My mind reels at the horror that I cannot yet process. I feel for the top button of my jersey and my sunglasses are gone. I shine the light down into the silver bowl and I see the darkly glistening surface of the sloshing liquid unbroken.
I tried to deny it. I tried to pretend that it couldn’t possibly be so. But there was no other possibility. I had the glasses when I came in and they were no longer where they were supposed to be. I heard a splash when I bent over. There was only one answer: they were in the drink.
My first thought was one of rage: “I just bought those!” They didn’t cost all that much but I really liked them. And somehow I knew something like this was going to happen. I was quite familiar with my particular brand of luck. I briefly considered abandoning them to the bowels of the bus. I mean, for God’s sake, I had just done my business in there! Many other people before me had done their business in there! I had no idea where the flush was or even if there was a flush. There was no telling if ANYONE had flushed before I got there. I could be reasonably certain that it was all liquid, as we hadn’t been on the bus that long or stopped for lunch, so I was at least spared that possibility. But I couldn’t even guess how many other people had come before me. Face it, it was GROSS!!!
But I was angry. I hadn’t even had those glasses three weeks, worn them maybe three times, and now they were lost. No. I refused to be dealt this fecal-infested hand yet again by some unrelenting, vengeful God who saw fit to torture, tease and persecute me at every turn. I refused to be screwed yet again by a world that had already given me the shaft and forced me to fight uphill for every little thing I wanted, to eke out a meager existence of squalor and denial because of dumb choices I made when I was a stupid kid fresh out of college. No! I refused to be treated this way yet AGAIN. I would have my glasses back no matter what it took. I would make this stand, here and now, and declare to the world that I am worthy of existence, that I will not be treated like Fate’s chew toy. This is my line in the sand and I will not take it any more! It was this anger that made my decision for me. So, full of righteous anger and unabashed fury, I pulled my left sleeve up to the elbow and plunged in.
I had to go in all the way up to the wrist before I found them. But they were there! They hadn’t disappeared down some dark chasm from whence there was no return. I had momentary flashes of the opening scene of “Trainspotting” where Ewan MacGregor goes head first down hell’s own crapper to retrieve his lost suppositories. I was glad it wasn’t that bad, though I was angry enough to consider going that far if need be.
I tried pulling them up but, of course, lost my grip halfway out and had to go back for a second try. This time I made sure I had them tightly in my grasp and drew them out of the mire. Then I quickly started to look for a sink. And, of course, I couldn’t find one.
What kind of bathroom was this?!?! There was no light switch, no flush and no damn sink!!! I found a pump bottle of hand sanitizer on a small ledge and damn near emptied the thing trying to sterilize my glasses, hand and anything else I could reach. I used so much sanitizer that the gel started to spill over onto the floor. I figured that could only help the situation. Now I looked for a paper towel. Guess what? I finally just grabbed some toilet paper and attempted to use it as a substitute. Needless to say, it crumbled under the pressure. I had to get out of there. Nothing good was coming of a prolonged stay in that claustrophobic, plutonian hell hole. And the pounding on the door was becoming more insistent.
I made my way back to my seat, sunglasses at arm’s length pinched firmly between forefinger and thumb, mouth clamped shut and doing my best to erase the lingering traces of my grimace. I was just glad I had two seats to myself. Despite being drenched in sanitizer, I didn’t want to come any where near those damn things again until they had either been boiled, washed or both. Preferably both.
I tried not to let the incident bother me, though, as you can imagine, it wasn’t easy. One of the few things that did go my way was that my hand didn’t come back “lavatory blue”. I was thankful for that small mercy. I’ll take the breaks where I can get them as they seem to come so rarely. But you better believe that, once off that bus, I made a beeline for the nearest fully functional restroom I could find. I think the 3 or 4 successive “lather, rinse, repeats” weren’t entirely unwarranted. I mean, I still had a cheese steak I needed to eat and you can’t do that without two hands. What’s a trip to Philly without a cheese steak? It’s like a bathroom without a sink.