The Uncomfortable Restroom Story

I don’t like to write “gross out” humor, as I hope, usually in futility, that my punchlines are a bit more cerebral than “PFFFFFFFBBBBBBBTTT! SEE?!?” But, sometimes, a combination of events forces my hand. Sometimes, I have to write poop and fart jokes. In The Patriot, Mel Gibson originally didn’t want to fight either. But, when backed into an emotional corner, he pulled out his hatchet and went nuts. So, if you read this and think Shit jokes, Daniel? Really?, just remember that I really didn’t have a choice in the matter.

Ingles, where only good things happen.

Ingles, where only good things happen.

I was at Ingles a few days ago when this restroom disaster struck. For those of you familiar with the Asheville area, and, more importantly, familiar with the Asheville Ingles locations, I was at the one on Patton Avenue that was recently remodeled to look more like Harris Teeter. Rather than improve in any sort of way, the Ingles plan for success is to try and resemble another possible grocery store. This means a lot of brown colors, with writing meant to look like someone drew the signs, by hand, with chalk. This will make things appear “natural” and “quaint” and “homey,” rather than the normal Ingles décor, which can best be described as “this diced tomatoes stain on the tile has been around since the last time I shopped here.”

As with most public places that I enter, I found that I had to use the bathroom as soon as I walked in. It’s just part of my body’s unconscious plan to ruin anything that I do. New experience? How about a minor stomach flu to top it all off? The icing on my cake is always made of gastric discomfort.

I went in, found the room to be empty, chose the last stall and began the process. I don’t need to use any heavier descriptors than “process.” Anyone who’s ever been forced to use a public restroom understands this feeling perfectly. Also, I don’t want to take anything away from the magnitude of what was to come. My contribution to this bathroom story is minor at best.

The door opened and someone rushed into the stall beside mine. It was a blur of sound and was something done with intense purpose. From his entrance, I could already gather that he had no pretenses about his mission. There was no pretending that he didn’t have to go as badly as he did. I can respect that. Too often, people step into public bathrooms as if they don’t have to expel every organ in their lower torso that isn’t nailed down. This man was totally unashamed. So, he had that going for him.

Under the crack between the stalls, I could see that he was wearing sandals, sandals that were soon accompanied by sweatpants. Now, I don’t mean to stereotype those that prefer sandals in the company of sweatpants, but if you’re wearing that combination, I can safely assume that whatever you’re about to do in a public restroom isn’t the result of a good diet and intestinal strength. Sandals and sweatpants tell the people around you “All of these undercooked hot dogs are going to come out however they fucking want to.” Those who wear sandals and sweatpants aren’t going to do anything daintily. People who wear sandals and sweatpants shit how they dress: haphazardly.

To put what happened next in a relevant and search engine friendly format, try to imagine what it would sound like if every one of your Facebook friends that did the Ice Bucket Challenge all played their videos at once. It was like a black hole suddenly going in reverse. It was Galactus vomiting. In the span of four seconds, everything I knew about how the human body processes and eliminates waste was changed. If this was an Upworthy article, it would be entitled “This Man Lost Everything He’s Ever Eaten Or Owned Or Become Friends With, And You Won’t Believe How! #2 Will Shock You.”

It didn’t stop. There was no slowing down, or any apparent movement towards a nadir of his torrent. And, while it was going, I heard the sound of lasers, like the ones you’d hear in a science fiction film. Luckily, it wasn’t his body inventing new ways to power through extreme distress, but his cell phone ringing, which he answered by yelling “HEY, BABY!”

He was shitting so loudly that he had to shout over it, and not once during his conversation with “BABY!” did he ever think to say something along the lines of “Look. I’m ruining the bottom half of my body. Can I call you back?” No, he treated his conversation with the same fervor as the other major thing going on in his life at the time. The talk he had was apparently about hiring someone to work on their house. “YEAH! NO, HE’S NOT WEIRD. AND HE LIKES TO WORK. HE’S GREAT AT ROOFING. NO, HE’LL BE FINE. OKAY, I LOVE YOU, BABY. I’LL SEE YOU AT 9 ON TUESDAY. A.M.!” I can’t think of a worse time to discuss potential employees than that, but I’ve never had to negotiate jobs while practically hacking into the infrastructure of a toilet, so what do I know?

I finished my business, and stood into a stratosphere of poo cloud. It started at chest level and went up, and the first thing I thought of when my nose intercepted it and told my brain “Oh, this is not good,” was being taught how to escape a burning house in elementary school. You were supposed to stay low to the ground, because the smoke will rise. I didn’t crawl out of the stall, so I ended up taking enough brain damage to think it was a good idea to write this story.

Machete don't use a bathroom well.

Machete don’t use a bathroom well.

At the same time, the other man exited, somehow. I can’t explain how the timing of this worked out, but as soon as I moved from the stall, he did as well, and our eyes met in a way that I can only think would be replicated if I stared at someone who had just committed a murder. I could read his pupils, and they were all “Don’t go to the police with this.” He had long hair, pulled back into a pony tail, a goatee that looked like he’d shaved it without consulting first what a goatee was supposed to look like, and he wore a black beater. He was a Danny Trejo cosplay of a man, and he was going to kill me if I ever spoke about what had just occurred.

He soon fled the bathroom, and I didn’t see him again the whole time I was in the Ingles. Was this my Jesus encounter? Did that man exist in this earthly plain at all or was he sent as a messenger? I’ll never know. All he left me with were the smells and sounds of a disintegrating digestive system, and an expression that spoke pure death.

It was enlightening.


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