I used to have a checklist of three rules before using a public toilet.
Rule #1: Is the floor dry so my pants don’t act as a mop?
Rule #2: Is there sufficient toilet paper?
Rule #3: Does the toilet flush properly?
You probably have your own set of rules.
I now have four rules. The fourth rule is to make sure the the toilet doesn’t buck like the artificial bull in a western bar.
The rule was learned a hard and painful way and you might consider adding it to your own set of rules.
The events leading to the rule happened when we were vacationing in central Washington in our travel trailer. It had its own toilet which we normally used. I was in the trailer park office when I got the urge and decided to use the trailer park toilet. Entering the cramped stall I went through my normal checklist with everything passing. Sitting down, I took care of business and reached for the toilet paper.
When I tilted to the side to use the toilet paper I was slammed against the left side of the stall. Surveying what happened I could see that the bolts that attached the toilet to the floor were corroded and broken and the toilet was no longer attached to the floor. I finished using the toilet paper while I rested at an angle against the left wall and then assessed how I could get vertical again.
I misjudged the amount of push that was needed to get vertical and overshot, slamming into the right side of the stall.
OK. This time I would be more careful.
I slid my feet back on the floor so no matter if I tilted right or left I would be able to catch myself. I carefully judged the force need to push off the right wall and pushed. This time I caught myself latterly but my feet were too far back and launched me forward, violently slamming my head into the stall door. I involuntarily threw myself backward and cracked my head against the back of the stall. Stunned for a time (I may have blacked out for a couple of seconds) I found myself at a 45 degree angle leaning against the rear wall. I finally was able to stand up, pull my pants up, and leave the stall.
Deciding it was a good thing to report the broken toilet to the office I went in and told the young woman behind the desk that there was a problem with the last toilet stall in the men’s restroom.
She calmly replied that there was no problem. I said I hadn’t told her the problem yet and she replied that she knew the toilet had broken loose from the floor and she had called the repairman and he would be up tomorrow to fix it. So there was no problem. I said that the toilet was dangerous and she might consider putting an out-of-order sign on the stall.
When I left the office, she was slowly pondering if this might or might not be a good idea.
I didn’t use the trailer park restroom the rest the time we were there, but two days later when we left I decided to check to see if the toilet was fixed. It was, solidly attached to the floor with new shiny chrome bolts. On a hunch I decide to check the other two stalls. The first had corroded bolts, two broken, and could be lifted an inch from the floor any direction. I estimated it had less than two weeks before it became a bucking toilet. The last toilet was wobbly, but probable had several months to a year before it started to buck.
If you think you want to add another rule to your own public toilet checklist, here is one to consider:
Rule #4: Check that the toilet is firmly attached to the floor.
Another story told over coffee and biscotti during our morning talks.