My Life as a Commode Connoisseur

in Culture Arts & Lifestyle/Opinion by

Comedy writer Tori Sundholm takes her trips to the bathroom very seriously.

Tori Sundholm | The Clarion

I pulled up to the Dunn Brothers on 3rd Ave and ordered my usual medium sweet chamomile tea. I’d become sort of a regular at this shop and the barista threw a soft smile my way. She probably thought I kept coming back because of the free tea refills or for the chairs upstairs that sitters sink into like a fire-roasted marshmallow about to morph into a s’more. While the refills and chairs are both perks, the true reason I frequent the shop is to use the best bathroom in the Twin Cities.

I judge a good bathroom on three main standards: light, heat and quality of toilet paper. Extra points are awarded for mirror size, cleanliness and air freshener scent. These are simple standards one would think come with our God-given public bathroom rights, but much like Bethel Wi-Fi, we aren’t actually promised anything. So when you find a public bathroom that passes all the tests, you never let it go.

If I had won the lottery, I would have created a fund to protect and preserve this historic Dunn Brothers bathroom. It’s got it all. Temperature set at a constant 73 degrees, toilet paper that makes you feel like the Charmin bear and a mirror that makes you look like Katy Perry. All while smelling like George Clooney after a fresh shave.

I recently found out people with Crohn’s, an inflammatory bowel disease, are all lying to us. They all have a secret in the form of a potty card. These potty cards can be thrown down at any public place and grants the person instant access into the nearest bathroom. It’s basically a royal flush wrapped into one, life-altering card. People with Crohn’s never have to deal with Jake from J.Crew saying he can’t offer you a bathroom when you know full well there’s a bathroom that looks like J.Lo’s dressing room right behind the wall of toothpick jeans.

No, people with Crohn’s slam their potty card down on Jake’s mahogany and crystal cash register and bang – an instant all-access jackpot into the cleanest and chicest bathrooms of the private world.

This potty card sounded like a dream and got me thinking, ‘What if I had a V.I.P. bathroom pass?’

So when the barista at Dunn Brothers handed me a key connected to a stained brown mini clipboard and explained they had to start locking the bathroom doors after a man broke the sink, causing sewage water to drip onto the manager’s desk in the basement – I thought I had made it.

I twisted the key, the creak of the door welcomed me home and I walked into the familiar, perfectly lit paradise with open brick walls and and a block window. A sensory activated puff of lemon breeze greeted me. I clutched my V.I.P. key and thought, this must be how Taylor Swift feels walking out to a Madison Square Garden sold out show.

My dream died after I had to hand the clipboard key over to the next girl in line for the best bathroom in the Twin Cities. It was hard to go back to everyday life after my out- of-body experience with an almost V.I.P. bathroom pass, but the next day I had to wait in line at one of my favorite Bethel bathrooms and I knew life had gone back to normal.

We all have that one Bethel bathroom designated for desperate situations. Don’t act like you don’t. There are about five great bathroom escapes in the buildings. For instance, the AC 300s bathroom by the English department can be a great choice, but you run the high chance of running into a respected English professor. But the AC 300s are number four on my list, at best. I would be crazy to reveal my top three. I’m not about to wait in line again and be reminded of the V.I.P. bathroom key I don’t have.

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Tori Sundholm leans on the bathroom door of Dunn Bro’s Coffee on 3rd St., Minneapolis, Mn., holding the VIP key to the women’s bathroom.

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