For some, using an unfamiliar restroom is an undesirable circumstance no matter the case. I’ve never been one of these people. I’ll pee anywhere, I’ll shit anywhere, I’ll brush my teeth in any sink — but my whole unencumbered state of existence was completely undone when I went into a fancy restaurant bathroom, ran my hands under the sink, then pumped what turned out to be a heaping glob of lotion into my palm.
The abject horror and repulsion were nearly too destabilizing for me to now recount.
Never in my life have I felt like such a pervert and a failure as when I unwittingly put thick and creamy lotion onto my dirty, soaking wet hands.
But I haven’t been completely transparent. No, I didn’t notice my fatal error off the bat. I rubbed it in. I rubbed that greasy skin protectant all over my drenched bathroom fingers. I probably sealed in germs that will be there until the day they finally kill me.
It’s going to take years for me to recover from this. And even more for all that lotion to fully be absorbed.
Of course, most people in my position would have caused a scene, but that’s not my style. I took it in stride and I did what I had to. First, I used my elbows to phone the restaurant and let them know that putting lotion right next to the soap without clearly differentiated labels is legally ambiguous and morally nauseating. Next, I called my date to give him the heads up that it would be a while and he should probably order his appetizer and entrée then eat them without me (we had just arrived when I went to use the wash closet).
In their own way, no one is a stranger to suffering. Some have lost loved ones; others have done that thing where you accidentally put conditioner in your hand before shampoo and it’s like fuck well I’m gonna need this conditioner in a minute but where do I put it while it while I shampoo? These aren’t obstacles with solutions. You grow with and through them. And so did I persevere through this nightmare by rinsing the lotion off my hands with water, then using soap, but the trauma of the experience was already stored so deep in my body I’m likely to pass it on if I ever reproduce.
All in all, we should not have to live in a world where we can’t use a bathroom and feel safe and confident that any material we pump into our hands will be soap. Also, the toilet is clogged so someone should probably check that out.