The Worst Thing That Ever Happened

April 27, 2009 at 6:32 pm 13 comments

Before you assume that title is mere hyperbole, hear me out.  And be warned that the story involves one of these:toilet

This is not for the faint of heart.

This past weekend was gorgeous- the best weather in recent memory, and the first real taste of summer following a long, miserable winter.  After a long morning inside at the office, where else would I spend my Saturday but at the park?  I met up with some work friends in Prospect Park, and we spend the day lounging in the shade, watching Little League, and surreptitiously drinking beer.  Basically perfect.  After a couple hours, we all needed to get up and stretch our legs.  Everyone else took the opportunity to go to the bathroom, but the line for the women’s room was impossibly long (isn’t it always?) so I figured I’d wait.  In the meantime, we’d decided it’d be wise to procure some more beverages.  Naturally.

Fast forward, another few hours have passed.  The sun’s gone down, and the park is empty except for a few couples and people running around with their dogs.  The weather is warm, it’s been a stress-free day, and I really can’t complain.  Except that the pressure in my bladder has been building since early afternoon, and it’s starting to make me cranky.  Not to mention that I’ve been constantly imbibing a natural diuretic since the early afternoon.  I learn that all the public restrooms in the park close at 6.  Of course they do.  The people I’m with all have the, uh, necessary equipment to relieve themselves in the woods.  I’m jealous.  The phrase “my back teeth are swimming” is beginning to make a lot of sense.

Then I find out that there are some port-a-potties a couple hundred yards down the path.  A few of the guys are heading off and going that direction, so I decide to walk with them (partly for the company, partly to avoid any crazies jumping out of the woods.  I’m not sure my muscle control could withstand being startled at this point.)

Just as my kidneys are about to burst, I see a cluster of port-a-potties ahead.  There must be some long German word which means “the mixture of relief and trepidation one feels upon spying a portable toilet when one’s bladder is pregnant with urine”, and if I knew it, that’s what I’d use to describe my feelings at that moment.  As we approached, my friend was telling me a story about how, at some music festival, he saw a port-a-potty tipped on its side.  With someone in it.  I silently thanked the powers-that-be that such a thing had never happened to me, because that’s the sort of thing you can never fully put behind you, I feel.

We’d reached the port-a-potties (I really hate that word, by the way, but “port-a-john” is even worse, so what can you do?), so I said goodbye to my friends and approached the cubicles with no small amount of fear in my heart.  I realize now that it’s after sundown, and there aren’t any artificial lights in the port-a-potties.  I’m going to have to conduct my business in complete darkness.  But fine, I’m tough, I can handle it.  There are three in a row, so I open the door on the far right and check for toilet paper.  None.  I check the middle stall.  No luck, just the empty cardboard tube.  The third one.  Nothing.  I don’t have any tissues in my purse. Or napkins, or even an old receipt.  I decide on the middle one, figuring that I only have to pee, and I can peel the cardboard tube apart from the inside.  It’ll be reasonably clean, relatively absorbent, and better than leaves, right?  Right??

I gingerly tap the seat, making sure it’s dry.  As far as I can tell, it’s as clean as anyone could hope for.  I perch as close to the edge of the seat as I can, do what I have to do, and get ready to go.  As I’m getting ready to stand up, I shift my weight slightly, and my bare skin touches the back edge of the toilet seat… and my left cheek touches something wet.  And somewhat …squishy.  Oh god oh god.  I jump up as fast as I can, ripping apart the rest of the toilet paper roll, hoping to clean myself off.  There’s still SOMETHING on me.  The whole place reeks, expectedly, of a combination of human waste and that awful artificial sweet smell from an air freshener.  It’s making me nauseated, and I just want to get out as soon as I can.

