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By Chris Vespoli

Dear Sir or Madam,

Well, let me be honest. You’re most definitely a man. That’s not to say I think the fairer sex inferior, and incapable of leaving a restroom in such disrepair, but the deplorable condition of this particular facility is undeniably due to the utter recklessness with which only the drunkest douchebag bros from Rockville Centre — or possibly Lynbrook — would comport.

I will start by conceding a few points. I realize that this bathroom is aboard a busy commuter train, and likely does not benefit from the regular upkeep a bathroom in a fast food restaurant, aeroplane, or even a rest stop gas station normally receives. With this in mind, I have tried to avoid Long Island Rail Road train bathrooms like the plague, but the extra-large Dunkin’ Donuts iced coffee I consumed before embarking on this day trip to Suffolk County has made my most concerted efforts futile. I also realize that, having taken the Long Island Rail Road on and off for many of my 30 years, I should have been well prepared for the putrid follies that awaited me in this, the only working restroom on the train, from the very moment I slid open the large, cumbersome door — like pulling back the curtain on the first act of some scatological tragedy staged in Hell. And yet, I am standing here with eyes wide and mouth agape, wanting to know just how you achieved the chaos that surrounds me.

To that end, I have a series of questions I would like to ask you.

Why is all of the toilet paper on the floor?

A few errant squares on the ground is to be expected in any public restroom, but please explain why you thought unrolling all of the paper from the roll like a big streamer was a good idea. Did you accidentally unroll too much? If so, you should reconsider how much force with which you unroll when tidying yourself. Also, you should have yourself checked for any neurological disorders, as I can only assume your arms must have been flailing uncontrollably as the result of some kind of seizure, based on the swirling pattern of the paper all over the room. Or perhaps you became angry at the toilet paper for some inexplicable reason? Any insight you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

How is it that the entire toilet seat is missing?

This one had me very perplexed. Never mind why you found it necessary to completely remove the toilet seat, or how you were able to do it without the proper tools. What I’d really like to know is how you managed to carry the toilet seat out of the bathroom without arousing the suspicions of the train staff or any of the other passengers. I suppose this is more a failure of public vigilance, but still, an explanation of your actions would be enlightening. 

What exactly is that odor I’m smelling?

One doesn’t expect a train bathroom to emit a pleasing scent, but one also doesn’t expect to not be able to identify its origins. For starters, what’s in here isn’t exactly a “smell.” It’s more of a pungent, enveloping stench — one that takes up residence in the nostrils and lingers straight through dinner. It’s not from urine or feces — though there is plenty of that all over the floor, on the side of the toilet and, somehow, on the walls. No, this stench seems to be an unholy mixture of body sweat, burnt rubber and pickles. Were you eating pickles in here, sir? I’m curious to know.

What happened to the coat hook?

The metal coat hook has clearly been ripped out of the wall. What happened? I’d like to hang up my coat.

Lastly, why did you think it necessary to carve a gay slur into the mirror?

I’m not sure if your intent was to publicize your homophobic views, or to simply insinuate that anyone who looks into the mirror is, in fact, a “f*****.” At any rate, it’s an awful word, and not suitable for public display. It’s hard to decide what is worse: your rabid intolerance, or the fact that you carry around an object sharp enough to cut glass as part of your everyday belongings. If you’re going to write terrible words on things, would you consider using a felt-tipped marker out of consideration for people’s safety? Please let me know your thoughts.

The kindness of your timely reply is requested in this matter, and I look forward to speaking with you further in the near future. Perhaps you are one of the people who have been banging on the bathroom door during the fifteen minutes I’ve been in here writing this letter to you. Fingers crossed.

Chris Vespoli

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