Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Stand not amaz'd

I awake in a bundle; the pain of last night's fajitas acutely present in my distended belly. I drink my coffee, dull and acidic. On the drive to work everything looks yellow and swirling; I sip some water. I make it to work and muster enough consciencesness to open my car door and emerge - I've got zombie eyes and I can't recall if I brushed my hair this morning.

I put my things in my office and walk out. I stand looking across the hall at the public restroom. It's as if I'm looking through binoculars backwards - the door to the restroom telescopes out like in the movies. I dread what's inside - a three-stalled multi-urinal petre dish of hideousness. But to me, at this moment, it's goddamned Shangri La.

I open the door and the record of some horrific event undulates on the stale air. I take inventory to evaluate cleanliness before I make my selection and in the third stall, the oversized for special needs penthouse of a WC, that I witness man's inhumanity to man left there for me to find like some unholy Easter egg found by chance three months into summer. I flush, but time had cemented what this bastard had lamented. Didn't really matter since there was no postage stamp-sized area left unmolested by this damnation.

I want to leave. Take my business elsewhere, but those are the choices a blessed man gets to make, and I am cursed.

I choose the stall farthest from the filthy holocaust. I lay a foundation of paper over the seat until I am satisfied that I won't come into physical contact with the plastic urine absorber - seriously, nobody ever lifts these things. I settle in and count the soft shades of white on the fake gray marble door as I pull up the collar of my shirt to mask the monstrous environment like the unsuspecting soul who opens a door and uncovers a mass suicide a fortnight past.

While I was contemplating what would be a fair jail sentence for whoever violated the handicapped stall and thinking what a good idea it would be to have a shelf with a jar of that white stuff Jodi Foster used before examining the corpse in Silence of the Lambs at the bathroom door, I heard footsteps.

I can only imagine the poor guy's reaction at the killing fields in stall #3. Of course, the man chose the stall next to mine and I found myself in the uncomfortable position of being one of two human beings separated by a half-inch particle board divider at our most shameful. He had brown loafers on.

I tidied up and washed vigorously, dried my hands and left. I checked my mailbox and stopped at the drinking fountain. When I was walking back to my office I noticed a familiar face. A custodian and her yellow rolling menagerie of cleaning tools knocking on the bathroom door. She gave me a good morning smile and I returned, knowing full well the Hell that awaited her. I mumbled something in Latin and unlocked my office door. A simple prayer, may God protect you in the dark places you must go for I cannot.