...I was once caught in the women's restroom by accident. I had an emergent bowel condition and rushed into what I thought to be the correct, gender specific, facility. I had just sat down for the job, when two children entered the restroom. I should add that kids do not go into the bathroom to actually use the bathroom. They go in to play, to run the water, to press the hand dryer button repeatedly, and to make plans. They treat the stall as a boardroom or clubhouse, where extensive child related plans are laid out.
As I listened to these children's antics, I noticed something strange about the voices. They were awfully high pitched. Why would little girls be in the men's room, I wondered.
I was still focused on the task at hand when I cleared my throat. As I did, the children stopped talking. Then I heard whispering. That's when I became concerned. What if I was in the wrong place? Were there urinals? Had I distinctly seen urinals? I was starting to sweat. This could be bad. This could be very bad.
It was winter and I had my coat hanging over the latch on the door. It covered the crack between the door so no one could see in. I moved the coat slightly. Peeking out I noticed two very effeminate boys. They were boys right?
When I finished, I really had no choice. I had to leave the stall. I stepped out, unafraid. I walked to the sink to wash my hands.
"What are you doing in here," they asked in unison. Holy shit, these are girls, I thought.
I felt queasy. What was I supposed to say, that I'm dumb? That I can't read signs on bathroom doors? That I'm from another country where unisex restrooms are the norm? My mind raced for a moment.
"I'm supposed to be here. I'm with public works, sanitation, the toilet bureau. They pay me to test these facilities." I said this in a very official tone.
"They pay you to poop?" one girl asked.
"Yes," I said, gravely serious, "everywhere I can."