An Open Letter to Anyone Who’s Ever Knocked on a Locked Bathroom Door at Starbucks

You’re having a bowel movement at Starbucks, when you hear a knock at the door. You yell out an apologetic “just a minute,” then try to evacuate your bowels as quickly as possible. But now that you’re forced to rush, you’ve got a dangler that won’t disengage. 

We’ve all been there. Each second ticks by with agonizing slowness, as your body holds you hostage on the public porcelain perch. The jerk on the other side of the door (we’ll call her Impatient Irene) knocks again, frantically, becauseshe probably has to poo too. But do you care? No. Before she knocked, you were trying to have a drama-free poo. But now she’s forced you to pinch-off an incomplete BM. Poop is literally falling out of your butt, but instead of working towards your mutually-beneficial goal of finishing up, all you can think is WHO THE HELL KEEPS KNOCKING?

Does that person out there think you’re in here chillin’ on the shitter playing Candy Crush? Are they afraid you’re dead? What do they think their incessant knocking will accomplish? Here’s a message to anyone who thinks monitoring a stranger’s toilet time will make them poop faster: congratulations, you are optimistic. 

Okay, so you finally finish and flush, the whoosh of the water signaling your imminent departure. You wash your hands, loudly, so Impatient Irene can hear you’re wrapping up. Then you pull some paper towels from the dispenser, also loudly. This most personal act of evacuation has become a public performance. The theme: Hello World, I’m Almost Done Using the Poop Room

You’re full of anger (how dare that person rush me!) and shame (how dare I take so long!), as you unlock the door. You see Impatient Irene standing there, her eyes full of urgency and desperation. And your anger suddenly melts away as you realize this stranger is about to poop into the same hole you just pooped in and life is horrifying. 

Which makes me wonder: perhaps we’re looking at this backwards? Instead of being angry at the Impatient Irenes and Grumpy Garys of the world, maybe we should celebrate them? All the Bathroom Door Knockers must realize nobody wants to hang out in a public john longer than we have to. Sitting there with our pants around our ankles, surrounded by overflowing trash bins, random pee puddles, and inexplicable footprints. Public restrooms are a literal nightmare. We aren’t there for fun, we’re there for function! 

Grumpy Gary must know that. Which means, if he knocked so desperately, in spite of all the literal signs that this room was OCCUPIED, he must be working on a DEFCON-1 level shit. His tummy’s on trial, and the only thing between his butt and a presidential pardon is this bathroom door. If he hasn’t already pooped his pants, it must be imminent. I’m starting to understand the Grumpy Garys and Impatient Irenes of the world. I’m starting to pity the pooper. 

At the end of the day, there’s a serious lack of empathy in the world. We’ve all had a moment where we had to poop at Starbucks so badly we couldn’t think straight. So let’s give Bathroom Door Knockers the benefit of the doubt from now on. Next time they knock, instead of being annoyed, let’s think of their knock as a gift. Their knock is a reminder that there are people out there even more full of shit than we are. And if we can all share a warm toilet seat together, maybe we’ll be okay.

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