A while back I was at the airport in Hamburg desperate for a bathroom, when I realized that perhaps technology has evolved past my capabilities. They say technology will be our downfall. I feel like it’s already started.
This bubble bathroom with automatic doors was the first restroom I found. It’s actually quite cool and futuristic, but only when the lock function is working. I pressed the only button I could find. It opened the door, but to my horror some poor old lady already occupied the toilet. She looked up at me in shock, her pants around her ankles. There was obviously no way to make this less awkward. I just stood there gaping, all too aware of the MANY people behind me. I am not too great in a crisis apparently.
Then I just kept repeating, “Sorry” over and over and over, desperately pushing the only button available with increasing ferocity.
At this point, the woman just shrugged her shoulders and went back to doing her business as if half the airport wasn’t watching (they were, how could they not). Good god, I admired her in this moment. Her lack of shame, however, increased mine tenfold. I have this annoying trait of over compensating. I could feel the heat rising in my face. I had a decision to make: Clean up my mess or flee. Luckily, the door saved me from a decision and decided to close, but I didn’t wait for it to finish before I sprinted as far away as possible.
Later, I couldn’t help but think how I would have reacted completely differently in her position. Then again, she was probably German, and they are pretty much desensitized to public nudity. Being in a public German swimming pool locker room will either cure you of any embarrassment you have about your own naked body and others or scar you for life.