I go to extremes to avoid letting my wife know I have bowel movements.
First, I’m unsure I can explain how difficult it was to type that sentence out, knowing that I will eventually post it for tens of people to read. In my effort to conquer my self-conscious tendencies, it seems that sharing this story will be cathartic for me and entertaining for those who read it.
A classic win-win.
Here we go.
Before I tell you the story leading to my writing this, I must explain what I mean when I say that I go to extremes to avoid letting my wife know I poop.
When we are home, and I need to use the bathroom, I will go to the bathroom where I believe my wife will have no reason to enter. No matter what I choose, she will come looking for me, stand outside the door, and say, “Tim?”
The panic that rises within me is illogical. I respond with a rushed, “I’m in the bathroom,” as I contemplate what I will do if the door knob starts to move.
I prefer this situation to when she is in a silly mood and jiggles the door knob unannounced. My panic maxes out when she does this, and I say, “Someone’s in here!”
I say this to my wife in my home.
I don’t say, “I’m in here.” I say “someone” as though I could preserve some imaginary anonymity in my home with my wife.
I know couples that openly talk about what goes on in the bathroom. I know couples that use the bathroom while their partner is in the bathroom.
We will use the bathroom in front of each other for number one but for the other one?! I cannot think of many things I would rather do less.
The story I am here to tell you occurred while we were on vacation for a wedding in Tennessee in April.
Before we get to that, let me provide more context for how anxious this makes me.
If you think how I handle a normal bodily function in my home is ridiculous, let me tell you about being on vacation in a hotel room with one bathroom.
If my wife is asleep, I will lock the door, turn on the faucet, turn on the shower, and hope for the best.
If awake, she will tell me I am ridiculous for wanting to retreat to the lobby to use the public restroom and force me to use the bathroom in our hotel room. Since she is a loving wife, she will throw in headphones (I wait until I am as confident as possible that noise is coming through them), or she will leave the room and walk down the hallway.
Stop judging me.
I know this behavior is absurd, but you must understand the absurdity to appreciate the dire situation I encountered when we went to the Gone With The Wind museum in Marietta, GA.
When we traveled to Tennessee, we flew into Atlanta and drove to Chattanooga. Before traveling, we decided to stop in Marietta for lunch and check out the museum.
I had to use the bathroom when we arrived at the museum.
I was delighted to see a sign outside the museum that read, “Restroom Cottage.”
That sounds quaint and private, I thought.
I told my wife I needed to go to the bathroom and told her I would meet her inside the museum.
There was no one else around as I entered the bathroom. It appeared the restroom cottage might have just been opened for the season as the doors to both the men’s and women’s restrooms were propped open. They were not the most outstanding facilities I’ve used, but the privacy was all I really cared about. There were three stalls, and I chose the one with cleanest looking toilet seat.
It wasn’t until a few minutes later that I realized I had made a rookie mistake.
I reached for toilet paper. However, not only was there no toilet paper, there wasn’t even a toilet paper dispenser. I kept my cool. Since no one else was around, I would just do the waddle of shame (that’s what I call it when I need toilet paper that is not within arm’s reach).
Time was of the essence as I made my way to the next stall—no toilet paper.
The last stall? No toilet paper.
I looked to the sink and saw a tissue dispenser in between the two sinks. Empty.
I looked to my final option, the paper towel dispenser.
Ladies and gentlemen, we have a winner.
I waddled to the paper towels with my pants and underwear down around my mid-thigh, hence the waddle. It wasn’t until I grabbed the first paper towel and heard the creak of the main door to the Restroom Cottage that I remembered the entrance to the men’s room was propped open.
I turned to see my wife standing at the door wide-eyed, asking, “What is happening?”
I am not lying when I tell you I would have rather seen the face of any other person in the world.
I stood, frozen with fear, looking like Porky Pig in front of the sinks.
“There isn’t any toilet paper,” I said.
“Do you want me to check the women’s bathroom?” she asked.
I quickly calculated that if toilet paper were in there, she would need to get closer to bring it to me—hard pass.
“I’ll just use paper towels,” I said.
She told me I was ridiculous, but luckily there wasn’t toilet paper in the women’s restroom either.
I came out to my wife laughing, and she laughed all the way to the museum entrance.
My, err, shitty situation taught me a valuable lesson that day, and for that, I am thankful.