Before I address the title of this post, I would like to convey, as I’m sure I have in the past, one of life’s greatest pleasures. Quite simply, I cannot help but smile when my ass hits the toilet seat in the work bathroom only to discover that the seat is icy cold. I’m not sure exactly why I enjoy this so much, but I imagine it has something to do with the idea that no one else’s ass has touched that seat in months. Decades, even. Conversely, a toilet seat that emits any warmth whatsoever is one of life’s greatest bummers.
As I have also conveyed in the past (and my lovely wife can confirm), the regularity of my constitution is remarkably consistent. Astoundingly consistent. Thanks to my colon, I don’t even wear a watch anymore. This Olympic regularity is only coincidentally related to this story, but it is directly responsible for placing me at the scene of the incident I am about to describe.
There are three stalls in the bathroom on my floor at work; two regular and one handicapped-accessible. The two regular stalls are annoyingly small. Like, airplane bathroom small. Porta-potties are palatial by comparison. As such, I usually default to the handicapable stall. I have no problem with one of the other stalls if the handicapped seat is occupied, but the roomiest option is my first preference.
This morning I entered the bathroom at exactly the same minute I enter the bathroom every single day. There was someone in the middle stall, but the handicapped stall was free. Score. The seat was alarmingly cold. SCORE. If someone had left behind a section of the newspaper, it would have been a hat trick. Can’t win ‘em all.
I set about my business and, as so often happens, my mind wandered. The Weakerthans are playing in Athens tonight and I really want to go see them. But if I’m going to go all the way over to Athens and then engage in an activity as rambunctious as a show of rock and roll, I probably need to just crash over there. But I would have to leave Athens by like 6:30AM if I want to get to work on time tomorrow, which would totally suck. Plus I’ve stayed up a little too late the past couple nights and I can feel myself falling behind on sleep. I suppose I could take tomorrow off.
The guy in the stall next to me finished and left the bathroom. An assortment of people came in, used the urinals, washed their hands, and left.
But I just took a week off, and I’m taking two days off next week, so I probably shouldn’t take tomorrow off just for a show. Plus, whoever I stay with is going to have to get up for work and / or school, which will require me to get up early and vacate anyway. Maybe I could just take a half day tomorrow. But taking half days is such a pain in the ass. (I have to essentially take the whole day in the system and then let my boss know that I have another half day in the bank for use at a later date.) Though I guess I could stay with Mark. He doesn’t have to open the tattoo shop until noon, so I could sleep in. But then I would have that gross slept-in-during-the-week feeling and I would likely be hungover, which would likely cause me anxiety because the rest of society is dutifully working through their Wednesday and I woke up at like 10:30AM with a hangover and didn’t go to work. And then I would either be out a whole extra vacation day, or I would have to come into work at lunch time feeling like burnt eggs. How long have I been sitting here? I should probably get back to work.
The bathroom had been silent for quite a while. I finished my business, exited the stall, and froze in place. Sitting before me was a coworker picking at the skin around one of his cuticles. Did I mention he was sitting? IN A FUCKING WHEELCHAIR?!
So here I am, perfectly un-handicapped, occupying the only men’s handicapped facility on the entire floor while this guy sits quietly in his wheel chair waiting for me to finish. Then he has to go occupy the unpleasantness I had just created and muscle himself onto a toilet seat which will be unpleasantly warm.
“Oh. I’m … uh … I’m sorry. Gosh.”
The look on his face said, “This is really awkward. For you.”
I went to the sink as he wheeled behind me toward the stall. He had bandages and braces on both legs from his shins to his toes and both legs were elevated out in front of him indicating not a permanent handicap but a recent injury.
He struggled with the door because of the springs that cause it to close by itself. He would open it and then by the time he could wheel into position, it would close in front of him.
“Do you want me to hold the door for you?”
“No, I need to learn how to do this.”
“What … uh … what’d you do?”
“I jumped off a waterfall. And broke both my heels.”
“Ow. I guess that’ll do it.”
I said, “Ow. I guess that’ll do it.” I said, “Ow. I guess that’ll do it.” What the hell does that even mean? OH YEAH. THE OLD WATERFALL JUMP. A NOTORIOUS HEEL RUINER. YOU SHOULD WATCH OUT FOR THAT.
“Uh. I’ve got it, thanks.”
If you need me I’ll be lying in the road.