Friday, August 21, 2009

Whose Restroom Is It Anyway?

Inspired by Tova Darling’s hilarious story about an ‘oops’ visit to the men’s room, I am here to fess up to my own similar faux pas. (See

Years ago, when in my early 20s, I was working in a San Francisco building which was undergoing serious renovations. From the time I started there, the nearest restroom to my office was designated “Women”, though the presence of several urinals made it clear that its original purpose was otherwise intended. The first time I entered, I’m quite certain that I did a double-take worthy of Lou Costello. (Yes, I am very old. Young ‘uns, think Adam Sandler.) But, having pulled the door back open and verified that the sign did indeed say “Women”, I shrugged it off and took care of the task at hand.

Some months into this work assignment, I paid a visit to my home town, and went with my parents to visit my favorite aunt in a local nursing home. While we were chatting, I asked her where the rest room was. She told me to go down the hall to my left, and it was just the other side of the nurses’ station. I (normally) (okay, occasionally) follow directions well, and went into the first door past the nurses’ station. I was alone, used the stall, and came out to wash my hands. While I was standing at the sink, the door opened, and in walked my father! I don’t know which of us was more shocked to see the other. We simultaneously hollered each other’s names! He thought I was too dim to grasp the visual clue of the urinals, and I couldn’t believe he would walk into the women’s room to find me!

I had grown so accustomed to using a facility assigned to my gender despite the urinals, that it just didn’t faze me. My dad was just coming to take care of his own hygiene, and must have turned more than a few hairs gray at the sight of me. We had a huge laugh about it back in my aunt’s room, and again in the car on the way home. But my mother did not find the story as amusing as we did. (The nursing home aunt thought it was hilarious, however. No wonder she was my favorite!)

I learned two things from this. One, you can’t judge a room by its urinal. Two, check rest room doors more carefully before entering. My father learned that I was a moron. But at least (or maybe at most) I could laugh at myself.

1 comment:

  1. I can't believe I've never heard this story! Maybe the other lesson is that a San Francisco office building's restrooms shouldn't speak for those in the midwest.