There are a million things I’d rather do than having to use the restroom at work. Let me be specific. Pooping at work. I hate it. There is not enough privacy during this intimate moment so I try to hold it, fighting off the urge by singing the ABC’s in my head. It never works, it just gets worse. Shifting in my non-ergonomic work chair, taking deep breaths, trying anything to get my attention elsewhere, nothing is working. In my final moments, hoping for a miracle now, I find myself speed-waddling like a penguin through the hallway, ready to knock down anyone who gets in my way. I’m allocated one key for the restroom, one that looks identical to two others on my chain and I’m losing it.
Somehow, my body knows its own limits. That, or God is very forgiving. I’ve had close calls, fumbling with the toilet seat covers, removing two by accident, trying to stuff the extra one back, running out of precious time. I’m angry at the person who designed the toilet seat cover holder. Can’t someone design a better retrieval method for protection?! I don’t have time for this. I unfold my sheet of sanitary peace of mind; a crinkly noise signaling the beginning of the end relaxes me, which I do not need to feel relaxed; not now. My chances of tearing my first cover are about 50/50 and I never feel lucky. The final act is balancing the paper, assuring no wet marks from a prior man’s filth, and sitting fast enough before it falls in and I lose everything.
Ahhhh. I made it. Annnnnnd someone walks in. Damn it. Guess I’ll be the noisy one today.
This brings me to what I really want to talk about. I was sitting there, minding my business, when the thought dawned on me and I felt like an ass: I used the only stall available for handicapped persons. There was another stall I could have used. This bugged me. I’m not the type that’ll park in a disabled space, not even for a quick moment because I’ll just be a minute. Fortunately, the man (I hope) that walked in after, unloading last night’s mashed potatoes and corn with trumpeting sounds of confidence, wasn’t in a wheelchair. But what if he was? What if he was just like me, waiting until the last moment with sweat dripping down his face, rolling to the only door he could use and found it locked? I’m definitely an ass.
Today, when I went through my rigmarole once again, I chose the smaller stall instead. I’ve been doing that for months now, purposely not using the handicap stall if another one is available. Same problems, same procedures, except this time I ripped my seat cover. I had to use the one I tried to crumble up and put back. I was serious when I said 50/50. It happens every other time.
A couple guys walked in and out to use the urinals. They have power over how much noise I’ll be making and they don’t even know it. Right when I thought it was safe to let go, I heard the restroom door swing open with a slight bang of metal against wood. It wasn’t the smoothness of a wheelchair sliding against a closing door though; it was the clang of a crutch. The pegs passed under the space of my door, heading towards the handicap stall. Inside, I was like, “Do it. Please use the handicap stall.” He did, and I felt good. After a few minutes and a flush, I felt like a Secret Santa. I smiled.
I watched the pegs of his crutches go back the way they came, hobbling towards the sink. Unfortunately, they didn’t stop at the sink. He banged his crutch again while opening the door and walked out with his poop hands. Instinctively, I felt robbed. He almost stole the good I was leaving behind but I told myself no – not going to let him do that. The inconsideration of others shouldn’t determine how I’m going to act or the type of person I’m practicing to be. I’ll go ahead and let him be. Before the door closed, I almost yelled out – YOU’RE WELCOME! – but I didn’t. I sat in my solemnness, finishing my business with the necessary silence I needed. I washed my hands, used a wet paper towel to wipe down the handle and left the restroom.
There is something inside of me that truly enjoys doing things for others. It’s not always about money, food, or shelter. It’s not about the accolades or the recognition. Coinciding with my creativity, it’s an animal I should feed more often and stop starving it in selfishness. I’d like to think I could dive deeper and uncover other unconscious habits; a little here, a little there; one small stall at a time. There is something about giving, especially when I have nothing, that makes me feel like I have everything. Whether it be continuing to write my life experiences, or developing the best custody app known to mankind, I’ll continue to give where I can. It’s free to me, organically grown from within. It’s from a space that no one else can reach and I’m the only one that can water it. If I want change or a better world, it starts with me.
I walked down the hallway back towards my office. I tried thinking of new ways I could be more considerate but I was having brain farts. Creativity comes in spurts and sometimes when I least expect it. If I try forcing it, I’ll shart. I switched gears and refocused my thoughts. All that dwelt inside of me was a sincere hope that the man on crutches gives himself pink eye today.
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