Wednesday, July 27, 2005


4:58 a.m.
An Essay by, Polly PI

I finished up my casework for the day yesterday and was heading home. I was really in need of a bathroom, however, and so I stopped at a gas station before I hit the interstate.

This area is definitely a 10 on the Scary Neighborhood Scale (SNS). It's late in the afternoon and there seem to be a lot of people hanging around. I park and lock up the truck. As I walk toward the gas station entrance I notice there is a black man, 6'2", 35 years, 175 lbs sitting on the curb by the door. He is watching me intently and smiling. There is a huge gap where his bottom two front teeth used to be. Just your friendly neighborhood Crazy Guy. Hi, Crazy Guy!

I pass Crazy Guy and give him a cursory smile and nod. He stands up, steps in front of me, and says, "Oh, no, no, no! You can't be touchin' that door handle. It's not clean! A beautiful, pure thing like you shouldn't be touching anything that ain't clean."

He pulls the door open for me and gestures for me to go inside. Yikes. I cross the threshold and thank him. Inside I look for the bathroom. Sigh. Of course. It's one of those places where they hand you a key and send you outside to the back of the building. I wait in line for five or six minutes, glancing outside occasionally to see if Crazy Guy is still there. Yep. He waves at me through the glass door.

I consider my options. I can forgo the bathroom and just leave. But that won't solve the Crazy Guy problem. I can walk out and pretend he's not there, but I'm pretty sure that won't work either because Crazy Guy doesn't seem like the type to take a hint. In the end, I get the key, which is attached with a wire to the end of a fly swatter, and head out the gas station door. I open it and Crazy Guy tells me that I shouldn't have done that...that I'm too perfect and pure and so he would open doors for me from now on. He sees that I have the bathroom key and says he'll escort me to the ladies room. He puts his hand on the small of my back and guides me around the building.

Again, I'm weighing my options. I can tell Crazy Guy to get his hands off of me, but then he might get mad and I'm not sure I want to find out what Crazy Guy is like when he's mad. Meanwhile, he is telling me how God told him I would come today. He says "Praise Jesus!" a lot. "Amen!" I say back. He seems to like that and I get the vague impression that maybe I shouldn't be encouraging him.

We get to the bathroom and Crazy Guy takes the fly swatter/key from me. Damn! I was going to beat him to death with that if I needed a weapon! He stands behind me and reaches around to open the door. For the first time I feel a slight nudge of fear. He is pressed up against my back and I am thinking seriously about stomping on his foot, elbowing him in the chest, and running when he pulls the door open and backs away. "There you are. For the beautiful princess."

I take the key from him and stand at the threshold of the bathroom, which, I note with resignation, has just as much fecal matter smeared on the walls and sink as it does in the broken toilet. I hesitate for just as second. Hmmm.... Crazy Guy or disgusting filth. I step in and the door slams shut behind me.

And there is no light.

I stand there in the dark and assess my situation for yet a third time. Well, Polly, let's see... It's dark. It smells. You probably shouldn't touch anything or you will smell, too. You have to pee. There's a crazy man outside waiting for you. I hear flies buzzing around and note that at least I have a fly swatter. I smile to myself. If I live, this could be kind of funny.

There is a thin line of daylight filtering through the bottom of the door and my eyes finally start to adjust. I make my way to the commode and execute an act of sheer grace and beauty using the bathroom without touching anything. I debate washing my hands but decide against it when I notice feces smeared on the sink handles.

I take a deep breath. Time to go. I walk back out into the sunlight and find my not-so-secret admirer waiting for me. I return the key and walk toward my car while Crazy Guy asks me if I am married. I bury my left hand in my pocket. "Yes. Very happily and I have lots of kids." He shakes his head sadly, but then recovers quickly and asks me out on a date. I remind him that we just discussed how married I am. His face falls.

I am at my truck and open the door. Crazy Guy grabs my hand. He kisses it. "Until tomorrow then, my sweet." I get in the truck and drive away. I look in the rear view mirror and see Crazy Guy smiling and waving at me.

You know, I don't care what you people say...there is something to be said for ice cream buckets.


