The Gas Station Bathroom: A Slice Heaven on Earth

Ahhh, the gas station bathroom: A mysterious, magical world that I have never had the chance to experience in my entire life… that is, until two days ago when I found myself four iced coffees deep on a road trip to Washington D.C.. I said to myself, “What the heck. I’ll treat myself to a new experience.” Up until that point, I have only had some less-than-desirable public bathroom excursions such as The McDonald’s emergency McNugget fiasco of 2011, and a less than desirable Wendy’s bathroom meet-up that was as confusing as it was frightening. (Writer’s Note: “Bro Time” isn’t what I thought it was.)

Over the years of filling up my car with gas, eavesdropping in on some phenomenal lauding about gas station bathrooms and their character became all-too frequent. I couldn’t help overhearing commentary such as, “Can you believe it in there? Fucking Unreal,” or “I’m not even sure how someone does something like that,” or my personal favorite: “Don’t touch anything in there.” Wonder filled my imagination. I figured there were many high-end items that were irreplaceable, perhaps some wall art? An antique Sculpture? What was I missing out on?
One can’t help but finally succumb to the urges of what lies beyond the dented door with the broken knob.

The moment I made the choice to relent to the urges that filled my psyche over the years, I immediately pulled into a Fast Fred’s. If it was anything like the reputation of its name, I knew that quality wouldn’t be spared at this exquisite establishment.

When I approached the bathroom, there was a well-placed sign that required me to request a key which would grant me access into this exclusive venue. I was handed a mini baseball bat with a key attached to the end of it, which I found creative and probably metaphorical in that they hit it out of the park with this particular bathroom.

The moment I stepped in, the aroma was absolutely intoxicating. Although the air felt thick, I was wafting in hints of nutmeg, tea tree oil, and ginger, perhaps emitting from the rusty Glade spray can elegantly hidden behind the trash can. The beautifying scent was mixed with a pungent aftersmell of old-man-colitis diarrhea that complimented each other well…much like a cabernet and a medium rare fillet mignon pair together so perfectly.

The floor had been glossed over by a light yet sticky yellow coating, likely not only for aesthetics but for safety to make sure my shoes gripped the cracked linoleum properly. 

When it was time to do my business, there was no actual toilet seat. I assumed they had modified the bowl to a more European, refined taste. Standing, while releasing the waste, is a more cleansing experience (and it appeared, based on the dried excrement on the side of the bowl that others were partaking in the same ritual).

Once completing the task, I couldn’t help but notice this palace of luxury was missing the toilet tissue from its commonly-placed roll. The manager probably saw this mistake of using the common-man’s toilet tissue and quickly corrected it, as there was a pile overly-stocked Dunkin Donuts napkins on top of the Euro-model receptacle. The high tech sandpaper-like force of a Dunkin Donuts napkin leaves your nether region with an exfoliated lift of cleanliness with a twinge of pain that you secretly desire. After washing my hands and drying them with the same dual-purpose Dunkin Donuts napkins (they are super ecofriendly which I was happy about), they have you run through a quick agility exercise of avoiding broken needle glass on your way out. I saw this as a means to make sure that you’re awake and ready to continue along your journey.

I got back in my car and found myself saying similar phrases to the very ones I heard over the years filling up my tank. “It’s hard to describe how one is able to create such an environment.”
Needless to say, the experience was everything and more. I came away with everlasting memories and Hepatitis C that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

-Martin MacFly-