Living in Atlanta has many benefits. For starters there is ample entertainment, it’s sort of like New York without the attitude. Good restaurants are in mass quantity and in a short 30 minutes you can literally be in the middle of nowhere.
Atlanta also boasts the world’s largest aquarium and its busiest airport. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International has more passengers and flights moving through its concourses annually than any other which is quite nice when that means your last layover was in 1994.
But as often the case with size comes chaos, the airport’s building engineer’s attempts to create as much retail space as structurally possible means that public restrooms are a football field apart and side-by-side. And unlike most facilities that have the male/female humanoid prominently displayed for easy recognition, theirs are located high atop the entrance out of most people’s field of view, unless they’re 7’6”.
It was a sunny Tuesday morning, I was heading out of town for business and had just negotiated my way through the cluster that is security and baggage check and was at my gate with plenty of breath remaining. Then as is common around 9AM nature cried out and I proceeded to the 25-yard line to answer her call.
As I walked in, the restroom was completely empty, though strange I paid little attention and considering the nature of my visit this gave me a level of comfort – I am not an actor for many reasons. Once I was securely fastened and began aimlessly looking around I couldn’t help but notice how clean it was with the faintest hint of Juicy Couture lingering in the air. I was now very impressed with the cleaning crew and wondered if they offered home service.
As the meeting continued I anticipated my privacy interrupted by a cacophony of burps, farts, and wizzles as the next 747 de-boarded. And soon enough my fears were validated as a herd of footsteps ensued outside my door. In the stall to my right appeared a pair of smaller than normal pink Nike’s – that’s a bit odd but apparently there are gay midgets, I thought to myself.
Then as if thrust into another world I began to hear voices, not those of husky brutes talking of last night’s game or the hot flight attendant, but the sound of complaints about ankle pain, high heel shoes, and panty hose.
Then it suddenly hit me.
As the realization of my circumstance set in my heart started to race and sweat beaded on my brow.
Holy sh*t! I am in the women’s restroom!
I sat there in stunned amazement at my moronic behavior, replaying how I could have possibly mistaken the men’s restroom at the world’s busiest airport of all places? Then my mind really started spinning, when a man is faced with this type of situation several questions surface.
Who am I going to see naked?
What do I say if someone knocks on the stall door?
How do I get out of here without getting arrested?
Since I was traveling for business calling the Queen to save me was not an option. My second thought was to announce, as innocently as possible, that I’m a dude and an idiot and have mistakenly walked into the wrong restroom. But who would believe anyone could be that stupid?
My remaining option was to time my escape perfectly, make a mad dash and pray that no one notices the suited pervert heading towards the exit. Noticing the urge that put me in this predicament had suddenly disappeared, I mentally and physically prepared myself for action.
I was waiting for my window of opportunity, when the shuffling of feet was at its lowest and all the stalls appeared empty. My life flashed before my eyes as I grabbed my luggage, donned my jacket, and assumed a sport-ready stance. If I had any probability of avoiding embarrassment and potential jail, my timing must be as precise as a orchestra conductor. The only unsolvable was the off chance of someone walking as I was in mid-escape, but at this point I just had to roll with it.
The moment finally arrived as the place sounded empty, so like Criss Angel performing slight of hand I quickly turned the latch, slid through the open door, and made an Olympic worthy bolt towards the portal. Glancing to my left I spot a lone woman cleaning her glasses and instantly my heart quickens even more as I raise my hand to cover my face hoping she wouldn’t notice the violator in her midst.
Turning the corner, I head for daylight and throw up a little prayer that no feminist-man-hater would be making her way this direction. As my feet step off the tile and onto the concourse carpet I let out a sigh of relief as I am once again in unisex territory.
I hurriedly walk over to the gate and collapse on the nearest 60’s style bench offering up more prayers of thanks for not being handcuffed on the back of a golf-cart right now. Immediately I call the Queen to share my mishap and while sympathetic to my plight I think she’s still laughing as I type these words.
I’ve flown out of this airport many times since my lavatory incident but I’m quick to triple-check exactly which restroom I’m walking into now. So think of me if you’re ever at Hartsfield and remember to look up when you gotta go.