Jerry: "Being really clean and happy?"
The past several days have been a bit exhausting and full of more firsts for our laconic blogger.
There was my first time to throw a frisbee into a frolf basket. Bystanders equated the experience to seeing a young Michael Jordan score his first basket. Or a still fully-cropped eight-year-old Gallagher smashing a grape with his spoon at the family dinner table.
There was also my first time walking on Beale Street. And at dinner Friday night, another first. Involving the restroom. Not surprisingly. As some of you know already, I have very specific procedures and rules when it comes to public restroom etiquette. I write about things I know and things that are important to me. Seinfeld and going to the bathroom properly seem to be high on that list.
As soon as we were seated at dinner, I excused myself to the men's room in order to relieve an impending urethral requirement which had been steadily building over the past hour. (Buying the Gin Blossoms CD before Tower Records closed had taken precedence over everything else.)
I entered to find an extremely small area. Straight ahead there was a sink. Just to the left of the sink there was a single urinal, separated from the sink by only a small partition, which extended out about eighteen inches from the wall. Directly to the left of the door was a stall.
Two guys were standing in front of the sink as I entered. The room was so small that I had to say "Excuse me" in order to squeeze by them and get to my porcelain oasis. They were talking, which constitutes a direct violation of the male restroom code already. However, as it was a small area, the noise allowed me a bit of a buffer.
So as I disburdened, I could hear that one guy was asking the other about the best places to go and what stayed open late. The asker left and I flushed. As I turned to the sink, the askee said, "How you doing?" He had a squeeze bottle full of something pink, which I took to be soap, that he was holding as if to offer it to my hands. Suddenly it dawned on me that he worked here.
This is the first time I've ever encountered a... what do you call these people who work in the restrooms and offer you towels and such? Matrons? Except this was a guy. So does that make him a... patron? I guess. Anyway, this was my first experience such a person.
I quickly followed procedure holding out my hands in a very Allstate-like fashion. He squirted some soap on them, and already had the faucet running. It was a very good temperature. Not too hot, but warm. I was impressed. Then offered me a towel, which I accepted.
As I turned to exit, he said, "Can I interest you in a mint, or maybe a cigar?" Whoa, whoa, whoa! A mint? From the bathroom? And not even a nice large luxurious bathroom. But a one urinal-one stall bathroom. I guess he doesn't know me very well. I won't even chew gum when I go into my own bathroom, for fear that the germs will infiltrate my mouth. I'm not about to take a mint which has been basking for who knows how long in this germ incubator.
So I say no thanks. And at the same time I see a box full of money sitting on a shelf behind him. Oh, I'm supposed to tip? I offered a "All I have is a twenty." Which was true. To which he responded, "I have change if you need it." What do you tip a patron? I had no idea. So I tipped two bucks.
We had dinner while listening to a blues band. Afterward, I wanted--needed--to wash my hands after the slab of slightly-too-salty ribs we had devoured. But I didn't want to go back to the bathroom and face the patron again. I wasn't going to tip him twice in one night. But I didn't want to go in and not tip him either.
He kept leaving the bathroom every so often. For a break, I guess. I thought of planning my handwashing trip for when he was gone. But he was never gone more than a couple of minutes. I probably should have gone back in. I could picture a very Larry David-like moment occurring if I had.
I'm all for people making money anyway they can. But an attendant, in a cafe/bar, in a bathroom with two receptacles? That's a bit much. So I decided to just
And don't get me started on the germ havens that are public toothpick dispensers.
Another topic for another day.
"Saw the ghost of Elvis on Union Avenue. Followed him up to the gates of Graceland and watched him walk right thru..."