I think I discovered one of THE most poorly designed bathrooms on the state. It is in one of those megastores that sells papers, pens and sundry office supplies. Let’s call it, oh I dunno, “Staplers.” I was there to buy a newer, bigger 3-ring binder because we were told we were going to be getting a bunch of new music in my chorus and I didn’t think my current binder would be big enough to handle the new influx. As it turned out, our music director didn’t have the music with him, so I didn’t need the new binder yet…which was good, because Staplers didn’t have one that I liked, anyway. But I digress.

Anyway, while I was browsing around the store (I love office supply stores. Goes right up there with kitchen supply stores…I rarely buy anything but LOVE to look), nature started calling so I walked to the far corner of the building, where the facilities were. I opened the door to the ladies’ room and the room was dark butas I stepped in to look for the light switch, the light suddenly went on automatically. I was then able to see that the “regular” light switch had been replaced with a flat, plain cover, so I surmised that in an attempt to save money on electricity when no one was actually in the bathroom be green, the light was controlled by a motion sensor. Interesting.

So I walked into a stall and did my business. And then I realized there was no toilet paper. Now, I don’t mean that as in “someone used up the last of the last roll”…I mean it as in “there was no toilet paper holder on either side of me.” HUH? So I start using my hand to check behind me…maybe there were some rolls on top of the tank? But nope, being something of an industrial space, there was no tank. What the…? So I turn around (still sitting, mind you…and yes, I had one of those paper liners between me and the toilet seat) and lo and behold…well, if a picture is worth a thousand words, this should be good for at least a paragraph or two:

So let me get this straight…they know you’re going to sit on the pot and they put the toilet paper holder on the wall BEHIND YOU? Are they crazy? Who the hell designed THAT? Granted, I’m small and spry enough to be able to reach back there and get the paper as needed but wow, I sure felt badly for anyone who couldn’t turn that much, put their arm that far back or hell, just be just coordinated enough to reach back there and get the paper…with her left hand, no less (granted, some people are left handed but the majority of people are not)! Whoever thought of putting the paper there obviously had his brains in the part of his body that would need the toilet paper in the first place.

But wait!…It gets better.

You know how sometimes you “go” and you can get yourself clean in short order and sometimes it takes a little more effort? Well, this time it was the latter for me. What can I say…I had had coffee earlier in the day. So I’m doing what I need to do, and it’s taking a while, when all of a sudden, POOF, the lights went out.

Apparently the motion sensor didn’t take the stalls into consideration.


Please remember that, unfortunately, I was still IN the stall when this happened. And, more unfortunately, please remember that I wasn’t done! So there I was, sitting in the pitch darkness (it’s not like there are any windows or anything. It’s dark. Like “camera darkroom” dark), my pants pulled down to my ankles, reaching like a blind person to find the toilet paper behind me and then having to use the light of my freakin’ iPhone to look at the used toilet paper, to see if I was “clean” or not.

Not one of my more graceful moments, let me tell ya.

Now, the thought did come to me that I could just go out of the stall and get the motion sensor’s attention to turn the light back on. The thing was, I didn’t want to pull my pants back up because, well, like I said, I wasn’t done yet and didn’t think that skid marks on my underpants until I could get home to change them would be very comfortable. And I couldn’t go out of the stall with my pants down by my ankles because with the luck I was having in that bathroom so far, someone would walk in at that very moment, the motion sensor would go to work, and the lights would go on with me showing off everything I had. So I did the best that I could with what I had…left-handed TP and a 99¢ “Flashlight” app.


Eventually I was done and was able to finish up and leave the stall. As soon as I walked into the “main” part of the bathroom, the lights went on and I was able to wash my hands in normal lighting conditions.

Being me, I checked the rest of the stalls before I left, to see if the design flaw was consistent and actually, it wasn’t. The first two stalls were normal, with the toilet paper next to where someone would sit. It was just the third stall where it was behind you. So keep that in mind when you go into a public restroom…not only do you need to check to see that the seat is clean, the lock works and that there is toilet paper to be had, make sure you can actually reach it. Oh, and maybe bring a flashlight. Cuz you never know and you don’t want to be caught with your pants down.