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Suburban Island

Lady’s Room Exposure
Sunday, Jul. 25, 2004, 2:01 p.m.

QUESTION: Who's there?

WHAT I LEARNED: Walls aren't always as solid as they seem.

Even the most innocuous activities can take a sudden startling turn. For instance, while traveling to Chicago last week, I had a pressing need to hit the lady’s room before heading to the baggage pickup area. Sitting down in the stall, I breathed a sigh of relief – too much liquid and long waits makes me a peeing machine.

My relief soon turned to panic as I notice two tennis shoes pointed towards me on the other side of the stall and a strange poking movement occurring on the other side of the tissue paper seat cover dispenser. Soon the box holding the diaphanous seat covers began to rustle and move with more vigor – I began to hold onto the box from my side as it began to be clear to me that someone was trying to pull the entire box out of the tissue paper dispenser. The result of such tissue box removal would be the appearance of a big gaping hole in the side of the stall where the tissue box now resided. The actions of this unknown seat cover box rearranger was threatening to expose me to a world of luggage totting passersby, as I sat minding my own business in a stall in an airport washroom – giving a whole new meaning to getting a little exposure.

The person on the other side was getting annoyed at me for holding the box – I was holding it real tight. It’s hard to finish using the porcelain convenience while holding a big box of tissue paper seat covers in place. The only thing that kept me going was focusing on how huge a window the space where that box sat would provide the world at large into the details of my bathroom break.

I won the battle in the end – the box stayed in place – barely. I left the airport restroom with an empty bladder but also with a worried mind. I would never feel the same level of confidence in the privacy of public bathroom stalls again. From now on vigilance will be my watchword.

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