Be cautious when using a public restroom. Some one may be watching and judging.

I wrote this a couple of months ago — back before hand washing and self-isolation were critical things. Remember how it was way back then? Hanging out in coffee shops? Ohmygod! I miss that so much right now!!

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I am sitting in a coffee shop trying to generate some new ideas to write about. It’s a Sunday morning, and so the place is crowded with ne’er-do-wells. You know the type. Non-church goers and other radicals. People like me.

I’ve snagged the one remaining seat in the place. It’s available because it’s located next to the bathroom. Yah. That’s the table that no one wants. However, for a struggling writer, it’s a spot to generate stories. This time I write about the people who use the restroom in a coffee shop. I realize that this is low hanging fruit, but I’m grasping for ideas, and this one seems a gem.

It’s a unisex restroom — a single-seater. It has one door that opens directly to the back of the shop. There is no hallway. I’m the only one with a birds-eye view. Lucky me!

With each guest, you hope that they aren’t in there too long because unpleasant odors may exit with them. So far, everyone is a quick visit. Tinkle and zip. Most don’t take the time to wash their hands. Yes, really.

I’m a chronic hand washer. Purell is my friend. The fact that so few wash their hands after using the bathroom grosses me out in so many ways.

The first user is one of the employees. Thankfully, he does wash his hands.

A young man with a man-bun goes in next. I don’t get the man-bun thing, but I’m old. It’s okay, I guess. He spent a long time in there. Probably adjusting the bun.

An old guy in a t-shirt and shorts limps by me. It’s 33 degrees outside and he is dressed for summer. This is probably the warmest day we have had for some time, so it’s expected that people will shed their outerwear. But shorts? That’s a special kind of hardy. He’s in there a maximum of 10 seconds. Strongly suspect no hand-washing.

Most people won’t look me in the eye as they pass my table. It’s as if I now know some deep, dark secret about them: they excrete waste. Really, it’s okay, people. We all do it.

I now know that the young man who just came out is very nice and puts (drops) the seat down for the next user. He also brushed his teeth because the scent of mint followed him out. I prefer mint to other odors.

Oh, thank god, they just came to clean it.

The old guy in shorts just made a second trip. He should probably get that frequent urination checked out. Less than 10 seconds this time.

An older woman with dark hair from the table next to me is up next. She’s fast but deposited a paper towel in the garbage can so she’s a hand-washer! That’s good because I may have needed to speak with her if I thought that she didn’t wash.

Another older lady goes in, leaves door open, and only washes her hands. But she closes the door entirely upon exiting, leaving the next user to wonder if the restroom is in use. Cardinal rule: don’t close the door to the restroom in a small coffee shop completely.

The next user gently tests the door handle to see if it’s locked. It’s not, so she slowly opens the door, hoping not to surprise anyone. I mean, really, wouldn’t a knock have worked? I would have knocked rather than risk surprising a user.

There’s a lull in restroom use and I’m growing impatient. I’m sitting in a coffee shop waiting for people to use the toilet so that I can write about it. What has my life become?

A young woman with a ponytail is next. She’s in there for a while. I may need to leave after this one.

She’s still in there. I need to pack up. It’s getting crowded anyway. Church has let out and it’s time to give up my table.

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash

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