Better Safe Than Sorry

I remember my first ever day of school with amazing clarity.  I wore a yellow jumper and white patent leather go-go boots.  Really.  It was, after all, 1967.  My mother walked me the quarter of a mile up “the hill” to my elementary school.  I’m certain she gave me all sorts of sage advice along the way, but I was much too distracted to pay attention to her.  I was preoccupied, you see, with admiring my patent leather boots and silently singing the chorus of that Nancy Sinatra song over and over in my head.  “These boots are made for walking. That’s just what they’ll do.  One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you.”

When we arrived at school, my mother kissed me good-bye and for good measure added, “…and if you have to use the bathroom, whatever you do, do not sit on the toilet seat.”  Now, I may not have heard much of what my mother told me about school up to that point, but those words of caution…DO NOT SIT ON THE TOILET SEAT…rang loud and clear.  In fact, nearly 45 years later, I cannot bring myself to sit on the toilet in a public restroom because I am paralyzed by that piercingly, shrill warning.  Only heaven knows what my mother thought I was going to contract from a toilet seat frequented by a bunch of kindergarteners, but I’ll tell you something.  That day when I crossed the threshold of D.H. Ferrara Elementary School was not only the beginning of my academic career, it was also the beginning of a lifetime of striking contortions aimed at avoiding contact with toilet seats in public restrooms.  I call it hovering and I’ve been doing it all my life.  It’s a habit born of fear and I can’t help but wonder.  Am I alone or do other females hover, like helicopters closing in on helipads, over public toilet seats?  I live in mortal fear of the bacteria on public toilets.  I don’t know why, but I do.  I suppose my mother instigated it all those years ago and perhaps it is irrational.  Still, I think I’ll hover.  Better safe than sorry.  That’s what I say.

So maybe you can’t catch anything from a toilet seat, but just the same I don’t like public toilets and I especially don’t like those automatic self-flushing kind.  If you’re a “sitter” those automatic self-flushing toilets work just fine, but if you hover…good grief, don’t even get me started.  Imagine you’re at the shopping mall when, already having made several purchases, you no longer can ignore the call of your bladder.  You find the nearest Ladies Room and enter, of all things, a stall with neither lock nor hook on the door, which means you are forced simultaneously to hold the door shut and juggle several bags plus your purse (because everyone knows the only thing nastier than a toilet in a public restroom is the floor beneath it) while precariously hovering over the toilet.  Your legs begin to shake since you’re unable to use your arms for proper balance and you involuntarily vacillate between the demi-hover and grande-hover positions.  This activates the motion sensor behind you inducing a premature auto flush, the noise of which is rather startling and as such, causes you to stand up sharply.  The extension of your hips, associated with the shift from hovering to erect posture, in turn forces your cell phone up and out of the front pocket of your blue jeans and into the toilet. Fortunately it’s a fresh bowl since all of this has transpired due to a premature auto flush in the first place.  Still, no one wants a cell phone that has dropped into the toilet, fresh bowl or not.  I’m not saying this has happened to me, but it could.  Anyway, that’s why I don’t like automatic self-flushing toilets.  They’re unpredictable.  Don’t you wonder who invented automatic self-flushing toilets?   You know it had to be a man because A) men do not hover, and B) men are always looking for a viable excuse not to wash their hands.  Allow me to illustrate.

Mother (shouts to her son upon hearing him exit the bathroom):  Did you flush and wash your hands?

Son:  I didn’t touch anything.  (I rest my case.)

I remember my first ever day of school with amazing clarity.  I wore a yellow jumper and white patent leather go-go boots, and I got some of the best advice my mother ever gave me.  Yeah, yeah, yeah.  So maybe you can’t catch anything from a public toilet, but just the same I think I’ll hover.  Better safe than sorry.

Till tomorrow…  Good night.  Sleep tight.


6 thoughts on “Better Safe Than Sorry

  1. I still laugh when I use an auto-flush potty. My 6’4″ 16 year old was deathly afraid of them when he was 3! Way to build those muscles. It’s good practice for when you travel abroad and bathrooms can merely be holes in the ground!

  2. And i thought you were going to tell the story about how you ran away from school in kindergarten. Didn’t you jump out the window?

  3. You forgot one important thing. Mrs Welles locked all the doors so the children could not get out of the classroom……She did not realize she had a genius in her class…..You jumped out of the window, ran up the hill and proceeded to come home. Needless to say ,I got a phone call immediately saying, Mrs D =Antoinette has climbed out of the window and we believe she is on her way home. I ran out the door as fast as I could and returned you to school……They now close the windows as well as the doors. Love, Mom

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