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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

To Lock Or Not To Lock

One of the most dreaded things for me while out and about is the public bathroom. First simply because it's gross. We've all been there, I don't need to back up my statement. My big dread though, is the peek.

Yes, the peek. It can happen a few ways. Like the door hinge causes a 3 inch gap and the new comer can't help but make eye contact while looking for an open stall. A faulty lock is by far the worst contender.

A faulty lock gives you a false sense of security until you get the new comer who likes to test the doors to see if they are locked or not. That would be fine, IF all locks were as reliable as they bill themselves out to be.

I usually have my foot ready to slam the door shut for these occasions. If a finger gets caught, so be it. 

I can actually pin point the exact moment toilet locks/peekers became an issue with me. 

I was either in 1st or 2nd grade, my one girlfriend has a scary good memory and could probably not only tell you what grade, but what we were wearing on this day in history. 
We had a single bathroom in the class without a lock. If the door was shut, it was in use. Simple right? If you still can't remember if closed means it's free or not, knock. If someone answers, I'm pretty sure it's a good indication, the toilet is occupied.

Well, Christopher S did not understand those simple instructions. I'm in there, door is shut. There is a knock, I say SOMEONE'S IN HERE! I was not shy at letting people know the room is mine for a minute or 2. There is another knock. I SAID SOMEONE'S IN-
the door opens.

That little tool opened the door and laughed.

I wish I had my foot ready then. It would have been totally worth a trip to the principals office.

So ever since then, public bathrooms cause a little lock anxiety for me. Not only for their lack of working, but working too well.

As a grown adult, mother of 2, I Kelly Clinard, have been stuck- NO- held hostage in the bathroom by a lock.

Not once. Nope. twice. 

The first time it happened was a few years ago at my moms. The perfect place really to have my first hostage situation. 
I had had surgery on my neck a few weeks before and I had lost my voice. Her bathroom was recently redone and the new door handle had a stiff lock. 

You can see where this is going right?

Yep. I couldn't get the friggin lock to turn. I tried yelling for help. Have you ever tried yelling without a voice? It made me laugh. Hard. When I laugh hard in a normal situation, as in full voice and not stuck, I can't breath or speak. Needless to say, no one came running to my rescue. 

I tried everything. I even tried using my shirt as a grip and that didn't work. Just as I was coming around to the idea of spending Christmas in the pooper, I tried one more time and it turned easy peasy. 

When I came into the living room, still laughing and not making a sound, they all looked at me like I was crazy. I tried to charade to them what happened, and just gave up. I'm pretty sure they didn't even realize I was missing.

This past weekend I was at my oldest friends wedding, the same one with the freakishly good memory. 
~I'd like to send a shout out to my midget table friends! Keep it short girls!~

I kept hearing bathroom talk. The locks weren't working. People had visitors they didn't invite. You get the idea. My lock/peek anxiety was on HIGH alert.

I waited until I absolutely had to go. I contemplated the bushes but it was dark out and my balance isn't stellar.
I was relieved to find a line. That, to me, meant no peekers. Everyone knows the room is taken, the line screams wait your turn!
Still, when I got in knowing there was a line and the lock didn't work, I still turned it.

I have to say, once I turned around and surveyed my private lair of 2 minutes, I was thankful for taking the extra step of locking the door. The toilet, was up on a platform. Never before have I seen such a thing. If a peeker were to make their way to my room, I would be up on stage for all to see. My KNEES would be eye level.

It's just not right.

I power peed like I never power peed before.

My blood pressure eased as I washed my hands and turned to leave.


I couldn't open the friggin lock! Oh it turned just fine, up, down, sideways, but did it accept it's new position? Nope.

Son of a.....

I shook it, turned it, hit it and pleaded with it for a good 2 minutes. By the time I got it unlocked and flung the door open, there was a girl standing in front of it starring wide eyed, mouth hanging open with a look of horror on her face.

I, very calmly with sweat dripping from my face, I said THE LOCK WAS STUCK! I WAS STUCK! 
She said, very pathetically, Yeah, I saw that.
Poor girl- I, I won't.


So now you can see why I have trouble deciding do I lock it and hope I am not held hostage, or unlock and hope there are no peekers.

I am still nervous every time I use my mom's bathroom. 


  1. Funny, funny, funny!! You've had a lot of bad bathroom experiences for one person! I avoid it completely by not using public bathrooms. I have white knuckled it home plenty of times. I have a germaphobia!!
    Thanks for the laugh!

  2. Oh that was bad experience of yours. I've never face such situation. I would prefer to lock though coz' when it is lock, it simply means it is occupied..

  3. Way too funny. I have a similar phobia. When I was 2 or 3 I got stuck in my grandma's bathroom. I had figured out how to lock the door but not how to unlock it. My dad ended up having to take the door of the hinges to get me out. I don't remember it, but my family delights in telling the story.
    God bless,
    VB member

  4. This is absolutely hysterical! Thanks for the laugh. I could picture the whole thing :0)

  5. Hilarious!!!!!
    You totally captured every fear we women have in public bathrooms!
    Can I recommend a cath bag?

  6. Never got stuck in the bathroom. Elevator at work twice, yes. And when the elevator gets stuck the lights go out. That's always fun.

  7. Who would have thought that bathrooms could be so traumatizing?!