Monday, January 10, 2011

The Shot Heard 'Round the World

Where: The Safeway That Started it All, Louisville, KY.

It was just a gas station bathroom. You've been in many like it before: small, smelly, possibly infected with hepatitis. I wasn't expecting it to be anything special. I just stopped in on my way out of town.

What I found was so completely out of the norm that I busted into giggles. For months afterward, I found myself telling the story of this gas station bathroom I'd been in. That's when I knew I could no longer stay silent about the bathrooms in my life.

When I was five or six, I was really into stickers. I had a sheet of sparkly butterfly stickers which I stuck to my bedroom door (which, as you can imagine made my mom really mad.) Years later, once I had realized what a bad idea that was and wished to repaint, I had to scrape them off myself.

This bathroom reminds me a lot of that, except that instead of an unattended six-year-old, a bored Safeway employee (or an aesthetically advanced lady hobo) had put giant glittery butterflies, roses, and ivy all over. There were two kinds of butterflies used, meaning at least four packages of stickers contributed to this piece of genius. This was clearly not the work of a child, because no child could reach the ceiling.

It was equally clear that somewhere along the way someone had rethought the decision, because, as is visible in the pictures, most of the stickers had been partially removed. Finding an intact butterfly for the close-up took more than a cursory glance. Even the fixtures were covered. The toilet tank, soap dispenser, and mirror each had a hefty dose of cut-rate decorating.

Whenever you doubt that the world can still surprise you, remember that even a Safeway can have a hilarious portion of glittery magic at its disposal.

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