Gloom, Doom, Powder Room

For all the time I spend in cemeteries, you’d think I’d have a sixth sense (or whatever it’s called) to clue me in when spirits are afloat (or aloft, or wherever they are).  No such luck.  I’m senseless when it comes to haunted places.  Never seen a ghost; never felt a spirit.

Or have I?

I also spend a lot of time in public restrooms, thanks to a bladder the size of a pea.  Over the years I’ve become quite a connoisseur of the Ladies’ Lounge, but honestly, I’ll settle for any place that has a flushing toilet and running water in the sink.

We were at the Cordelia Junction Antique Mall in Fairfield and naturally I had to pee.  Most antique malls have fru-fru ladies’ rooms, with framed art on the walls and potpourri in vases and piped-in music and two kinds of hand lotion.  Cordelia, not so much.  Okay, not at all.  This litter box was all function and no form, reminiscent of a campground lavatory or a roadside rest stop.  Well, it had tile on the floor and walls, so it wasn’t quite rest stop-ish.  But the stalls were covered in thick paint, indicative of layer over layer over layer – no stripping and sanding and priming when these boards get grimy; just give ’em another coat of some generic non-color paint from the “oops” selection at Home Depot.  The long, narrow room seemed dimly lit, despite the lights on the ceiling and over the sink.  It felt oppressive.

I prefer the big stall (honestly, who doesn’t?) but to my disappointment the latch on the door of Cordelia’s big stall would not lock.  I was all alone in there (or so I thought) but still, I like my privacy.  The two middle stalls were out of order so I was left with the one closest to the sink.  It did the job, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was in a cinderblock box at Camp Crystal Lake.

There was nothing overtly creepy in there, really, but my mind kept flashing to a summer camp.  It’s late at night, I have to pee and I have to walk to the dingy, isolated latrine all by myself.  Flies dart around the bare light bulb over the door.  The fluorescent light inside buzzes ominously…

Wait a minute.  I’m in an antique store, for cryin’ out loud.

The minute I left, I forgot about it.  Later that night I looked at the pictures I took.  (What, you mean you don’t take pictures of public restrooms?)  The weird feeling came rushing back.  And then I read some online reviews for the antique store.  Out of eleven reviews, four mentioned…a ghost in the restroom.

So I ask you, Cordelia Junction, were you built on the site of a long-gone summer camp with a cursed lake and a murder or two?

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