The primary problem with public bathrooms is that the are public. Anyone can use them. Is that a bad thing? Let’s use an extreme example and point to the bathrooms at Union Station in Chicago. In fact, prepare for a rant.
You walk in and hit a line. There is ALWAYS a line. As you wait in that line trying to avoid eye contact with everyone in there who keeps looking you up and down, you notice the walls. They are covered in stains of who knows what, soaked in that welcoming urine smell, and covered in graffiti that usually involves a phone number, sex, gang signs, and “so and so was here.” Just to top it off, there is at least one guy there who looks at your creepily and winks at you. Now you are just starting to get comfortable.
On a side note, putting your name on the bathroom wall proclaiming your one-time or perhaps continued presence in that bathroom really isn’t something you want to brag about. Neither is your chosen gang affiliation or your phone number. If you get called by creeps at 2am inquiring as to your whereabouts and what you are doing, that’s your fault.
Finally, the stall in front of you is open. You enter in the dimly lit space and once inside this tight cubicle of pestilence and appalling aromas you notice that the toilet seat has a dispenser attached to it that covers the seat in a clear plastic cyran wrap style covering. Well that’s disconcerting. Thoughts might go through your head such as, “(1) What is so bad that it risks the spread of disease and/or affection to necessitate this plastic covering?” (2) “Who has been using this and what do they have?” (3) What if the water pops up and hits that ‘area’ as I do my number two?”
Potential options? Walk out and hit another bathroom of some public restaurant or establishment on the way. Even then, you still notice that people LACK proper bathroom etiquette when they don’t have to clean it up. There is no need to leave used toilet paper all over the floor, leave the seat laying down covered in urine, and if you somehow get crap on the rim and the stall walls, WIPE IT OFF. Apparently, that’s not an option because other people will clean up the mess. What is this, 1st grade??!?!
Sometimes, there is no respite. You can’t catch a break. I went down to Occupy for two days at one point and during the day had to use the bathroom. I tried using the PNC and their security turned me down despite the fact that I am PNC account owner and had my PNC card with me to show them. Eventually I was forced into a surprisingly cleaner alternative – peeing in an alley. The result was one of the best feeling I’ve ever had in the world and the ultimate satisfaction of feeling that weight lift off your shoulders.