Tamara said...

I wonder if you need to work on your "I'm a bitch"-glare. Similar to the "You are boring the hell outta me"-glare. Couple it with the Innocent-Eyed "I don't understand English" and ya can't miss! ;)

Glad you're safe. Eesh.

Brat said...

ROFLMAO - excellent Polly, just excellent.

Yesterday you said "Just one of the many reasons I'm glad I'm a girl, Larry.."

Using filthy public restrooms is one of the reasons I'm glad I'm a guy. We don't have to do a graceful balancing act to deal with emergency situations. It can be taken care of from a distance.

That, and the fact that the line is always faster for guys at places like sporting events and concerts.

Stephen Blackmoore said...

But just think of the many colorful people you would never meet, how dull your job would be.

"Day 6. Peed in cup. Hot day. Stinky car. Scared away skunk on interstate."

The excitement? Not so much.

jane said...

i wish i'd though of bringing an ice cream bucket.... remember my ripping-jaw-bones-out-of-dead-deer job? it was in this small metal shack next door to a hunting/convenience store on the edge of the osceola nat'l forest in the middle of fucking nowhere. i was there 10 hrs a day, and you simply cannot make it 10 hrs w/o peeing. especially when all you're doing all day is sitting in an unairconditioned shack drinking water and trying to avoid drunken, crazy hunters (and failing). anyhow, the only available bathroom was attached to said hunting/convenience store and it sounds very much like the one you just described. i had to use it every day for four months.....

John D. said...

Ice cream bucket, eh? I've always found empty milk cartons to be the best thing since porcelain. Just don't confuse your "used" beverage container with your new one. I guess for the gals, an ice cream bucket would work better. Like they say, necessity is the mother of invention.

JD Rhoades said...

Using filthy public restrooms is one of the reasons I'm glad I'm a guy. We don't have to do a graceful balancing act to deal with emergency situations. It can be taken care of from a distance.

Not only that, it's a lot easier for us to pee outdoors.

-Nature Boy

tamara said...

It's lookin' like you're the first blog everyone checks in the morning, Pol!

But will it bode well for your job as a PI when the paparazzi starts following you everywhere? *ponders*

You know, you're going to need a PR agent. I think I am kwalifyed four this poseition beekaws I am grate at spelling things and all you're press realeases are shur to be flawlless! I also reallee like the idia of gnowing somewon faymous! I am a high school gradiate--availeble immediatelly!

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Damn, Crazy Guy stole my sure-fire technique for picking up girls. Guess I'll have to revert back to "What's your sign?" Drat and drat again!

lucylocket said...

I am going to save your essay. My family just doesn't understand why I refuse to use public restrooms. This will help explain it to them.
I once drove from Greenville, SC to Hartford, Ct. (16 hours) without using a public bathroom.
My eyeballs were floating when I finally got home.

Brat said...

Nature Boy - Not only that, it's a lot easier for us to pee outdoors.

True, but you gotta be relatively careful about picking your spot to "go".

Once a cousin and I had been to a ballgame, and the beer recycling syndrom was really starting to kick in. We pulled off to a small side road and found a bush. It might as well have been PollyPI's survelance bush. As soon as the zippers went down, a flashlight came on from a parked, un-marked police car. This lovely female voice said "Stop right there boys. If you whip it out, we'll have to run you in". We looked at each other, weighing the relief versus the consequences, and the zippers went back up.

We managed to make it to the next service station. Just barely.

Larry said...

Just one of the reasons I'm happy I'm a boy Polly :)

SWEEET MOTHER OF GOD!!! You are a far braver person than I am. And did you stop to wonder where that feces came from?? Perhaps Mr. Gracious insanity was responsible??

You seriously need a taser!

Higgy said...

SOOOOOO glad I don't have to encounter these bathrooms! Brat - to your story, I have another one. Me and my two buddies were staggering home from the bars when Mother Nature called. We duck into a parking lot and pick our a car each. I happen to have the vantage point AS the cop car pulls in. I yell "COP", tuck Mr Winky away and flee - my one friend puts Mr Winky away mid-stream (thus wetting a good portion of his pants in the process) and flees - and my second friend continues peeing unabashed. The cops at least waited until he was done before busting him...

