The campground bathroom is a gathering place for the tent people. From pop up campers with comfy cots to tiny one person tents, there is a certain sense of community among the users of the campground bathroom. When my parents got married, Mom insisted that if she were to go camping, there must be a toilet. I know why.
Last weekend we stayed overnight at the Fish Creek Campground in Glacier National Park. The toilet nearest to our campsite was closed for construction so everyone in our loop was forced to share a bathroom.
Before leaving for the ranger talk, I mentioned “the bathroom incident” to Mom, who said that she would bring it up to the ranger so that someone would clean up the mess. My sister and I sat in the back corner of the amphitheater, trying to keep a low profile. Instead our seclusion only made us more noticeable.
After the talk, I went to see what they had done to the bathroom. The toilet seat still had spatters of blood, but in the other stall there were no bloody footprints. Making sure that no one was around to see me, I took a photo of the toilet.
After spending the evening relaxing by the lake and roasting marshmallows, it was once again time to make a trip to the bathroom. Eileen slipped on Dad’s headlamp and we giggled loudly all the way to the bathroom. Blinding people with headlamps is great fun, by the way. In the restroom was a woman and her daughter brushing their teeth. I proceeded to brush my hair and teeth when the woman’s elderly mom emerged from a stall. A weird buzzing noise broke the silence. I whirled around, looking for a swarm of angry flies.
The old lady said, “Yep, it’s my brains rattling. Yes, they’re there. Deeply buried but they’re there,” as she used a battery operated toothbrush to clean her teeth. I laughed, and turned away from the small woman. She commented on Eileen’s headlamp saying how she loved to read with hers. Last night she’d been reading and the battery ran out.
After telling the other users of the bathroom goodnight, we retired to our tents and eventually fell asleep. My slumber was only disturbed by the sound of our next door neighbor puking.
I crawled out of my tent in the morning looking horrible and trooped supplies in tow to the bathroom to get pretty for my day. Eileen joined me but not for long because she saw a bunch of moths all over the mirror. I was surprised to see a woman straightening her hair. Her flat iron was plugged into an outlet in the wall. Next time I go camping I’ll bring mine…if I’m allowed by then. (I have damaged hair from straightening it every day and have been forbidden to use my iron for the past two months.) Eileen shouted from outside to capture each moth and get rid of it. I refused and tried to convince her to overcome her fear and come get ready. The woman straightening her hair chuckled.
I was just finishing getting beautified when I heard a sharp rapping at the door. A woman in a stall yelled, “Okay, just a sec!”
I thought maybe it was my sister banging on the door and opened it. I looked in her direction and said, “Was that you banging on the door?”
From behind I heard a man’s voice saying, “No. It’s us.” I whirled around to see the cleaning men carrying supplies and looking rather agitated.
“Oh,” I said.
“We’re trying to get people out so we can get in.”
I ran back into the bathroom to put on some lip-gloss. The woman from the stall walked up and said, “Was it like cleaning people or something?”
“Yeah,” I responded, surprised that she had knowingly yelled at cleaning people like that. The woman had obviously slept in her blue eye shadow as it was smeared all over her face. She began to wash her hands.
I snatched my cosmetics bag and ran out of the bathroom. The cleaning men thanked me gruffly as I headed back to our campsite.
So you see, campground bathrooms are more than just a place to relieve yourself. They have the spirit of tent camping; a spirit of adventure. We tent people really live life.
Visit Mallory’s blog at Blue Pencil Diaries
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