Public Bathroom Habits

     We all have some sort of quirk when we use a public bathroom; you may not even notice yours anymore. Some people line the seat with toilet paper, some people use a piece of toilet paper to flush so they don't have to touch the handle. Some people wash their hands excessively, use paper towel to open the door. These should be considered normal habits.

     I, however, am part of a different breed. We're few and far apart, but nearly everyone who has used a public bathroom has been affected by us in some way, at some time. I'm sure you know the feeling; that gas station bathroom that has just been completely wrecked, a vile mess. Something you would never imagine using except that you're going to piss your pants if you don't. You pull up your pant legs, maybe even close an eye. You plug your nose. We stop girls from sitting on the toilet, we make men go back outside to relieve themselves.

 To us it's an art. We can recognize each other's work -- when we walk in, we think to ourselves, "He's been here." And then we smile. We leave things how they are because everything has been done for a reason. That other person has left things exactly how they wanted, and I sure don't want to be the one to ruin it. I want to leave it there for others to enjoy.

 This is my artwork:

     Whenever I have to piss I go into a stall. It doesn't matter if a whole row of urinals is open and there's a ten minute line for a stall. I'll wait. After all, I'm not there to simply expell waste; I'm there to express myself. The first thing I'll do upon entering the stall is to remove the toilet paper roll and throw it into the toilet bowl. If the paper is locked then I'll unravel it all and put it in. I won't actually use the toilet, and obviously I'll never flush. My urine is saved for the walls and floor. My goal is always to make a circular shape starting at the front base of the toilet, moving clockwise up the wall, over the toilet, down the wall on the other side, and back around front on the floor. I always stop back where I started. If I still have to piss I hold it. I've never ran out. I choose stalls because it holds the smell in. I want the particiapant's nose to get the full experience of the ammonia burning their olfactory system. I'll spit on, in particular order, the flush handle, the toilet paper roll in the toilet, and, after opening it to get out, the door handle. I close the door behind me to preserve the smell.

     I prefer sinks with manual faucets so I can leave them running. If I have the time, I'll write over the sensor of automatic sinks with a black sharpie so they stop working.

    I'll empty as much soap onto the floor or counter as I can in a short period of time. I never actually wash my hands. I spit on the mirror. If I can get the paper towel roll out, or if it's just a stack I'll put it into the running sink. If it's locked I take as much as I can and do the same. I save one piece and cover it with soap to smear on the door handle on my way out. I usually just drop the paper onto the floor outside the door, but sometimes special occasions like restaurants require more careful placement onto a table. I try to make it look like it belongs. I'll fold it neatly and place it on top of a napkin or delicately twist it into wine glass.

     Everything is for a reason.

     Obviously there is only so much you can do with urine. The real masterpieces, the elegant orchestras of smell, sight and touch can only be achieved with solid matter.

     Like I said, I always use stalls. It holds in the smell. Once I'm in I begin to undress. I prefer to deal with this type of artwork completely naked. I feel it gives me more freedom. If there's a hook I'll hang my clothes, otherwise I'll hang them over the door. I don't care how busy the bathroom is. I want people to know I mean serious business. You're a lot less likely to be interrupted when people know you're naked. I have no shame; I'm proud of my work: I want to share the thrill of creating it with everyone.

     I wear white brief underwear, and I always make sure to shit a little bit into them before starting my concerto. I'll dig up into my asshole with them to make sure they're marked well -- this is my calling card. The stained underwear are placed onto the tank of the toilet. If there isn't a tank, I'll hang them over the pipes, brown side up. I step my bare feet up onto the seat of the toilet and grasp the top of the walls to the stall for balance. I always shit standing up; it makes the most splash. I face the wall that the toilet is on. I don't want my concentration to be broken by seeing what other people are doing. It's almost impossible to get everything in from three feet up so I don't even bother trying. A lot of it runs down my legs, some ends up on the floor. It always seems like the bulk of it ends up on the toilet seat. I tend to grunt while I'm doing this. I eat a lot of junk food and it makes my bowel movements hard to push out. I avoid foods high in fiber because it throws off my rhythm.

     Once I'm done I'll step down from my podium and, if I can, take out the roll of toilet paper and wipe my ass and legs and feet with it. If I can't get it out I simply unroll it all. I always make sure to smear some of my waste on all four walls of the stall, onto the flush handle, and, once I've put on my pants and opened the door, I smear some onto that handle as well. I only put on my pants when I leave. My chest is usually sweating and I don't want to get pit stains on my nice shirts. I'll take about half of the paper towel from the dispensor and wet it with water from the sink. After I wipe my entire chest and back down with it, I dry myself off with the other half. I place the spent paper towel into the sink and, if I can, leave it running. I'll spit onto the mirror and put my socks and shoes and shirt back on. I'll empty as much of the soap as I can, but again, I never wash my hands. On my way out I kick over the garbage (I only do this when I shit). If there is any excrement left on my hands, I'll make swirly patterns with it on the walls on my way out. If there's a light switch I turn off the lights, otherwise I do my best to remove the bulbs I can reach.

     And then I leave, and I never go back. I never check up on my work, and I never use the same bathroom twice. Each time it ends up a little different, but still, others will recognize my work.

     We all have our public restroom quirks, and some of us don't even notice ours anymore.

Uploaded 12/03/2008
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