I have a thing about public bathrooms. By thing, I mean a THING. It's not that I won't use them. It's just that I hate them. Loathe them. Fear them. I have reasons. Good reasons. Let me explain.
1) It never ceases to amaze me how few people exercise proper etiquette in public bathrooms. I always wonder what the bathrooms in their homes must look like. Enough said.
2) When I was a kid, I got stuck in a bathroom stall at school. I had to crawl out from under the door. My hands, knees, and cheek inadvertently made contact with the stinky, probably-hadn't-been-cleaned-in-a-decade bathroom floor. Ewwwww. I have never forgotten that. (If I ever need therapy, this may be the place to start, ha ha.)
3) Once, when Rick and I took the kids to see a movie, I needed to use the bathroom. How bad can a movie theatre bathroom be? Actually, it was pretty clean. The problem was that the stall door swung outward instead of inward. I unlocked the door and started to step through it. At that precise moment, a kid ran past my stall and slammed the door right into my face. The purse hook on the back of the door hit me right in the eye, cutting the inside of my lower eyelid. Not only did it hurt, but my eyelid was bleeding and I couldn't really tell if my eye had been injured. I ran out of the bathroom with one hand over my eye (yes, I washed my hands first) and I was crying. Okay, I was sobbing because it really, really hurt. I told Rick and off to the emergency room we went. (As we rushed towards our car, a little kid in front of us said, "Mommy, what's wrong with that lady?" She replied, "I don't know, but don't look at her!") After making sure my eye wasn't cut, the doctor told me to cover my uninjured eye and read the eye chart to him. Rick laughed and said, "She couldn't do that before the potty accident!" Yes, I laughed. So did the kids. Then they decided that I should only be allowed to go out in public when wearing a HazMat suit so that bathrooms can't hurt me. (Okay, I pretended to be mad, but I thought it was funny. And to be honest, the suit would have prevented the injury. It also would have helped me on the bathroom floor way back in elementary school.)
4) Last summer when we were traveling by train between Rome and Venice, I needed to use a bathroom. It was tiny, as in airplane tiny. There was ample evidence of misaim. It was stinky. The worst part was that the train was moving, so I had to touch the walls to steady myself in order to avoid touching the so-beyond-nasty seat. I seriously wanted to sterilize my hands and the bottoms of my shoes.
5) When Rick and I were out and about in Torino, I really needed a bathroom. The town was crazy busy (we were there for the 2006 Winter Olympics). We finally found a table in a small cafe (I'm weird and feel guilty using a restaurant's bathroom unless I order something there). Rick grabbed the table while I waited in line for the bathroom. The first problem was that it was a unisex bathroom. I really, REALLY hate those. Call me judgmental, but no matter WHAT they say, men simplay cannot aim. End of story. Anyway, I waited in line for what seemed like a LONG time before it was my turn. To my horror, I walked in and saw this:
(No, I didn't take a photo of it! I found this on Google Images.) It took me a minute to realize what I was seeing. It's a toilet. A squat toilet to be precise. Apparently, you put your feet in the wells and squat. You may think it sounds simple. NOT! Picture this: I was in layers of clothing with a huge, full-length down coat on because it was the middle of winter up in the mountains of Italy. I also had my purse with me. There wasn't a hook upon which to hang my purse or coat (which may have been good since I am now afraid of bathroom hooks, LOL), which meant I would have to squat and hold my things out of the way. There was no freaking way I was going to put my stuff on the bathroom floor because of the whole men-cannot-aim thing. Also keep in mind that I only have one good hand. How in the world was I supposed to hold my stuff, balance myself over the "pit," and avoid wetting my pants and boots? So I did the only thing I could do: I left. I thought that perhaps Rick would hold my things so I could make this work. But when I left the bathroom, the line was about 10 people long, mostly men, which did nothing to encourage me to try again. To top it off, Rick had ordered some delicious smelling and looking cappuccinos, so I topped off my already overfull tank and went in search of another bathroom. Thankfully we found one in another cafe (where we purchased more cappuccinos, of course). It was a unisex one, but I totally didn't care at that point because it had a REAL toilet! The only problem was that, in my haste, I forgot to lock the door. Yup, in walked a man mid-stream. Just. My. Luck.
You get my drift. I have a THING about public bathrooms.
At 6:30 this morning, I sat down with my coffee and computer to read the news, as I do every morning. I came across this article.
Study Finds Restaurant Ice Dirtier Than Toilet Water
by The Daily Meal | June 5, 2013 at 1:45 PM | Drink, Food, Health
A study of Britain’s popular restaurants found that ice actually had more bacteria than toilet water.
By Jessica Chou, TheDailyMeal.com Editor
Please excuse us as we go toss our iced coffee; a new investigation from The Daily Mail has found that ice from McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Starbucks, and more fast-food chains, tested in the U.K., was all more bacteria-ridden than toilet water.
The Mail reports that scientific tests found that all of the samples contained more bacteria than toilet water at the same place, but none of them presented an “immediate health danger.”
Samples from McDonald’s, KFC, and Nando’s were suspected to be dirtied by things like a dirty ice machine, while Burger King responded to its results by saying it was probably an employee who didn’t wash his or her hands.
Meanwhile, Starbucks reportedly had a “satisfactory” level of bacteria, scientists say, despite the amount being higher than bathroom water levels.
Yes, I gagged. Yes, coffee came out of my nose. Yes, I had a freak-out moment. I read the article to Rick.
Rick: "Hey, this should make you happy."
Rick: "Sounds like public bathrooms aren't that bad after all."
Me: "You have GOT to be kidding! You know how I feel about public bathrooms. Toilet water is cleaner than restaurant ice cubes? I may never order an iced drink again!""
Rick: "Well, you've been drinking them all along and have never gotten sick."
Me: "So NOT the point."
Rick: "Seems like cats have been right all along."
So maybe next time I'm craving an iced coffee from Starbucks, I'll just save my money and grab a drink in the bathroom instead.
So. Never. Gonna. Happen.