Sunday, March 30, 2008

In Praise Of Target's Bathrooms

NOTE: If you get squeamish around discussions of natural, everybody-does-it bodily functions (you weenie), you really should heed the poo warning over there in the corner -------->

So, the other night, Girlfriend and I ate at this Creole restaurant in Brooklyn, then we headed over to the Atlantic Center to do some shopping.

The Atlantic Center, if you're unfamiliar, is this corporate monstrosity mall-esque thingy right smack in the middle of our fair city; it makes local business-owners cry and hippies won't shop there because it's killing America or something. Whatever, they've got a Target; sometimes you just need to go to Target and there's no way around it. Like I'm going to spend a bazillion dollars on cat food from a Mom n' Pop store just because I have principles. Please. Also of note about the Atlantic Center, though it only somewhat relates to this story: The Atlantic Center is full of ghetto superstars, unwed mothers that strip, and lots of scary dudes in Rocawear jackets that will try to sell you cartons of Newports on the sidewalk. Which personally I think makes for a fun place to hang out; who doesn't need a little drama and excitement in their lives? It's like shopping for paper towels and new pants inside an episode of The Wire.

Anyway, we were in the Atlantic Center's Target, looking for various things, when all of a sudden... (dramatic music and a lighting change)... I felt a rumble in my guts; needless to say, it wasn't a "Gee, I'm pleasantly full" sort of thing. Nor was this a, "Hmm, something's not sitting right" situation either. This was the kind of rumbling that brings to mind terrified Indians with their ears to the ground who suddenly start yelling about an approaching stampede. My stomach was about to make a rapid, dramatic evacuation of it's contents and it was going to do so out the back door, if you catch my drift. I needed to find a bathroom, fast, lest the Atlantic Center Target become the site of the largest biological disaster since the Exxon Valdez.

Across the store, near the registers, I spied the bathrooms. Now, given the circumstances, I wasn't in a position to be picky. However, I'll admit that I was a little wary of using these particular public facilities. As I inferred, the Atlantic Center isn't a place that immediately springs to mind when someone mentions the word, "Sanitation." In fact, there are parts of the complex that, for reasons too terrifying to consider, always... always... smell like dirty diapers. So needless to say, the thought of using one the bathrooms therein filled me with a little bit of oh-god-can-you-get-hepatitis-from-a-toilet-seat dread. As I walked (quickly, and clenched) to the men's room door, I imagined the sights I was about to witness: Cracked tile floors littered with broken syringes and spent needles; puddles of various liquids attracting insects previously unknown to science; sleeping homeless people on filthy mattresses twitching and scratching as they came down from their chemicals of choice; dead animals with suspiciously human-like bite marks in them; cryptic, evil messages scrawled on the walls in blood.

I opened the door, my breath held, my bowels quaking like a suspension bridge in a hurricane...

And it was immaculate. To my shock, my surprise, it was soooo clean... sparkling like the set of an Ajax commercial. Easily the cleanest public bathroom in Brooklyn, possibly in the entire world. And it smelled of fresh pine, of cleansers and love, of... well, okay, there was a guy taking a pretty enthusiastic dump in one of the stalls, so there was an undertone of butt-reek to the place, but still... the joint was remarkably unblemished, stainless, tidy, and pure.

Unfortunately, I did everything I could to sully it's good name. I fucking murdered my chosen toilet; it was a Thunderdump worthy of governmental aide from FEMA. It was the kind of growler attack that leaves you sweating, exhausted, and deeply, deeply ashamed. The human body is a miracle, some say, and I am inclined to agree... provided that we can also acknowledge that said miracle is sometimes profoundly gross.

I guess the moral of the story here is that you should never judge a bathroom by it's low-rent surroundings. Sometimes... not often, but occasionally... one will surprise you. Also, you might want to watch your back around Creole food. That stuff will put the hurt on your crap factory, for serious.


Blogger Todd said...

That story did not go as I expected it would. The only rational explanation is that you happened into that bathroom after its once yearly cleaning.

It's like shopping for paper towels and new pants inside an episode of The Wire

Ha! So true my friend. So true...

4:52 PM  
Blogger surviving myself said...

I love those bathrooms. You know what's weird, Barnes and Nobles' are always gross. You'd think they'd be nice, but they are always stank.

5:49 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Todd... Either that, or everything I thought I knew about gross bathrooms is wrong. And I don't know if I want to live in that world. Though I would like to poop in it.

Surviving... Totally. And have you noticed that they ALL smell exactly the same. There's some sort of specific toilet cleaner that only B&N uses. It's not pleasent.

8:44 PM  
Blogger Cray said...

perhaps they recycle the used cleaner from Target.

8:57 PM  
Anonymous lengli said...

I was totally going to be like, "ooh, Creole food in Brooklyn! Where?" but now not so much. Good to know that the infamous Atlantic Center came through in a pinch however. The grocery store to the east of Target also has some tolerable bathrooms, if need be.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Clinton said...

Cray... I wouldn't be surprised.

Lengli... It was this joint called Stan's Place a few blocks up from the AC on Atlantic Ave. The food was actually delicious, but... you know... poops-causing. Totally worth it though, if you like good gumbo.

12:04 AM  
Blogger Digital Fortress said...

It's always good to know where a decent toilet is located. Someone should write up a George Costanza-esque guide to all the best restroom facilities.

9:00 AM  
Blogger jason quinones said...

digital- i think someone did write that book actually! but i can't remember the author's name right now. gee,big help i am!

10:06 AM  
Blogger Digital Fortress said...

Jason - A Zagat guide for bathrooms actually exists?!?!? I'll look for it at Half Price books see if I can find it.

10:38 AM  
Blogger surviving myself said...

they do! All the exact same stink. I can smell it right now...

11:01 AM  
Blogger i like cheese said...

I hate to admit the amount of times I have gotten off the train at the Atlantic Center (several stops from where I actually need to get off)due to, er, bathroom needs. As much as the Target bathroom sucks, it has definitely saved me from uncertain shame and embarassment of the urination variety.

1:10 PM  

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