This musing is about being aware of the potential “hazards” of a public bathroom. We’ll just quickly list things to watch out for…
Creepy People – Don’t go it alone. Bring a buddy with you. Between the drug dealing, drug use and not-so-nice people who want to hurt you, you don’t want to find yourself in any uncomfortable situation by yourself.
Purse Placement – Keep it slung over your shoulder. I have read news stories where women have hung their purses up on the door in front of them and had them swiped or even left them on the floor of the stall and someone’s swiped it from the next stall. Hold tight!
The dirty toilet seat – They’re all dirty. Even if they don’t appear to be. Don’t sit on them! At least, not until you’ve built a “nest”. If the public restroom doesn’t offer a paper toilet seat cover, build your own! Just lay down toilet paper on both sides of the toilet seat and across the bottom of the seat. Now when you sit down upon it, you will not be touching the seat with your flesh at all!
And there’s always the crouching method, also known as “the hover”. This means that you use muscles in your thighs that you haven’t used in a long time, in my case anyway, to keep yourself in line with the toilet without ever touching the toilet seat.
There is good reason to use caution when it comes to the toilet seat and catching diseases from it…
The dirty flush handle – For the same reasons as stated in the NY Times link above, bacterias & viruses living for a long period of time on hard surfaces, use your foot to flush every toilet you use that isn’t your own.
Wash Your Hands – Between the door handle you touched coming into the restroom, the latch on your stall door, and the business at hand, you need a thorough hand-washing!
The dirty faucet handle – Once you’ve washed your hands with soap, avoid turning off the faucet with your hand on the handle. Instead, keep the water running while you grab a paper towel to dry your hand and then use that paper towel to turn the faucet off.
The dirty door handle on your way out – The same rules apply with the yucky door handle on your way out. Any idea how many people leave the bathrooms without washing their hands? And then use that handle with those same hands? Yuck. Use that same paper towel to grab the door handle and throw it out in a trash can outside if you have to.
I don’t mean to sound paranoid, because I’m normally not, however, I’ve heard too many stories too close to home that have kind of freaked me out and certainly made me much more aware when using one of these public facilities. And I wanted to make you more aware, as well!