In the act of my quick 4,000-word cut from the manuscript, I took out some things that didn’t necessarily advance the plot, but that I liked all the same. Here is a short section about men’s rest rooms that should be primer material for any person suddenly using such facilities. In the category of I Wish I’d Known This Before, this is something I wished I’d known before.
I’d developed a protocol for using the men’s room that actually did not involve wearing a hazmat suit, but I left open the possibility that I may go there at some point. Given the state of men’s mass-use rest room facilities, I thought having a process would only help me. I couldn’t hold my bladder forever. And so when entering a men’s room, I would do the following:
Walk toward the door, put out right elbow and open door with elbow. Use elbow to check each stall, use first one that is clean, already flushed, and that appears to have toilet paper. Close stall, being careful to block the infrared beam so the toilet doesn’t think it’s time to flush all over one’s trousers. Carefully remove disposable toilet seat cover being careful not to rip it in the process. Set disposable toilet seat cover on toilet seat being careful to continue blocking infrared sensor and not to touch the actual toilet seat. Pirouette on left ball of foot such that infrared sensor is still blocked, but not fast enough that disposable toilet seat cover hovers off of the toilet seat. Drop pants and underwear, sit down gingerly and do one’s business. When finished, lean over only slightly to toilet paper dispenser being careful to continue blocking infrared sensor. Pull down toilet paper directly and not to the side so as not to break the line of toilet paper. Bundle into other hand until critical mass is achieved. Rip toilet paper at least three squares away from toilet paper roll, so as to be able to retrieve more toilet paper if needed, otherwise end of toilet paper roll will retract and glue itself to the roll, never again to be separated from the rest of the roll. This is known as the “Borg Effect.”
Clean up body parts that have done one’s business, being careful to continue blocking the infrared sensor. Carefully stand up, putting both hands under thighs in order to ensure complete separation from the disposable toilet seat cover, which is now partially wet and seeking only to cling to you as you put back on your trousers. Ensure disposable toilet seat cover is in toilet by checking over one’s shoulder and keeping one’s body aligned in an upright position so as to block the infrared sensor. Consider career as a master thief because one has now acquired quite the infrared sensor managing skill set. Move into a half-squat position so that the tops of underwear and trousers are in reach, and pull up to re-dress. Now comes the tricky part! Listen for the “sigh” of the infrared sensor as it realizes it needs to flush the toilet. Leap with both feet, forward 2.5 feet, or just before the inside of the stall door, whichever comes first, so as to avoid the sudden spray of water, toilet paper, disposable toilet seat cover, and whatever business one did in there. Open door and walk to sink counter. Run hands under infrared sensor of sink and get them wet with tepid water, use soap from whichever dispenser pretends to have some, rinse with more water from the tap, then walk to the paper dispenser and wave hands frantically in front of it, trying to get that infrared sensor to dispense paper. If no paper dispenses in 3 minutes, consider that one’s hands are now probably air-dried anyway. If paper dispenses, use paper towel to open rest room door, exit, and throw paper away in one of the 37,000 wastebaskets between this men’s room and one’s cubicle.