|Clean and working? This looks promising!|
It's a hot summers day in 1977. Your in the back seat of a '76 Chrystler wagon, fake wood paneling on the side. Some crap tune is playing on the AM dial. The windows are rolled down, the breeze providing little comfort to the oppressively muggy day. But none of that matters. All that matters is you have to go to the bathroom, like NOW. And there's only one option available: the gas station bathroom. *shudder*
If you shuddered in fear at this thought then you're obviously old enough to remember this ordeal. If not, then put down the pimple medicine junior and learn of the dark age of gas station bathrooms.
You see, unlike today's mini marts (gleaming grocery stores disguised as gas stations) the filling station of yesteryear was a dingy, dreary, wretched little hole that sold gas, soda, candy, cigarettes, and candy cigarettes. It was probably also a repair shop with a (equally dingy) garage. That's about it.
So what was it like? Buckle the fuck up and read on, brave soldier!
Your mom pulls the wagon into a gas station. It quite probably looks like this:
|While dirty and rundown, at least it has "character." Then again, Deliverance had, "character."|
She parks the car. You the notice the bathroom is on the outside (back in the day they were nearly always on the outside). So you head to the door and SURPRISE - it's locked. Well, your not really surprised. Of course it's locked. They were always locked, but you thought you'd try anyway. You thought, "Maybe, just maybe, today will be the day I don't have to go get..."
|Usually attached to a piece of lumber or iron to discourage theft. Good thinking!|
The Troll (sometimes referred to as: the attendant)
|Gas station attendant c.1950|
|The troll you need to get the key from|
Back in the 1950's the smiling gas station attendant would check your oil and wipe your windshield while he pumped your gas. By the time the 70's rolled around, the species had devolved (probably as a result of nuclear testing, scientists aren't sure) into a greasy haired, unkempt, rat-like troll man who communicated with grunts and mumbles; the smarter ones might know a few human words. I swear, gas station hiring guidelines must have demanded creepiness in their employees. "Your a former carney and rodeo clown? Welcome aboard, son!"
So, bravely you enter the station. The inside is dusty and smells like old oil mixed with stale smoke. A thin film of grime covers every surface. You cautiously approach the troll behind the counter. "Uh...can I have the key to th-" you start to say but the troll has noticed you. "HRSSE BLLARG NAKKR," he mumbles, thrusting the key in your face. You have it!
|Dah na na na!|
You approach the door: a stained battered unwelcoming gateway to hell. *WARNING: GEEK REFERENCE* If Tolkien had made this the door to Moria, then instead of "Speak Friend and Enter" the Elvish runes would read: "STFU and Get Fucking Lost." Trust me, what waits beyond this door is worse than anything Moria had to offer.
You turn the key and behold, the door opens! Do you know what stale urine on a hot day smells like? Good. Now imagine that odor as an air freshener trying desperately to cover up a much fouler stench and you'll have a good idea of what greets you as you open the door.
Indiana Jones was still a few years away but I'm convinced that Speilberg and Lucas found some inspiration in a place much like this; navigating the "rest room" was like the hidden cave in the opening of Raiders. Did you duck while entering? Good! You managed to avoid the large spider suspended at face level. Watch out for the sticky gum! Make sure to avoid the stagnant pond in the corner! Is that centipede dead? Best not think about it...
You are here! At last! Your eye on the prize! You win!!
As bad as this looks (and trust me, it looks very, very bad) it may soon be over! If:
- you only need to pee AND
- you have a penis,
if you do not meet either condition 1 or 2 above, then it's on to...
So, you've got a poopie or a coochie - or both. There's no getting around it; your flesh must come into contact with the toilet. Here's what you do, just wad up some paper towel...
Okay, so you grab some toilet paper...
|Fuckity, fuck fuck.|
...aw screw it! Maybe the seat isn't too dirty and we can just...
|guess again, fucker!|
Guess not. Well, it's back to the troll's lair...
You return to the troll and boy, is he ever happy to see you again! "WHKNE TEGH PROMBGL NHE?" he bleats. You tell him about the missing TP. After a few more mumbles he returns with a precious new roll.
Back to the can! Now your ready! The shit's about to go down. Literally.
So you wad up your paper, run it under some water (wait 'til the rust clears) add a little soap, and...WAKE UP FROM YOUR FANTASY! Did you really think there would be soap? You silly, silly little person. They NEVER have soap. EVER. There might be a soap dispenser but it will only be there to taunt you. It will certainly be empty.
So you take your sad little wet nap and wipe down the seat. It doesn't look much better. But at least you can tell yourself that you gave it a more thorough cleaning than it's likely had in months.
The next step is to tear strips of paper to put all around the seat to form a "butt shield." Now, at last your ready to take care of business. Finally, despite the flies, and the spiders and the stench and the unbearable suffocating heat, you are free at last! Time to enjoy the relief!
Wait...what's that? A plooper? ARGGHHHH!! The dirty toilet water has splattered me! ARRGHHHGRHHRHHHH! You die.
Well, that end the history lesson, kiddies. Remember this the next time you have to stop at your clean, air-conditioned mini mart to drop a deuce. Remember the brave souls who had to endure these conditions and be thankful for your good fortune.