Public Toilet Mishaps

Worrywart Public Toilet

I went to New York this week to give a two-minute pitch about my memoir to some 200 event planners from an array of North America’s JCC’s and synagogues. (Think speed dating for 262 authors and 200 or so book bookers.)

Right before the pitch session, I went to the bathroom, where I first bent over to wipe the toilet seat, at which my red reading glasses fell from their post in my cleavage into the toilet bowl. I don’t think the 10-second rule applies in this case, so I quickly fished them out and washed them off with a lot of soap.

This of course got me thinking about one of my common ruminations: What would be the cutoff value of an item for me to retrieve it from a public toilet?

Just how far—or how deep—would I go?

Clearly the answer is a ratio of preciousness of the sunken treasure to grossness of the latrine. [scatological alert]

This nasty thought occurs most frequently when I am either in the worst kind of public bathrooms in China (the most delicate picture I can give is a gutter with bare-bottomed women squatting one behind the other) or using a Port-a-John at, say, the huge grassy mall area near the Smithsonian museums in DC.

Usually my first picture of an imagined something plunking into the muck is the ring that my second ex-husband’s mother had had made for me with her grandfather’s exotic pearl (I’m not sure why her grandfather had a pearl) as an engagement ring. It’s quite a beautiful ring that I would love one of my daughters to have.

Worrywart Public Toilet MishapI cannot answer whether or not I would dive in to get the ring. I think with a plastic baggie on my hand it might be okay. Ugh, but how to clean all the little crevices? I just don’t know.

Generally I live most in fear of losing information, such as my to-do list. But notes like that would be soaked and soiled beyond recognition.

After the pitch I told one of the “bookers” what had happened to my glasses, and she said, “When my daughter was little, I always wondered what would happen if she were to fall into a Port-a-John and whether I would go in to fish her out.”

I’m never sure if I should be pleased or dismayed that someone has come up with a more neurotic scenario than I have ever dreamt up.

How far—or how deep—would you go . . . and for what?


Confessions of a Worrywart: Husbands, Lovers, Mothers, and Others

Check it out on, Kindle, and Smashwords

Readers of all ages will relate to this deeply personal story, told with comical sensibility by a quirky, startlingly honest mother, daughter, ex-wife, and dog lover, who—à la Nora Ephron—will feel like a dear friend. Confessions of a Worrywart: Husbands, Lovers, Mothers, and Others will stay with you long after you finish reading it. (adapted from Amazon description and culled from Amazon reviews)

The perfect book for worrywarts or anyone who enjoys a “neurotic, hilarious, poignant,” deeply personal story.


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