Tonight, while out shopping here and there with my son, I stopped to use the ladies’ room in the farthest most corner of TJ Maxx. The first door revealed a toilet still draped in ribbons of toilet paper, some not looking all that clean. Why do people leave those kinds of messes behind? If they feel they have to wrap the toilet seat, don’t they think they should clear it away for the next person?
The next stall looked okay, and I sat down, did my thing, flushed the toilet and proceeded to the sink to wash my hands like every good American does. Now I don’t have any peculiar notions about my own poop– like everyone else’s, it stinks. (Which is why it’s particularly nice when there’s a can of air freshener handy to take the edge off. But there wasn’t in this instance.)
As I was washing my hands, the door opened and two black women about 40 walked in. They both sported $25 weaves and velour sweatsuits, one pink, one brown. They looked like matching velour sausages.
“Woooo-eeee!” the first one said. ‘It done smells like somebody died in here!”
“Lawdy, Lawdy, mmm-hmmm, that is bad,” the other responded. “I jes’ don know when I lass smelled something’ like that. Oh, Lawd.”
I finished drying my hands and left without comment, though I felt embarrassed, shamed and just a tad furious.
Nobody comments about the smell in a public restroom, especially when the person who created that smell is standing right there. Occasionally, you might hear a small child say something, but they are instantly shushed by the adult accompanying them. It simply isn’t done.
This would be like two guys standing at a urinal and one looks over and says “Gee, mate, haven’t got much there, have you? You can keep the wife happy with that?” I understand in some circumstances guys look, but I bet they sure as hell never comment.
It’s not even manners, it’s part of our social compact. Everybody’s shit stinks, so let’s just deal with it and get out of the restroom. And we’re not the only ones with such niceties. In Tokyo, a department store had a huge water bill. After a little detective work, the problem was found to stem from the practice of Japanese ladies constantly flushing the toilets to mask the sounds of excretion. Some genius there came up with an idea of mounting a button inside each stall, which produced the sound of a flushing toilet when pressed.
I told my long-suffering son about the incident in the restroom, and he sighed and said “That’s the problem with ghetto.” “Ghetto” doesn’t refer to your zip code or even the color of your skin. It’s a culture that exists outside the social norms, a kind of loud mouthed, hateful, mocking sense of entitlement. You’d think those kinds of people would get knocked down often enough to learn, but I guess they don’t. I guess their shit must smell like roses.
Today’s target number is 58. Steps taken 5216. This was my third day without sugar. Breakfast was an egg and beef burrito, with two ounces of orange juice. For lunch I had a banana and three tiny tea sandwiches cucumber and whipped cream cheese. Dinner was half a chicken quesadilla, and six little sweet peppers.