I reached into the sandwich bag and pulled out my toothbrush. I unwrapped the paper towel that was around it. I didn’t have one of those caps that fit over the bristles. So, I made do. Standing along-side of another woman at the row of sinks in the campground bathroom, I began brushing.
“Good morning,” she chirped.
“Mmm-hmm,” I glanced up at her in the mirror and nodded through half-open eyes. The typical etiquette that no one talks to each other in a public bathroom, just like in an elevator or in line, was breached and I felt slightly annoyed.
This past winter and spring, I lived in a rustic cabin at the KOA campground. And by rustic, I mean it had no running water….as in no toilet, no sink, no shower. No kidding. Each morning for seven months, I made the trek to the community bathroom to fix myself up for work. I’d leave my Walden and head into work at a high-end women’s consignment shop. Yup, I’d leave a cabin with no running water to sell $3000 Chanel purses.
“Have a great day,” she said and then turned to leave.
“You oo,” I mumbled through a mouth of toothpaste.
I finished and headed to the row of showers, pulling the curtain closed. I left my flip-flops on even though I could reason that the soap and hot water would wash away whatever was on the floor.
The door leading into the facilities opened.
“Wait, wait, wait, don’t touch anything. Let me put toilet paper on the seat first,” a woman said.
“I do it myself,” a young voice demanded.
“I’ll do it, I’ll do it,” the woman replied, clearly exasperated.
I scooped out a gob of baking soda and ran it through my hair. I smeared another handful over my face as a facial scrub. I rinsed my hair with apple cider vinegar and finished soaping up.
“Ok. You’re done. Good job. Now, let’s wash your hands,” the woman said.
“I do it myself,” the girl responded.
“I’ll turn on the faucet,”
“No, I will.”
Geez, give the girl some independence, I thought as I dried off and head back to the sink and mirror near them.
From my backpack filled with toiletries, I pulled out a comb. It slipped through my hand and landed on the tile floor.
“Just be glad it wasn’t your toothbrush,” the woman smiled as she hoisted the girl up to the sink.
“Ugh, gross,” I gagged and ran my comb under hot water.
I hit the button on the hand dryer and stuck one foot up under the hot air. While balancing on the other foot, I combed my wet hair.
“What she doing mommy?” the girl stared at me.
“It’s not polite to stare,” mommy replied.
“Oh, it’s okay,” I told the woman. “I’m sure I look odd drying my feet under a hand dryer.”
I turned to the child. “I wore my flip-flops in the shower and now they are soggy. I don’t like walking back home in soggy flips-flops.”
“Oh,” is all the girl said.
“C’mon, let’s go,” the mom said.
“Bye,” I smiled at the girl.
I shook my extended foot, trying to hurry up the drying process. The mother and daughter rounded the corner toward the door.
“Wait. Let me open the door,” the mom said.
“I do it myself,” the girl demanded.
You go girl, I thought, and switched feet before the hot air ran out.