Reader Contribution Du Jour Part I: My Oh My At The Y!
Very few topics are verboten for discussion at the junk shop. This was certainly the case at the junk shop last weekend when the subject of the stomach bug floating around here came up. Larry da Junkman got it. I did as well.
It was a less than pleasant experience. I could go into the particulars using color commentary but quite frankly I’d like to put the whole thing behind me (no pun intended). Besides George Diaz, a local celebrity of sorts and the brains behind Latino Laughter (as seen at the far left) gives a better description than I could ever hope muster.
What I found fascinating about George’s testimony about the havoc cumin wreaks on his digestive system (and rest assured the previous footage is but a fraction of it) is that none of the customers seemed to mind. They went about their quest for knick-knacks on the cheap undeterred. As I was filming the following gentleman recounting his worst gastronomical ailment one chap even asked me for the price of a small vase.
Yes, the ailment I have dubbed the “Greenpoint Gut Wrencher” is quite something. Perhaps the only thing worse than having it is encountering its aftermath in the men’s bathroom at the local Y.M.C.A. Which brings me to this.
Noel writes (in an email entitled “YMCA Accident”:
I came upon this delightful scene the other day it the Greenpoint YMCA gym basement.
I could extol upon the many fascinating (and downright repulsive) elements of this photograph —but I won’t. It pretty much speaks for itself. Rather, I would like to share an experience I had at the women’s bathroom at this very same establishment.
The year was 2001— or was is 2002? I had just completed my regimen of weight training and twenty minutes on the stair climber. Those of you who engage in this kind of routine on a regular basis can attest to the importance of proper hydration. To this end I had consumed well over a liter of water. I very much needed to go to the bathroom afterward.
The women’s dressing room at the Y.M.C.A. is for the most part no different than any other dressing room to be found at any other gym. Save perhaps it is disproportionately patronized by older Polish women who fancy water aerobics. The previous along with the fluorescent lighting, institutional green walls and stench of chlorine gave the place a curiously pre-Perestroika feel. As did the woeful lack of the following necessity: toilets. The Greenpoint Y.M.C.A.’s women’s locker room had two. One of which was usually desecrated beyond the point of any possible usefulness.
Call me a self-hating feminist. It has been my experience that women are the WORST offenders when it comes to dawdling in the bathroom. Sorry ladies. I don’t know what some of you do in there —and for the record I don’t want to know— I simply wish you’d do it a little faster. Some of us need to visit the bathroom for its intended purpose: to use the toilet.
Which is what I very badly needed to do on that fateful day. I stood and I waited. The sound of children splashing in the pool, showers running and sight of water puddles on the floor did not make this task very easy. The sight, sounds, and yes, smell of water were all around me. What’s more, I had a good liter more of the stuff in my bladder.
Someone was in the stall. This I knew. I heard the rustle of toilet paper. Things were looking encouraging. I heard the toilet flush. I became flush with excitement. Then nothing. I hear rustling. Then a little more rustling. I was getting fed up.
It takes a lot to move yours truly to snoop around the cracks of a toilet stall. Some people pay good money for this kind of thing. I am not one of them. But sometimes in the course of human events one needs to know what the fuck is going on no matter how distasteful the means might be. Yeah, I looked.
What I discovered was this: a 40-something woman whose physical description would be best described as “soccer mom” pulling a baggie of cocaine out of her purse. Then out came a plastic Bic pen cap*. Into the baggie it goes and up this woman’s nose it went. Whether or not this was a pre or post workout pick-me-up I do not know. In any case it strikes me as sort of being counter-intuitive to the concept of patronizing a health club—ACROSS THE STREET FROM A POLICE STATION. I could contain myself no more:
WOULD YOU PLEASE HURRY UP IN THERE SOME OF US NEED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!
I bellowed. Eventually she came out and I experienced sweet relief. To this day I still cannot get this image out of my mind. It is now and forever, for better or worse, ingrained in my memory.
*Whatever happened to having the proper accoutrements for one’s drug of choice? This is tantamount to swilling Dom Perignon out of a Dixie cup. Don’t do the vice if you can’t pay the price (of keeping up one’s appearances).