I’m going to go ahead and give a fair warning that if you’re eating breakfast right now, you may want to read this later. I know you’ll thank me.
I’ve been writing this column for around three years and I think you know me well enough by now that I can talk with you about anything. I have a high threshold for embarrassment, but I don’t want anyone with a weak stomach to get all queasy on me.
Today’s article is about poop. If you are still reading, I’ll assume you are either a dedicated admirer or incredibly curious.
Working in the ER, I have been exposed to all forms of secretions that exit the human body and the odors that accompany them. I’m no lightweight. I can handle pretty much anything. I put on my “nurse face” (my nonjudgmental blank expression) and get down to business cleaning up any messes that my patients have had the misfortune of making. These people are sick. They can’t help it.
Even though I have seen a vast spectrum of disgusting discharges and think nothing of it, when it comes to my own body, I am horribly modest. I even use the secret bathroom at work when I have to do more than the basics. It makes my skin crawl to think of someone hearing or, even worse, smelling something I’ve been cooking up in the restroom.
Public bathrooms are my ultimate anxiety when it comes time to go number 2. I have always preferred my home throne; my toilet paper is better, I can take as long as I want, we have a fan, and if I don’t like the way things turned out, I can get in the shower.
My kids will go anywhere. I swear my daughter’s digestive system is stimulated in public. She has most recently defecated in the bathrooms of Walgreen’s, Walmart, Winn Dixie, and other establishments that don’t begin with a “W.” I’ll ask her if she’s okay. “Yeah, mom! I’m just pooping!” She’ll shout it out without a care in the world.
The worst experience I ever had with my phobia happened on a bus trip Chris and I took to Vermont for a family reunion. I was so excited to travel out of state, I did not consider the implications until we hit North Carolina.
The stomach pains began and I knew I had to go. There was no way I was fumigating the bus. I’d wait for a rest stop. We had a layover in Maryland and I gave myself a pep talk about getting over my issues. I was seriously going to damage my intestines if I didn’t use the bathroom.
I sat in the last stall listening to the women enter and exit the restroom. I decided it was time. That’s when the eye appeared in the space between the stall and the door. She was probably checking to see if someone was in the stall, but she ruined the moment. I couldn’t go.
By the time we got to Vermont, I was practically bursting. We met Chris’s relatives and all I could think about was using their toilet. It was the best and worst poop I have ever taken in my life.
I’m slightly better than I used to be, but not much. I won’t hurt myself by holding it that long anymore, but if I have a choice, home throne advantage is always preferable. And please, no peeking between those cracks. Look for feet under the door. Everyone knows that!