Why Public Bathrooms Scare Me

The school I attended K – 8 was an L Shape with classes lining either side and the hall running through the middle. One unassuming day in 5th grade I really really needed to pee by the time the final bell rang. So I walked out of my class across the hall and into the bathroom really fast. The teachers would usually lock the doors to the bathrooms from the hall so kids would not cut across the bathrooms to get out. But like I said this was a life or death peeing situation so I ran into the bathroom.

While I am sitting on the toilet I hear the door to the hall lock and I think no big deal glad I made it in time.

Then the worst sound echoed through the tiled walls. The door to the outside was locked as well.

I quickly finished up and ran to the doors and began pounding. The noise of 180 plus kids in the hall and out on the basketball court was drowning out my feeble attempts at hitting the door.

So I started yelling. Then tears started coming down my face.

This was 1995 people, I could not just whip out my cell phone and alert authorities to my plight.

I figured it would be hours before anyone realized I was missing. Then would they even think to find me in the upper girls bathroom at school.

Now you are probably thinking well 10 yr old Mrs. Hemborg surely someone was waiting to take you home right.

The thing was at this point if I needed a ride home I would find my grandmothers neighbor in the parking lot that was taking other kids home and then I would just go next door to my grandmas when she got home from work. So if I did not show up to her car within say 5 min she would assume I was taken care of and leave. Why no one in my fairly responsible family saw this as a problem I have no clue.

So there I am sitting on the floor of the school bathroom sobbing and the sounds outside are dying down. I figure I have to give it one more yelling and kicking at the door shot or else I really will spend the night there. (side note I was not necessarily a chubby kid but I was also getting worried about the lack of dinner!)

To my relief a teacher finally heard me and freed me from my bathroom hell.

Sadly this was after about 20 minutes in the bathroom so everyone I knew was long gone. I had to go into the school office and use their phone so my grandma could leave work and come and get me. (I called my grandma because she worked at a community college and could leave easier than my mom who worked at a doctor’s office)

Now if you can believe it, this happened to me twice. The second time luckily I was only in the bathroom for about 2 minutes before someone figured it out.

So now 16 yrs later I am very cautious of where and when I use public restrooms. I am also always announcing that I am going to go use the toilet (even in our studio apt.) which I am sure most people find odd but that was one damn scary experience!


6 thoughts on “Why Public Bathrooms Scare Me

  1. Crap!! That’s really scary! I’ve never been locked in a bathroom, thankfully. But what are the odds it would happen to you TWICE? Freaky.

    Also, I’m wigging because you were in 5th the year I graduated from high school. Crap!

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