Bathroom Observations from the Road

Today I drove from Chicagoland to home in Iowa. It’s more than 200 miles of driving, giving me plenty of time to ponder. And the need to stop a couple of times. Here are a few of the things I thought about:

• It’s good to have a full gas tank and an empty bladder.
• Universal Technical Institute’s website is They should have thought about that before naming the school. It just sounds uncomfortable.
• Gas station bathrooms, in general, are much better than they used to be. Entering through the store instead of a side door is one improvement. The fact that women often work there and expect regular bathroom cleaning is a help, too.
• Porta-potties, too, are nowhere near as gross as they used to be. But they’re still gross.
• One of the creepiest bathrooms I’ve been in was in a donut shop in Ponca City, OK. I had to cross a dark room with a conduit pipe bracketed to the floor, find the doorway to the bathroom, reach into the increasing blackness to fumble for the light switch. And once the light was on, I kinda wished it wasn’t.
• I don’t understand talking on the phone while in the bathroom. I really don’t understand talking on the phone while in a public bathroom. My level of bafflement hit “10” on Thursday when I realized we were all on speakerphone. Call me shy…
• How does a woman get pee on the seat? If she is sitting, her thighs are covering the seat, and in general the stream of pee would go down, not somehow spray between her legs and the seat. So is she standing to pee? Soooooo awkward…
• Why do public toilets have seats that aren’t bolted down snugly? They shift unexpectedly at inconvenient times. And how about that hotel bathroom from a couple of weeks ago? It wasn’t bolted down at all. The woman at the front desk said it was so the cleaning staff can clean more easily. huh…
• Overheard in a Yellowstone public bathroom: an older woman muttering to herself, “I’m glad you’re dead. You always were a bitch.”
• Is there any particular reason some people don’t flush in public bathrooms?
• And the reason for not washing is…?
• Who thinks it’s a good idea to put paper towel holders above shoulder height? Tall men? When I reach for the towel, water runs up my arms.

It’s good to be home.


9 thoughts on “Bathroom Observations from the Road

  1. Teri Lucas Terificreations

    Melanie this is, without a doubt, the best stream of consciousness post ever. I often wonder why there is pee on the seat. It’s why I’ve learned how to uhm. And just to make that all the more challenging, I’m 5′ tall. Then I take some tissue and clean up, whilst gagging. One of the supermarkets here on the east coast has a little spray sanitizer for use on the seat, this is my go to place when I’m anywhere near them. The phone thing, seriously?! I don’t want to hear the conversation in the first place, that said it would be a good time to learn how to pass gas with gusto then sigh loudly, with great relief. There is one gas station in MA that I stop because it’s the cheapest gas from here to there. In the women’s there was a family of 4 and I had to pee. I waited for a few minutes, with a bladder full. I waited. One kid left, the next kid left and I’m standing there, crossing my legs, which does not help. I couldn’t wait any longer so I ducked into the men’s room. Just as some guy walks in the door as kid #3 walks out. Guy says loudly, “did some lady go into the men’s room?” Yes I did and I don’t regret it. At.All.
    Happy quilting!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Sounds like you have your own “stream” post ready to write! I love the idea of passing gas loudly to be sure to be heard on someone else’s phone. And yes, I’m not shy about using the men’s room these days. Though I’ve done it by accident (before having glasses but after needing them…) I also do on purpose. At the Chicago IQF Friday morning I thought “Hey! there can’t be many men in THERE!” But I used my gender-assigned room anyway.

  2. jimfetig

    My number one wish after spending a month ridge running in Georgia was that women would learn how to pee in the woods. After reading this I realize they’ve got a lot to learn before they even leave town. Thanks for a great smile.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I’ve gotten quite good at peeing in the woods. I expect, though, there are rules I don’t know about that. I DO know the rules for peeing in public bathrooms. Wish everyone did. 🙂


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