Crapper. john. Outhouse. Bathroom. Toilet. Potty. The Throne.
La Toilet du Maison.
A bathroom in the U.S. is called many things. In the U. S. military out in the field during a mission, it’s wherever you feel comfortable taking a dump. You can’t take your time out in the field. In Amsterdam, its known as Twalette, but spelled Toilette in the lobby of Amsterdam Square hotel. Whatever you and your children call it, pretty much everyone knows what you mean.
The first toilet was invented by Sir Roger Harrington, who at a party with the queen, heard her remark that there was no real comfortable way, in her layers of gowns, to do her “business.” In collaboration with this queen, Sir Roger was able to come up with the first toilet, crude and non flushing, but more pleasurable for the queen, and practical.
We recently bought a new one at ReStore. It stands higher than our other johns, and cost only $30. Plus, it’s white. Our other toilets are puke pink, and dusky yellow.
Bathrooms, private and public, have become, near and dear to me. Location is a plus, and while I suffered all winter with back problems, I’d search for toilets that didn’t need me to aim correct. No, I didn’t do it on the floor! But I was especially appreciative of johns that met at the back of my knee, versus toilets where I had to perform a squat style – very very painful, and would sometimes necessitate me pulling myself up with the help of a sink.
When I was 28, I was diagnosed with diabetes. Back then, I was constantly seeking out bathrooms, public restrooms, or unfortunately to me, using Port a Pots. I always needed to “go.” Much more than our son ever did when being potty trained. Being male, he didn’t always need more than a pit stop in a field, where he’d try to squirt bugs flying past. I didn’t suffer from faulty plumbing, but instead, as a diabetic, burning sugar, it made me need to pee pretty much every 100 miles, or one hour, whichever came first. That’s what happens when your blood glucose is out of control. Your body, working OT in the burning too much sugar department, forces you to expel some of that mess via urination.
Urinate. Piss. Pee. Wee. Tinkle. Whiz.
The entire time our son was in high school, then college, hubs and I traveled every weekend up and down I-95, Rt.81-83, I295 & the PA Turnpike. We went to every weekend lacrosse game from boarding school through his senior year in college. So I got to know, over 6 years’ time, which rest stops had the best toilettes. And, when we traveled abroad, my son would photograph me in front of every one I used!
It was a family joke.
I95 for us ran north over the Susquehanna to the New Jersey Turnpike. There are a plethora of semi clean, barely clean, dirty, and downright disgusting bathrooms in NJT reststops. I became really adept at peeing without sitting on the toilet seat. Even when I had a broken foot! I don’t know how a mother manages keeping her daughter germ free in any public restroom. In that respect, I’m so glad I didn’t have to look out for anyone but myself. Plus, I didn’t ever use the sinks to clean my hands. I always packed Wet Wipes.
However, in MA, when we’d scoot off I95 over to the Mass Turnpike, I was in rest stop heaven! No more McDonalds or Burger King, Nathan’s Hot Dogs, or Pizza. There, facilities workers were always cleaning those bathrooms, and deodorisers to help with the stench of the not so healthy or clean patrons, would be visible on sinks. Vendors would be Auntie Anne’s, Starbucks, and TCBY among about 6 other food vendors.
One summer I drove up to the Cape for a vacation. The Cape for me, was Hyannisport. I was alone in the car but for my son’s company. I decided to skip 6A and approach from a different route. Hyannisport, is a 10 hour trip barring traffic delays, construction (seemingly ongoing until the end of time), and accidents.
Around 5:30 am, we suddenly were very low on gas. So I pulled over to a Truck Stop. Before pumping, I went inside to relieve myself. I know it was 5:30 in the morning, but I doubted many female truckers would be out and about at that hour. So, no line to use the toilets surprised me. And, wow! Those bathrooms were amazing! There were no looming shadows in the parking lot, or gangsta’s to worry about. Inside, there were waitresses asking “Honey, do you want a sandwich?” or, “Doll, how ‘bout some coconut cream pie? Made fresh this morning.” My son, being tired and a teenager, wanted to eat, but I urged him on, as we had a 8 am ferry to make.
The NJ Turnpike was another experience altogether. Whether we stopped at the Betsy Pitcher, or the Francis Scott Key gas station and rest stop, there was always a line in the female toilets, no line for men, and another line to get gas. So I’d try and hold it until we got to the last rest stop just before driving on to Connecticut. One time we drove to Yale for fall ball with a 5 mo. Old puppy, and a 5 year old dog. The five year old was Navigator, while I sat in the back keeping the puppy happy. We stopped at the Vince Lombardi reststop and I ran in to pee, while hubs waited with the dogs. Now, all along the Turnpike there were Dog Areas where we let our dogs out to potty. But at this stop, there was no such thing. Instead, there was a propane tank under which sat about 100 stale dog turds. So while Hubs went in to do what I’d done, plus pick up a cup of Joe, I leashed our older dog, and carried the puppy to a small patch of grass near the propane tank. Duncan, the 5 year old, peed in short order. Angus, the pup, peed and pooped. I had doggie bags, but I was surrounded by stale turds. Why should I even bother picking up two one inch fresh turds? So, no, I didn’t collect Angus’ turd. And we all got back in the car, and made it as far as the exit ramp before a state trooper pulled us over.
Hubs was not pleased. The cop kept us waiting 45 minutes while he checked my license. And then he handed me a fill in the blanks piece of paper. No warrant, no ticket, no summons. A warning? I stuffed it in my purse, thinking I’d go online later when home again. That is another story altogether – I’ll have to press it another time. Suffice it to say that there was no website for the jurisdiction of the Ridges in NJ. Judges tried cases ranging from burglary to divorce on a volunteer basis.
As for my need to urinate every hour, at least, hubs wasn’t always obliging. He’d tell me to “hold it”. Now, when someone knows of your embarrassing plight, don’t mess with it. Embrace it! Understand that the person afflicted isn’t crying wolf. So what if you stop once an hour on a 10 hour trip. Rest is a good thing. Wagging your hand through the sunroof for me to hurry when I’m stuck behind 3 elderly women who want to take their time leaving Betsy Pitcher behind, isn’t going to help matters any.
Those, thank God, few times when I’ve been unable to “hold it”, ended up with me peeing, at midnight in one case, in front of the car (so I could see) with high beams on. And as I stood up, being confronted by two policemen asking me was my car broken? Did they watch everything from their squad car across the street, laughing about how they’d caught me with my pants down? This was in Connecticut, where apparently, its illegal to park in a McDonald’s parking lot after they’ve closed. Now I know and will never do that again. Or the time when I was 6 months pregnant, we headed to MV, with a 7 hour wait for standby on the ferry. That bathroom would have been semi nice but for the gypsy family camped out inside. One of their toddlers was crawling around on the floor and suddenly popped up in my stall. “Poopy?” she asked. I shook my head. She nodded hers, and squatted down to enter the next stall.
There were also years when I tried to refrain from drinking any liquids so I could squash the need to relieve myself. But it didn’t work. Though my tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth from dehydration, I seemed to need to pee twice as much!
It’s super hard to use the toilet on a moving bus. Bolt bus has changed my way of travel to New York, due to their great fees and cleanliness, but accolades go to Superior Bus for taking extra time in keeping a much used toilet clean, and making sure the door lock locks.
Now that my blood sugars are controlled, I no longer have a constant need to express myself. But when I leave my house, I always top off. And when I arrive anywhere that has public restrooms, I top off again. Better safe than wet, right?