I do another vain search for something papery and disposable in my purse, with no luck.  I realize what I have to do.  I slip off my shoes, stand on top of them, and wriggle out of my jeans. I’m doing my best not to touch the walls and struggling to keep my purse on my shoulder the whole time.  I step out of my underpants, and use those to clean myself up.  I fight the urge to look at what I wiped off, but my curiosity gets the best of me.  All I can tell in the non-existent lighting is that it’s something dark.  And moist.  I wish I hadn’t looked.  I’m cursing every person who’s used this port-a-potty before me, and the people responsible for maintaining it, and the person who dictated that public restrooms should close at 6pm, and everyone in the park who’s enjoying themselves and the weather and not wiping foreign matter off their bums.

There’s still half a bottle of water in my purse from earlier, a minor miracle.  I throw the underwear into the toilet, rinse off, pull my pants back on, and stagger back outside, gulping for fresh air.  I scrub my hands on the grass, trying to feel clean again, and knowing I won’t feel right until I have a shower.

As I make my way back to my friends, I try to relax and bask in the warm breeze.  Anyway, I know that pushing down thoughts of what just transpired is the only way to avoid going irretrievably insane for the rest of my life.  I get back and am asked, “How’d it go?”  I stare off into middle distance. “You know, I don’t really want to talk about it.”


Entry filed under: Betty, Fucking Crazy, Miscellaneous Musings. Tags: , , , , , , .

Apologies For The Lack of Posts 100 Books in 100 Words #1: Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Cecelia  |  April 27, 2009 at 7:12 pm

    At least you didn’t drop your purse in.

  • 2. alisaurus  |  April 27, 2009 at 7:58 pm

    While that is undeniably disgusting and horrifying, I was really expecting for you to end up inside a fallen over port-a-potty. I’m glad you didnt though, because then I don’t think we could be friends anymore.

  • 3. Sarah  |  April 27, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    ha, now if I call you stinky it’ll seem so much more appropriate.

    that’s really horrifying though.
    my worst port-a-potty experience was at vet’s park after a football game when someone came up and started knocking and shaking the thing.
    I was terrified, and sure I was going to end up in poo.
    port-a-potties should be eliminated

  • 4. A Bailes  |  April 28, 2009 at 12:45 am


    Naw, that seriously sucks though. I have some horror stories myself. We should exchange some time.

  • 5. parkrangerolivia  |  April 28, 2009 at 9:01 am

    that is why you NEVER sit down.

  • 6. Betty  |  April 28, 2009 at 10:54 am

    I have never understood how to AVOID sitting down, particularly in a port-a-potty, where the seat is embedded in sort of a bench that goes the width of the stall. You can’t really straddle the seat, so how do you avoid peeing on yourself??

    These are serious questions for our time.

  • 7. neekaps  |  April 28, 2009 at 2:46 pm

    sat on shit?

    1. ever smoked weed in a john?
    I have

    2. I thought my keys got locked inside a hudson river parkway porta potty once. that was the worst…
    luckily I found them in the grass.

  • 8. seph  |  April 29, 2009 at 9:08 am

    You can’t really straddle the seat, so how do you avoid peeing on yourself??

    You gotta build up your thigh muscles, girl! Or just go in the bushes, female anatomy be damned.

  • 10. Olivia  |  April 30, 2009 at 9:51 pm

    yeah, like seph said. seriously, you WILL build up those muscles. if you want to avoid this problem again, try practicing in a regular clean bathroom or sitting against a wall. i didn’t learn how until i came to new york.
    …okay, some people may think this is a stupid, scared and unnecessary suggestion, but with so many germs (and feces) on toilet seats, it’s well worth learning how to avoid touching the seat…betty’s story is definitely the best example of this. ugh.

  • 11. seph  |  May 1, 2009 at 2:44 am

    Yeah, I don’t want to get too much into TMI territory here, but if a place looks at all shady I’ll just avoid touching the seat at all. IT CAN BE DONE.

  • 12. ABailes  |  May 5, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    There’s also the SheWee

  • 13. ABailes  |  May 5, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    Also this,


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