flush and 2) to minimize the bathroom air taken into my lungs. This is a helpful practice, and I suggest giving it a try.
Be mindful of those who might use the bathroom after you. No one respects a party pooper.