Between the $25 ticket and the wet pants - I'm not sure which one I'd rather have....

Olga said...

I'm thankful you are okay, Polly!

I think if I were a guy, the temptation to pee outside while standing up (an experience I can barely imagine) would be way too strong.
But then I think of my alcoholic brother-in-law who was arrested while peeing outside a bar. (Apparently he was too drunk to find the men's room.) He spent a night in jail and was slapped with a hefty $350 fine.
Hmmm...maybe peeing outside while standing up isn't as cool as it sounds. No, I think I'll stay glad I'm a girl.

Polly P.I. said...

LOL!! You people are hilarious! I love your icky toilet stories.

thor said...

once again, i'm entertained by your're a lucky gal with that sketchy situation. which is further evidence of a friend's theory: tons of people have great stories of dangerous situations, but the only reason we hear about some of them is because the storyteller didn't die!

mr. thor said...

Thor: :)

Eleanor said...

Polly - IMO you were doing great until you said AMEN, as you suspected at the time! We (and you) are glad you're here to write about this!

Polly P.I. said...

You know, I really should have been afraid.

I think my "scared" is broken.

B-Dubbs said...

Your "scared" may be broken, but your "funny" is operating at full capacity!! A few stories from a backpacking trip come to mind with all this talk about bodily functions outside. I'll spare you most of the details but leave you with a bit to think about... a blizzard in the mountains... sleet, hail and snow... having to pee really bad... no ice cream bucket or pop bottle... open field... freezing temps. NOT GOOD. At least there were no Crazy Guys.. at least not that I know of...

punky brewster said...

Um ... ok ... in 200 words or less, someone kindly explain to me how one manages to get fecal matter everywhere but in the toilet and WHY this only happens in gas station bathrooms. I need answers.


Polly ... in all seriousness ... if you ever find yourself in that situation again ... do not allow a man of that size and mental condition to escort you anywhere. Walk back into the store and let them know you are uncomfortable and ask them to call the police OR better yet, hop back into your car ... pull over a mile down the road and pee next to your car. Or for goodness sake, keep some spare ice cream buckets in the back of your car.

Deontologist said...

Polly, hope you have a delightful evening.

Brat said...

Punky - much less than 200 words, lots of fill in the blanks, but here goes

Drugs ________________________________________________________

Booze _________________________________________________________

Anger _________________________________________________________

Stupidity _____________________________________________________

And Polly, listen to punky about giving situations like this a pass. There was nothing wrong with Crazy Guys's eyes, but I think brain cell #1 wasn't talking very well to brain cell #2. Maybe a product of modern chemistry? It turned out to be a funny, heart pounding "essay", and we're all glad you were able to be here to write it.

I'm reminded of a self-defense course I took some years ago. The instructor (7th degree black belt) asked us what the best defense was. Replies mostly made some reference to weaponns. The instructor's response was use your eyes, think or RUN AWAY. Next time, see how much rubber you can burn in the PollyPI-Mobile.

Marvin | Paranoid Android said...

there is something to be said for ice cream buckets.

especially those with ice cream in them

jane said...

I think my "scared" is broken.

Heh heh. I've said the very same myself numerous times. Possibly today, even.

Marie said...

I'm the last poster as usual... darn. But I agree with the people who said that next time something like this happens, just RUN AWAY. We don't want you dead before you get to be a world-famous writer, now, do we?

Jeff Meyerson said...

Brat, nice cop story. Reminds me of Ben Stiller in There's Something About Mary.

Worse stories? b-dubbs' story reminded me of a relative whose butt froze to the bumper (metal in those days) of her car while trying to go on a freezing day. Apparently, she lost a layer of skin in getting up. Ouch!

kibby F5 said...

I'm sure Crazy Guy didn't have all the spark plugs firing in the right order.

And I'm sure Polly has a good grasp of self defense. Step on the arch of the foot - elbow jab into the stomach - RUN!