Where Would Jesus Pee?

I think my bank’s lobby is a dangerous place.

A while back we had the Mothership Guy. Today, I was approaching the teller window when I heard a too-loud voice behind me, from the end of the rope barrier: “You have a bathroom in here?”

The guy was neatly, even severely groomed — a military white-sidewall haircut and clean day-off clothes, and the hundred-mile stare that says you never, never want to date this character or even talk to him in a bar. My favorite teller, a whippy little Italian fellow — about as big as a minute, with his ears barely dry — looked up and said “No, I am sorry, that isn’t available.”

White Sidewalls wasn’t going to take it lying down. “How do you go to the bathroom?” he said confrontationally.

“It doesn’t work like that,” said Tommaso. “We cannot open the bathrooms to the public, it is a secure area. There’s a gas station next door, I’m sure they have one.”

“That’s ridiculous,” said White Sidewalls, looking as if he was daring someone to throw the first punch. He must not have had to go real bad because he stayed there in the line waiting to transact whatever business had brought him in, rocking from heels to toes, looking like a threat level on its way up. I felt the prickle you feel when a bad dog starts to growl. Tommaso, who is always nice to me, made eye contact as he stepped behind the teller who was helping me; for some reason I blew him a kiss. I don’t know what that said to him but it was sort of an accolade for bravery. I stayed edgy till I could finish my business, White Sidewalls glowering behind me.

My car was out in the lot, and in a space that hadn’t been occupied when I entered, a midsize SUV with a specialty plate whose design I couldn’t quite make out but the vanity license VIPERSS; below it was one of those irritating chrome Christian car-fish with the ichthys, IXOYE, enclosed in the stylized outline.

Now that I think of it, there’s nothing in the New Testament about peeing.

I’m glad Tommaso has that Plexiglass barrier.

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13 thoughts on “Where Would Jesus Pee?

  1. I’m particularly annoyed by IXOYE stickers that use real live Roman letters rather than Greek. I always go, Ixoye? What the hell is that?

    Anyway, yeah, real ridiculous that a bank won’t let random customers use the employee restroom.

    I have to say though that Christians have recognized for centuries the struggle between the fact of their adherents using the religion as a club to join and otherwise acting like normal selfish men, and adherents actually paying attention to themselves and their thoughts and actions. The question is, why do I have to say that? ūüôā

  2. Unless it was a real emergency (and being a “semi-colon” these things can happen) I wouldn’t dream of asking to use the toilet in a bank. Just like I also wouldn’t ask to use the toilet in a shoe shop or a pharmacy.

    Personally I prefer not to use public toilets at all, and when I have to would rather find a posh hotel or nice restaurant.

  3. I can understand that the bank has a security issue.

    But your post raises a question which I have often wondered about:

    In our modern “civilized” society, why are public restrooms so rare. Some facilities always have public restrooms, many never do. All airports and passenger-train stations and football stadiums have public restrooms.

    But I do not believe there is a public restroom in the entire Washington, D.C., Metro subway system.

    Department stores and gas stations used to be the only public businesses that routinely provided restrooms for customers. Why restrooms in a gas station, but not a drugstore? A couple of decades ago, McDonalds became the public restroom provider of first resort, which was no doubt a wise business decision.

    • Hello and welcome.

      You risk getting me onto one of my lifetime soapboxes — the dismissive attitude of American civilization towards the public bladder.

      The plumbing in Great Britain, for instance, is so godawful you wish the Romans would come back, but at least you can find it if you need it (and London has an actual “Loo Of The Year” award). Things are looking up a bit here — I find places as disparate as a computer store and a grocery provide full bathroom service. But I think it’s some of that lingering Puritan pudeur that wants to pretend people are solid below the waist like Kewpie dolls.

      I knew someone who once, in desperation, committed an intestinal malfeasance on a deserted Metro platform late at night. If more of that happened they might rethink the matter.

      • I suspect it’s a matter of who has to pay for the constant cleaning and maintenance. Public restrooms get trashed swiftly, and there is liability to worry about, and staffing, and making a fair dispersal across neighborhoods, and the next thing you know the city councl is listening to the token right-winger railing against enabling nay encouraging the privations of street people because his idea to shut them all down saves money.

        McD on the other hand, far more than any bank, has a clear incentive to keep nice restrooms and is ubiquitous. Yay private enterprise.

        • And yet somehow the Brits manage it. They have a self-cleaning porta-loo thing that costs tenpence to use and washes down the whole cubicle afterward; there was one in the high street of the most depressed borough I spent time in over there, in the late 90’s. It would be a welcome half measure in a lot of locations.

          Besides, I’m waiting for the hand of Divine Justice to erase McDonald’s from the face of the earth. There is absolutely nothing about that institution that could be even partially excused by the availability of bathrooms. Trashed the rain forest, driven the obesity epidemic, demolished the health of the inner city and inflicted lives of suffering on millions of animals. Oh don’t get me started on them.

          • If I remember correctly, New York city experimented a while back with self-cleaning public restrooms, very similar to the British model you described. Concept was AWESOME, from what was shown on the 60 Minutes segment on the topic. You know what killed it? Disabled rights groups, that’s what. Because the restrooms were not built to accommodate users with disabilities, advocacy groups sued the city on the premise that “if you can’t build one for us, then don’t build them at all!” That, plus concerns over restrooms being overtaken by homeless people, basically led to the decision to demolish said restrooms. Oooh boy…

  4. I had some good laughs on this. Yes, too bad for so many reasons, first of all that the guy had so few filters that he thought it was okay to shout rudeness across to a bank teller about his urinary condition in the middle of a workday; then there’s the sadness over having to hold said urine against its will; then there’s the fish symbol on the car, maybe the only saving grace of the story–just think what he’d be like had there *not* been a fish; Mickie D’s, yes, I have been seen more times going in there to use the restroom ONLY; and British bathrooms, I can only speak for Heathrow airport and I was not impressed, but then again that bathroom was probably not a bathroom as much as a pseudo-bathroom. There was no sign on the door nor toilet seat covers. No one was in there, dead quiet. A guard came in there directly afterward. I was expecting the wall, where the two-sided mirror was located, to fall down immediately at which point 20 military guards would confront me and ask me why I used 10 sheets of toilet tissue when I should have used 7.

    • You needed to see the one in the bottom of St. Paul’s, faux marble and motion sensor taps in the basins.

      Without the fish he might not have been the kind of person who thinks he’s one of God’s elect and everyone better get out of the way and let him pee.

  5. This conversation about public restrooms is informative. And the “lingering Puritan pudeur that wants to pretend people are solid below the waist” is funny.

    But the hero of the blog page is to me White Sidewalls and his Christian-fished SUV.

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