An Open Letter to the Lady Who Knocked Three Times on the Bathroom Door of the MLK Blvd. Starbucks at 2:47PM on Sunday, November 17th.

Hello

We don’t know one another. We’re desperate, disparate motes of bio organic fuel for a system so big that we will never understand it. If we’re lucky, we’ll die somewhere an animal can eat us and where mushrooms will grow. And yet, we have had an impact on one another.

As one given to stomach problems from time to time (something ol’ grampy called the Thunderstums but I call indigestion), I was greatly relieved to find a Starbucks near where I was planning to meet my girlfriend for our one year anniversary date. We were going to get Indian food and watch Thor 2: The Dark World. We joked about Chicken Tanthori. A good chuckle was had by all.  Though I like to support local coffee shops with free range splenda and organic baristas, I admit I’m comforted by the anonymity of America’s favorite (but Seattle’s 2nd best) coffee. Especially when I need to drop trou and crank one.

Yes, indeed, cranking was on the menu. What can I say? I eat food and, if I’m lucky, I digest it. My body extracts the nutrients and the rest of it? That’s really none of my business so I get rid of it through my butt hole.

When I entered the Starbucks, you were arguing with the clerk and, in order to be totally transparent, I feel I should mention you had a service dog1 with you. I couldn’t determine why. I hope to illustrate through this missive that you were not an asshole because of whatever condition afforded you a hero animal companion but that you are an asshole AND you had a hero animal companion.

I took the bathroom key and made my way to do my dirty, sinful business. Inside, I also took two Aleve brand headache Aleve-iators and read a bit from my kindle. If the local news got a hold of this, a suggestive headline might be something like, “Local dipshit prevents disabled mother of some from using bathroom so he could do drugs and read about insanity.”

Is Vice hiring? “We got Gary Butterfield to do drugs in a Starbucks bathroom and tried to make him go mad while a woman and dog watched.”

Here are 20 gifs from Modern Family that express exactly what a disabled woman was feeling when Gary Butterfield used drugs in a Starbucks bathroom that she wanted to use.”

I did my business, I read The King in Yellow. And then: Knock knock knock.

This door had a clever little sign on it that showed that the bathroom was occupied. In fact, you could say it was lockupied. There were indeed three signs that showed that someone was in the bathroom. Let’s go through them chronologically.

  • You saw me take the key and go into the bathroom. Now, I know I previously established that you had a service animal. However, I also observed you observing things with your eyeballs. If you did have impaired vision, I imagine your other super senses would have heard the jingling of the keys, smelled my footsteps and tasted my sweaty palm upon the handle.
  • You saw the clever little sign that said occupied. Now, assuming, as I did in point one, that you could see, then for this point to work, I  must make another assumption: that you can read. I don’t want to flaunt my privilege in any way. But the word occupy is framed by an angry red color that communicates Grrr, Don’t Open, Human! or at the very least: danger. Or This Place is not a place of honor. No highly esteemed deed is commemorated here. Nothing valued is here. This place is a message and part of a system of messages. Pay attention to it! Sending this message was important to us. We considered ourselves to be a powerful culture.
  • Also, you tested the handle. Can’t blame you for this in case you didn’t pay attention to the other signs or didn’t see them.  But it was locked. And if a bathroom door is locked, someone is in it. Bathroom doors that lock from the outside are only found in the stuff of nightmares and in the stuff of Nightline: Our Haunted, Abusive Nursing Homes.

I feel like any one of these signifiers should have dissuaded you from knocking. Does anyone like hearing a loud knock while expelling human waste? Any sort of waste, really. Is anyone just cool with it? Is anyone so comfortable expelling waste out of a butted hole that a sudden, Crash Boom Thwok is welcome? I think not.

So that put a damper on my romantic day, just a bit. Also, Thor 2 isn’t as good as the first one. Why did the Asgardians use blasters from star wars? What was up with the science sticks that Not Quite Aubrey Plaza was placing everywhere? If they had to be placed at specific points, why could they just toss them into Two Face at the end there?

Dinner was pretty good though.

Anyway, so, it wasn’t just that you knocked once. you knocked again. And then again. Did you expect the state of the bathroom to change? Like an atom when a science person looks at it? Did you expect I had somehow made a stealthy exit? I have yet to see a Starbucks bathroom with an emergency exit. I suppose I could have crawled through the vents like Solid Snake, ashamed of my bio disaster. But no, I just sat there, getting increasingly uncomfortable. I wasn’t able to complete my goals. And unlike an incumbent president, I couldn’t seek a second term. My time was done.

So I exited, Thunderstums in tow and you huffed on in to do whatever it is ladies do with toilets. It could have ended here. And I realize that there is another side to this story. That your Thunderstums are just as pressing as mine and that the only thing separating us is that I kept my eyes on the prize (toilet) and you were too busy berating some poor soul who presumably has to keep latte quotas and meet french press quarterly success initiatives. We were like two ships passing in the night, each with a sniper on board that fired an inconvenience gun.

But when I was waiting outside for my girlfriend and you exited, you spilled your coffee. Oops! Happens to all of us. But then you blamed your dog! I sat and watched you dress down this dog for your own mistake. You were mean! This was terrible! It wasn’t the dog’s fault, jerk. I know this by following a trail of breadcrumbs that starts with the fact that the dog was a dog and ends with the fact that dogs are generally dogs. In between these two breadcrumbs it’s worth noting that it was a service dog so I know it was exceptionally well trained AND I watched you spill your own coffee just like everybody does.

So, as I waited and watched this poor little scrappy pup stare at you with big dog like eyes, I realized you are an asshole. Maybe you were having a bad day, maybe you’re not always like that but November 17th, year of our lord 2013, you were a royal cunt.

Love,

Gary

PS: What’d you think of Thor 2? That Guardians of the Galaxy teaser is weird and confusing.
1 How did I know this was a service animal? If you’re ever trying to figure out if a dog in a Starbucks is a service animal and not just some Portlander disrespecting the concept of hygiene, here’s a simple tip: Look for the vest!