what’s worse? going in or coming out?

I cross my legginged legs together tightly, lean against the cold wall and tap the heal of my flip flop anxiously against the bottom of my own heel. Without getting too close to the door (I would hate for it to open on me and get caught eavesdropping on something so private) I try to listen for anything resembling a human being on the other side. An unrolling of the toilet paper or the click of a high heel on the linoleum floor.

Good gawd what is taking so long?

Actually, I most likely I know what’s taking so long and I’d rather not know.

Wait, did I even check the door? I’m pretty sure I checked. Let me check just one time.

“Just a moment please,” an annoyed, strained voice answers from the other side.



Again there is silence on the other side of the door. Not a good sign.

Oh man I have to pee!

To take my mind off my aching nether region, and because it has been 3.4 minutes since I have checked Twitter, I pull out out my fifth appendage and begin scrolling through my “mentions.”

Suddenly, I get an idea for a blog post, so I open my “notes” app and begin to type feverishly, all the while clenching my upper thighs together with the song “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls” taunting me in the back of my mind.

My blog post flows out of my pointer finger. Then my thoughts drift back to my aching bladder that is pissed at me for waiting for so long to go.

I think I read somewhere that holding it causes incontinence. Damn, I shouldn’t have had that second Chai Tea.

Focus Mary, focus. Back to the blog post.

Finally, I hear a flush. Thank God!

I have no concept of how much time has passed, but it has been enough time that I was able to finish and entire blog post, this very blog post, while standing up, contracting my crotch muscles and wishing I had done a few more Kegels during my pregnancies.

The door opens and a woman resembling Phyllis Dyller emerges. I wonder if she is as hesitant to walk past me as I am to walk in.

We make awkward eye contact. Awk. Ward.

Then I ponder this: I’m not sure what is worse…

1) Waiting in line when you know the person on the inside is going number two and stinking the joint up?

– OR-

2) Going number two, in a nasty public restroom, while someone anxiously waits outside the door, possibly overhearing things?

Under intense interrogation I would say #1, since not only does it mean I’ve had to hold my own bodily functions to the point of nausea, but then I’ve had to deal with the aftermath left by my predecessor. And a lot of times, it ain’t pretty.

Which side of the bathroom door would you rather be on?



  1. 1
    Ginger says:

    Which is worse? Yes, the waiting. At least when you’re in there you feel relief, although sometimes the pressure of knowing someone is waiting causes some stage fright. (I vaguely remember a post on this, it was yours, right?!)

    Just be glad you’re not like my friend, who cannot use a public restroom for the more “serious” matters. He will drive home. I am totally serious. In the middle of the workday.

  2. 2

    I’ve got a third choice, because it happened to me, and it was one of the worst experiences–ever. Try sitting in the front row (not first class, where poop I am pretty sure never stinks) on an airplane and having people repeatedly smell up/soil/foul the bathroom. Oh, and this was on a cross-country flight. The stench was so bad that the flight attendants were gagging as well… I held it in all five hours.

  3. 3
    Christina says:

    I’m a home pooper. I wish more people were like me.

  4. 4
    Sean Harrison says:

    I bet you didn’t think this post was going to turn into a, describe your worst potty adventure. But it has.

    Mine is a combination of both waiting and coming out sort of. At the age of 18, I(like most 18 year old San Diegan’s of the 80s-90s) was headed down to TJ for a night of drinking on Revolucion. As we were about to hit the parking lot just north of the pedestrian border crossing, a major rumble in the depths of my bowels developed a feeling of true panic and terror as it became immediately clear that I needed to get to a real toilet as fast as possible. And possible didn’t seem very likely. Now the chance of finding a serene and clean bathroom at the last US stop before entering Mexico was not good. My driver for this experience was unaware or unable to comprehend the dire straits I was in, but after his leisurely reenactment of a scene from Driving Miss Daisy, he found an ARCO AM/PM mini market. The car hadn’t even come to a stop by the time I had gotten out and headed to the bathroom. WHICH HAD A LINE! My fellow members of this particular queue saw the cold sweat and look of panic on my face. None of them spoke english, and even if my spanish was good enough, they didn’t look like the type that would have given up a place in line. After what seemed like an hour, I got to the door of the restroom only to discover a single urinal and a toilet stall. WHICH HAD LOST ITS DOOR! The line, is only getting longer and it’s becoming abundantly clear that I’m going to share this “experience” with a few strangers. And let me just say, I already new this wasn’t going to be pretty, but sharing it with my line homies wasn’t helping me in the panic department. There had already been a few snickers and chuckles from the line, and I knew there wasn’t going to be any of that when it came my turn. To make matters worse, up until the time it was my turn, people were lined up inside the very small restroom. Just before I started I warned the poor kid next in line to step back.

    Let’s just say there were no snickers or chuckles, and there was more than one evacuation going on in San Ysidro that afternoon. A few poor souls who wandered in, unaware of the line outside, found me perched above the toilet in full disease prevention position. No matter how embarrassed I may have been before and during, I know felt pretty good and relieved that I didn’t ruin my evening in TJ at the Escape Club or my underwear and gave my fellow line members a smile and a thumbs up as I hopped into the car.

    I also have an awesome experience at the Lake Titicaca Bus Station that was on par with this event. But I’ll save that for an international travel post from the mamamaryshow.

  5. 5
    Jen says:

    Since I am a nurse and have the bladder the size of a basket ball, I say that being the one stinking up the place would be the worst.

    Then again, my sh*t don’t stink. ;)

  6. 6
    Ooph says:

    I can’t choose. I’ve tried. For like FIVE minutes. And I can’t.

  7. 7
    Chelsea says:

    Which is worse? The one that happens to YOU at THAT particular moment.
    That’s my final answer.

  8. 8

    Oh man being the one that has to GO IN after someone else takes a nasty ass smelly duke- that is SO WORSE.

  9. 9
    StacyQ says:

    Oh, I’m four squared on the side of the waiting/inhaling someone else’s stink being much worse than being the slow/noisy/stinker.

    Waiting is TERRIBLE for me, especially after I had my kids. Just going in the stall with the kids when they have to go usually made me nearly wet myself, even if I didn’t have to go before. I’m so glad they’ve gotten to the point when they can go into their own stall while I go into mine.

  10. 10

    HHHhhhmmm, that’s a tough one.

    However, if I’m the one on the inside of the stall and am in a *ahem* ‘ #2′ situation I ALWAYS courtesy flush – usually artfully timed to also omit any possible noise.

    see here:

    Maybe we should co-author an e-book in the issue…. :O !!!! hahahaha

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