The Coffee Shop

October 14, 2008

in Stories

So you’re sitting in a coffee shop. An independent one, with a personality. Like your very own caffeinated Cheers.

“Truncation-of-your-name!” the barista says as you walk in, already preparing your Americano with room for cream. You chit-chat with her, perhaps not as wittily as Norm does with Sam, and you get your frequent sipper card stamped.

You set up your laptop and check some emails. After awhile, the coffee starts doing its thing, waking up all parts of your body as it moves through your digestive tract. Hello, Large Bowel!

You go to the stall-less bathroom and do your business. No big deal. And, I literally mean, no big deal.

Are you with me?

You press the flusher and the toilet does its filling thing. And it keeps doing its filling thing and keeps doing its filling thing, but without doing its draining thing. As the water level rises, so does your panic.


You scoop your bag off the floor (even though it’s way in the corner and most likely out of harm’s reach) and step awaaaaay from the commode, to protect your new gym shoes.

Now. What do you do?

(Hypothetically, of course.)

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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Wordgirl April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

Oh my GOD — I’d be totally all about the deniability — or maybe even — “um barista — did you know that the bathroom, um, has an issue????”And on a sidenote I too am an Americano with cream — when I’m not into the soy latte that is…XOPam


My name is Andy. April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

Hypothetically…. RUN! Grab your stuff, maek a beeline and hope the next guy gets blamed.


MrsSpock April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

LOL…hope no one else is in the john and run like hell!


Momma, The Casual Perfectionist April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

At a private residence, I whip that toilet-tank lid off the back so fast and pull up that flapper-thingy like it’s nobody’s business! That way, the water doesn’t actually leave the bowl and go all over the floor. Ya gotta be quick, though.In a public place, if the toilet is too confusing to figure out how to stop it and/or I don’t feel like dealing with it, I run! But, I’d go tell The Management that there is an issue “in one of the other stalls”…implying I had nothing *cough* to do with it. ;)


chicklet April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

In a public place, I run. In my boyfriend’s house when I was 15, I used their white towels to sop things up. They didn’t understand when I went straight from the bathroom to their laundry room and started doing their towels…


luna April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

you mean after you laugh so hard it hurts? deniability and run like hell if you can be anonymous. but in this situation I think wordgirl’s suggesting to play dumb or feign innocence might be the way. that is, if you, er, I mean whoever, hasn’t been in there for 10 minutes already…if the coffee is strong, that probably happens all the time anyway…I can remember a time when a hypothetical couple I know had to tell the front desk at a small hotel the same thing, with a straight face, and it was hard to put on that innocent face (gee, I wonder how THAT happened!?).yikes!


Furrow April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

I am always the NEXT GUY and feel like the employees never believe me when I tell them that the bathroom is flooded and was ALREADY flooded when I went in there. Now I know who to blame.


Melissa April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

RUN.. and look for a new coffee joint. ;o)


Phoebe April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

The question is, what did you do? Hypothetical my arse!


beagle April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

I like the (already suggested) pretend it was the other guy/gal approach.


niobe April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

Sounds like something that would happen to me.


Mrs.X April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

I would first hyperventilate anticipating what kinds of disgustingness are about to flow out onto the floor. Then I would regroup and look for either a plunger that I would be extremely ineffective using or I would look for the water switchoff valve in the hope that that works. I am not a plumber!If that fails, I would run out of there and find someone with the staff, tell them what’s happening and that you tried to stop it, but like Old Faithful, it was just going to erupt. The better question is, what did YOU do?


Amber April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

You’ve been spying on me again.HAVEN’T YOU???!!!! :-)


Ms. Planner April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

This is EXACTLY why I cannot bring myself to do that in a public restroom. ;) you are a brave soul


Melissa April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

Okay so knowing that it is irreplaceable I gather you are willing to be known by said barista (and all other employees) as The Bathroom Flooder? The thought of getting the hairy eyeball from them every time you use the facilities will not phase you?Hypothetically speaking, of course..


mary elizabeth April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

OMG! if it were as bad as you (hypothetically) said-you’d HAVE to fess up. especially considering you LOVE the place. after all–we are all human and these things do happen. although this has never (yet) happened to me-it sure sounds like it would have. i’d probably have fessed up-but perhaps i am just too much the catholic guilt gal!


Topcat April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

Lori, I don’t know what was funnier. Your post, or the comments.I would calmly walk back to my laptop and sip my (soy) latte. Waiting for all hell to break loose. Feigning innocence with a secret smile.XOX


battynurse April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

If it has a tank on the back you pull the top off and hold up the little ball thing for a while as that will at least stop the filling so it doesn’t go over. Wait for it to slowly drain and then exit, maybe stopping at the counter and quietly wispering hey I just went in the bathroom and someone hadn’t flushed so I tried and the toilet looked like maybe it was clogged.


Geohde April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

Oooh-eeeUm.Well, I don’t do number two’s in public stalls- I hate the thought that the next person in knows what I’ve been doing!I guess run as fast as I can and deny all and any knowledge of the problem?J


Lollipop Goldstein April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

I just think you’re brave for posting this story :-)


excavator April 7, 2010 at 1:06 am

I can’t talk. I’m squeezing liquid out of every orifice–HAHAHAHAHAHAHAI think Gilda Radner could have spun…um, GOLD, from this.So hypothetically, what would this hypothetical person have done?Hmmmmm?hahahahahaahaha


CherLiquori April 7, 2010 at 5:01 am

I’m with Furrow.

Any good stories out there about the bad ole days when tampons were ‘flushable’. As a teen, I thought they were….until I clogged the toilet at the parent’s house of my boyfriend on my first visit and they had to call a plumber.

I can just hear the dispatcher: “Hey Ralph, it’s another ‘white rat’ call!!”

I’m also an Americano with room.

[am I out of the dog house now?]


Lavender Luz April 7, 2010 at 1:05 am

What if, hypothetically, your laptop was set up over there and a speedy getaway was not possible?And, did I mention, you reallllly love this place, and consider it irreplaceable?Pam — yet another thing for us to (hypothetically) share when we meet.Chicklet — your stories hypothetically inspire me.Luna — does the hypothetical me know the hypothetical them?CP — very useful information. Tucking it away.


Kathy November 1, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Here from the future via Time Warp Tuesday and LOL at your “hypothetical” post and all of the hilarious comments! This is the perfect post for you to have chosen for this week’s theme of “comic relief!”

I am such a goody two-shoes and have such a conscience, that I most likely would have gone right to an employee and told them exactly what happened (as quickly as possible) and asked for their help!

As an aside, I am fascinated that some of your commentors don’t ever go #2 in public places. It has never occurred to me not to. But I guess I can see why some might not be comfortable doing so.

Thanks for the laugh! Heading back to the future to comment on your present day post reflecting on this one! :)


Esperanza November 2, 2011 at 10:58 pm

There was just something on twitter about this during Halloween. It went something like: I’m not afraid of ghost or goblins, I’m afraid of flushing the toilet at a friend’s house and watching the water level rise and keep rising. That is a truly harrowing site.


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