We're in Lancaster and so far one of the most poignant experiences (not counting seeing Rebekah!!!) I've had was the bathroom at the gas station. I requested a pause from the driving for obvious reasons. And then I continued reading my magazine until the car stopped. bad idea. When I looked up, I was face to face with the one door. The one door with both genders represented with a paper and sharpie sign below that reads: "knock. if no sound, pull door hard." It was then I knew bad things were in store.
There's something poetic about bathrooms. I mean, bathrooms are really revelatory of culture, I think. Even the nice ones. But the bad ones are the best. Yeah, I would have to say I'm kind of a bathroom connoisseur and I don't think many other people are bathroom aficionados. But I am.
Anyway, this bathroom was idyllic. For a bathroom aficionado. You know what I'm talking about, white tile on the walls, green-grey rotted grout around the tile, yellowed sagging ceiling tiles...the floor was sticky grey concrete. The soap dispenser was broken and there was a jar of liquid soap on the counter. Yeah...and it was empty. The bottle straw was laying on the sink. That part I wasn't very excited about...especially when I realized I was fresh out of hand sanitizer.
But then there was the illegible writing, and the not-so illegible writing...the writing I would have preferred being illegible. But these are the bathrooms you read about in books. They're the ones that everyone thinks of when they think of "road trip bathrooms."
And I think that's what I like about writing. There are experiences that are universal to all of us. We all know what it's like to smell the first mown grass. Everyone has fought down rudeness on the phone with a telemarketer. And everyone has been inside a bathroom they would rather have avoided. Conversely, everyone has been in a bathroom that made them feel like they were at home instead of at Cracker Barrel.
As a writer, these are the things we try to expose to the public so that everyone can enjoy. Well, I don't know if "enjoy" is the right word, given the bathroom situation.