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bathroom rights

The tippy Port-o-Potty in Hickory, NC. Image via DG Studios

North Carolina Bathroom Rights #1: Don’t fall in.

North Carolina gets heat for its bathroom rights law.

They lose visitors like Bruce Springsteen and events like the NBA All Star Game.

It’s that important to them.

Big money people can skip North Carolina and take the financial hit better than us small fries.

No one wants anyone’s rights violated, but a scheduled trip with no refunds is a trip to take.

Still, it’s important to respect, to show respect, where ever you go.

Jokes about catheters aren’t so funny after you cross the state line with Tennessee in the rear view mirror.

My plan was keeping my mouth shut and paying attention to where I was.

It was a good plan until Hickory.Since it was my first time in North Carolina, and a Sunday, I didn’t expect an entire town to be deserted.

It looked like a Charlton Heston’s plague movie. No one anywhere.

I pulled off the freeway to find a furniture wholesale warehouse, skipping a rest stop since we’d be in the store soon enough.

But the parking lot was empty, the roads empty, and no one anywhere.

Sunday is the day of rest and stay at home, and there we were, wife and I.

Bathroom rights are part of a discussion until you need to find a bathroom and everything is closed. Then it’s not theoretical.

I circled the town, drove through the center, looking for a fast food place, a coffee place, an open store. Anything.

Finding nothing, I wasn’t about to barge into a church for the bathroom.

This image from my home bathroom, sort of an inside joke, made me laugh, but not too hard.

bathroom rights

Before giving up and heading back on the freeway for a rest stop, I passed by the sani-can in a deserted ball field parking lot in the top image.

North Carolina bathroom rights issues got personal

But it was messy inside with a funky floor, which added to the ambiance of bugs buzzing in the trees.

Did I mention the heat? Hot and muggy outside and about twenty degrees more inside.

Like every experienced outhouse patron, I knew what to do. It’s called a ‘long sit’ where you stand far enough away from the toilet seat and sort of drop back.

This keeps your shorts from dragging the floor.

I slammed the seat to shake any spiders lose, counted internally, one, two, three, and sat back.

Before continuing, look at the top image again. This port-o-potty sits on an edge.

When I sat back it started tipping over.

My wife saw it tip, heard my high pitched squeal, and yelled out, “What’re you doing in there?”

I saw a vision of a nasty colored tsunami, a wall of little league doodle surrounding me while I lay flat backed in an upended hell.

Only the most vigorous athletic skills, not something you usually need at this time, corrected the tip and brought the whole structure level.

That’s a lot going on in a few seconds.

The only thing I can compare the experience to is a Tilt-A-Whirl carnival ride before it takes off, where the carny gives you a spin after locking you in.

I got out safe and sound, but one thing stuck: in a state debating bathroom rights, how would I explain to the firemen, policemen, ambulance, and emergency room staff, what the hell just happened when they brought me to the hospital stained blue head to toe?

The discussion over bathroom rights is one thing; falling in, or the bathroom falling on you, is a whole ‘nother talk.

North Carolina has plenty to work with and work on.

They can prop up anything, but this outhouse ought to be at the top of the list.

About David Gillaspie


  1. Alex Paul says:

    Disaster avoided! Glad you survived. I can just see the news, “Killer bathroom claims third victim in week.” “City says they really must do something about bathroom rights, as in upright.” “Wife stunned, flies home, plans return for funeral once husband restored to natural color. I’ve heard of turning blue when you drown, says wife, but this is over the top being tipped over.” The city has been contacted by the victim’s estate’s attorney and a lawsuit is planned. “We’re not liable, the city attorney said. This port a potty works just fine for small little league players. He had no right to be in there!” The ACLU plans to join the plaintiff’s case, saying everyone has a right to use a bathroom which won’t try and kill them.

    • David Gillaspie says:

      Hi Alex,
      You rendered my fears of drowning in a blue pool of filth and the aftermath nicely. The whole experience felt like theater, a play I didn’t want to star in, but the star never gets the early out. Supporting actor role means Elaine would have been the big shot.

      I had no idea the bugs were so damn noisy over in North Carolina. Drive down the freeway with the window down and you still hear them. It’s sort of nightmare quality you probably get used to, like living under a flight path.

      Alex, you’ve added to the literary blog canon of outhouse events.

      Thanks man,



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