Do you have a building pass? The kind you have carry with you at all times. It either clips to your belt or hangs from your neck so everyone can see just how un-photogenic you are. Well, if you have one, don’t do what I did!
I have two passes; an uptown pass and a downtown pass. I keep both passes in separate plastic sleeves which are then attached to a retractable string that has a clip for waistbands. Sometimes I like to wear a dress and don’t want to use that little belt clippie thing. It can snag sweaters and catch on other fabrics. With slinkier materials, it can make the garment look lopsided. Clipping it to the hem of a dress means I’d have to pull my dress halfway up to get to the darn thing. I could try clipping it to the sleeve but, no, that wouldn’t work. I would constantly be trying to swat it away. So, on silky-dress-with-no-pocket-days, I just carry it around along with my phone. Problem solved.
One particular day, I had on pants with no pockets. I really hate clothes with no pockets but that’s a rant for another day. My top had a wide weave, almost sweater-like, making it the perfect top for snagging. With my inborn ability to mess up clothing especially if it’s new and snag-able, I decided I had better just hold onto my pass and phone. No biggie, I do it all the time.
I had just come from another part of the building carrying my pass, my phone, and a few papers. I needed to make a stop in the bathroom before going to my office. I put the phone and papers on the little shelf just over the rolls of toilet paper. The big unanswerable question is, “Why?” Why didn’t I put everything on the little shelf in the bathroom stall? That’s what the shelf is there for, right? Maybe there wasn’t enough room on the shelf? I don’t know and probably never will. In any case, for some inexplicable reason, I kept the two passes with the two danglin
g keys and the belt clip on my lap and not on the little shelf.
When I reached for the toilet paper, somehow the passes, keys, and belt clip fell – kerplop – into the toilet. Yes, where I had just peed!! Sure, I’ve changed pee-drenched diapers and cleaned the cats’ litter boxes, undoubtedly getting pee on my hands. But when it’s in a toilet, somehow it’s different. Somehow it’s gross.
Now, if I had been at home, I would have laughed, pulled up my pants and found a coat hanger to fish out the thing. But, nooo! As all thoughtful public bathrooms are today, this bathroom featured automatically flushing toilets. I sat there for a second realizing my predicament. If the toilet flushed, my pictures might disappear forever. That would require two new photos…from two different buildings…requiring two explanations as to what could have possibly happened to my old ones.
Are you beginning to see the problem? With one slight move the damn thing would…okay, well you know. I had to devise a plan.
So this was my strategy. I had to reach around behind me and hold my hand over the sensor, stand up, twist around and then, gulp, there was no other way but to stick my hand into the toilet and pull the stuff out. In that moment, I thought about the Eskimos. Didn’t they wash their clothes in urine? Or was my mother pulling my leg when she told me that story?
Ready or not, here I go. First, hand over sensor. Second, jump up and turn around while hand remains on sensor. Third, play Eskimo, grab the keys and passes and get out of there before the monster-toilet-flushing-machine gets hungry and chokes down my belongings. But there was a problem. But the moment I stood up, I realized I had left something out of my brilliant, tactical approach: how would I pull my pants up, a two-handed job, while one hand was busy holding a dripping wet pass?
So, I pulled up my pants as far as I could with only one hand, which was not quite far enough, and opened the stall door. Thankfully I was alone. From there I made a mad shuffling dash to the sink. My pants were sliding downward as I dismantled the plastic casing and threw everything into the sink. Everything was washed and scrubbed – twice. The keys, the plastic, and the little clippie-string-thing, and my hands were now sparkling clean and saved from the throat of the auto-flushing-beast. However, my pants were down to my knees, and I still had to get over to the paper towels.
Had there been any witnesses to this lunacy, they would have seen a middle-aged woman wearing heels and a short sweater that barely covered anything, and with pants and underpants at her knees. To stop the pants from falling further to the now very wet floor, I had my knees partially bent. Here I was, half-naked, partially squatting, grossed-out while furiously washing building passes, then hopping over to the towel dispenser. This must have been quite a sight! I wasn’t laughing when I left the bathroom. In fact I might have been whimpering a little.
I swear I smelled “toilet” every place I went that day. When I got home, I overdosed on hand sanitizer and perfume and told my story to my daughter. I have a feeling I’ll never hear the end of it.
As it turns out, about a month later I was talking to my daughter on the phone. And I did it again! This time, I was at home and it wasn’t my building passes that took a dive in the toilet. This time it was my phone!
Again, what are you supposed to do besides stick your hand in the used water and pull the thing out? Especially with a piece of electronics!
Of course, now I have learned. I’ve adjusted my behavior. The pass, the phone, the keys and whatever else I’m carrying around Do Not Under Any Circumstance come anywhere near a toilet. Never!!
Have I broken the rules since then? Well, ummmm….maybe, maybe not.