My nemesis has made his rather unsavory reappearance. Yep, the infamous shitting cell-phone guy is back. My foray into the bathroom was made uncomfortable by this most unwholesome of creatures. He's in the corner stall ... the one allocated for the disabled. He's saying things like "Right, that's what I told him." and "Uh huh .... huh". I'm there at the urinal wondering to myself how is he doing this? The logistics of the whole thing have me baffled. Maybe he has one of those headsets. But then, where is he placing the phone itself? It's not as if there is a shelf in the toilet stall.
I've always had the strangest things happen in bathrooms. In the Army, it seemed to happen with alarming frequency. At my training school in Ft. Huachuca, Arizona, when you first arrive, you don't have leave to go into town. So for the first few weeks, you're pretty much confined to the post movie theater and bowling alley. There is a TV room in the barracks though, so you spend most of your Friday and Saturday nights in there. I never thought that a Friday or Saturday night in the bathroom would be so adventuresome. You'd walk in and see 2 sets of feet sticking out from under the bathroom and the nervous hushes of some guy and a girl giggling. My God, at least go outside (it's Arizona; it's almost never cold).
The worst experience was when I had been sent on Temporary Duty, TDY, to Ft. Hood, Texas. The Army was trying out a huge multi-million dollar waste of money that supposedly would do some amazing things with imagery. I went with a warrant officer (WO) and a staff sergaent (SSG). I was the lowly private first class (PFC). I should've known it was going to be bad when I arrived because the WO and the SSG had reserved rooms ahead of time at the post billets (sort of a hotel for visiting GI's) but hadn't reserved one for me. Billets was full and the only room available for a lowly PFC was out at West Ft. Hood barracks. West Ft. Hood had been an Air Force post, but the Air Force had condemned the barracks. So the Army moved in the next day. Now, my understanding of this TDY was that I would stay in Ft. Hood and do whatever was needed of me and the SSG was to go to the field site. No, no ... not quite. The SSG went out that first night on post, met some young hottie at the Non-Commissioned Officers club and decided he was going to stay at post for the next 10 days. So guess who now has to go to the field???? Lowly me, lowly PFC. This all happens within a few hours. The next morning after arriving when I awake at 6 AM, the WO and the SSG are there to pick me up and inform me I'm now the one going out to the National Training Center in the middle of California's Mojave Desert. I have certainly not packed to to go the field, I didn't bring my kevlar, I didn't bring my long johns (the desert gets cold at night in Feb.), I didn't bring wool socks (I brought cotton socks). About the only thing I had were uniforms and my field jacket. So the supply sergaent (SGT) there at West Ft. Hood scrounges up everything I need in a matter of a 1/2 hour and within 3 hours, I'm on the tarmac at the airfield loading onto a chartered plane to fly us to California.
So my bathroom experience there was probably the worst I ever had. I spend 10 days out in the middle of the Mojave; sweating like a fiend during the day, freezing at night. We didn't shower and our "bathroom" consisted of whatever bushes or scrub you could find and a shovel. On the 10th day, we go back into the main post. Now, the post has a deployment site for troops heading into the field or returning from it. At the site is this shower set up and toilets. The set up is not quite a building. It's one of those open air building where there is a wall that doesn't reach all the way up to the ceiling leaving a 3 foot gap just above head level. Your choice of water in the showers is either cold or scalding hot. So I opt for the scaldig hot shower; so hot I can only take about 5 minutes of it before I decide it's better to be a bit dirty than to have my flesh bubbling up.
However, this wasn't the worst experience at the NTC. Nope. See, in that same building are the toilets. A whole long line of toilets ... probably 15 or 20 in all in a row. With no stalls. Just an open line of toilets. So after 10 days and eating way too many field rations which are designed to keep you from becoming too regular, nature beckons and I must answer. So I walk into the building and there isn't a soul in site. So I take a seat about 3 or 4 toilets from the entrance and start to do my business.
Then another guy walks in. I sorta recognized him from the deployment site as one of the guys in the field with us. He has this thick Appalachian accent and he seems like a decent enough guy. So he decides to "cop a squat" ..... right next to me. To my horror of course. For fuck's sake, there are a good 11 or so toilets to my left but he decides to sit next to me. It's bad enough there aren't stalls, but he decides that in order to speed his process along, some conversation will do the trick. I'm stunned because 1. He sat right next to me despite the fact there are plenty of toilets to my left; and 2. He wants to talk to me while I'm doing my business. I oblige as best I can, and near the end of the conversation, I remember this .....
Toilet Guy: That dinner we had sure was good.
Me: Yeah, it's pretty cool they decided to whip out some steaks for our last night.
Toilet Guy: Yeah but that isn't what I was hugry for. I've got a taste for somethin' else.
Me: No? ... Eeerrr, ummm, well, what did ya want instead?
Toilet Guy: I tell you what, I could really go for a mess of squirrel right about now.
At this point, it is certainly time to go. I have to finish all the post downloading ceremonies and get the hell out of there. I think that experience has scarred me for life and I will always have to have my own bathroom!!!