Like most people, I have a love/hate relationship with public restrooms. How many times have I heard one of my kids’ panicked screams break the calm reverie of a long car trip (thank you very much, inventor of the DVD) to tell me they “HAVE TO PEE NOW!!!”? We pull into whatever is the next available pee receptacle and do what needs to be done to save the car upholstery. It’s usually something that hasn’t been cleaned this millennia but it solves the problem and isn’t that why God created hand sanitizer? I’m grateful it was there but grossed out until I can shower.
Recently, I went to a middle school swim meet at a very nice private school. The facilities were clean and mostly plentiful, but I had one issue with them: They were too quiet. After downing my large Coke Zero with vanilla from Sonic, I found the nearest restroom to the indoor pool complex. This particular restroom was only a two-seater, which meant several ladies waited in line behind me. The bathroom was as sound proof as a recording studio. Nothing from the hundreds of people just outside the restroom could be heard, only the tinkling from within. Talk about humiliation. I didn’t know anyone in line but I felt the need to small talk. Unfortunately, the sounds I couldn’t help but hear only made me need to go more. I couldn’t think of anything to say. “How about the weather? Looks like it might rain.” No good. All talk of precipitation was off limits if I wanted to get out of there without making a puddle. At that moment, I wished for two things: 1.) Some kind of music piped in to mask the bathroom noises. Macaroni Grill even plays “Learn to Speak Italian” CDs. Brilliant. (Dove posso trovare? Where is the bathroom?) 2.) To make as little sounds as possible when it was my turn. I was suddenly grateful I didn’t order any food from Sonic when I got my coke. Had I eaten a breakfast burrito there would have been sounds aplenty.
There are so many examples of love/hate relationships. Usually, we prefer to say bittersweet. When our kids tackle the next hurdle towards adulthood, it’s a bittersweet moment. We want to see them grow and mature but we also want to keep them little and adorable and taking long naps. Some experiences are more bitter than sweet and vice versa, but I have realized most experiences have both. It may seem clichéd to look for the silver lining in every dark cloud but finding the love amidst the hate is the only way to persevere through some tough times. Finding things to be grateful for makes the low points seem more temporary.
So I salute you, public restrooms! You have saved me countless times! Thank you or as my Italian friends would say: grazie molte!