Droplets of perspiration birth themselves onto my upper lip as our railbound sauna becomes increasingly heated and sticky en route to Berlin. My discomfort levels keep pace with the ever rising temperature and I decide that if I am to survive the next five hours, I have to change into something cooler. I grab a pair of shorts from my pack and begin to make my way to the bathroom at the end of the train car. Halfway to my destination, I am assaulted by a wall of BO simultaneously making its way to the other end; I stop breathing and walk with increased urgency.
A weary mother stands adjacent to the occupied bathroom, her son clinging tightly to her calf as she rocks a carriage complete with a heavily soiled diaper and baby, or so it would smell. Given the horrid olfactory conditions, an eternity seemingly passes before the bathroom door swings open and what must be the unfortunate father and tantrum-throwing fifth family member tumble out. Not wanting to subject my ears to the same ill-fate as my nose, I replace the WC's previous contents as quickly as I can.
Once inside, I am most displeased to discover the odors are equally putrid and the temperature is a good 10 degrees warmer. My motivation level reaches an all-time high. The limited space makes shoe removal an awkward affair, but I am hellbent on preventing any contact between my socks and the heavily soiled floor. Precariously balanced on top of my shoes, I remove my jeans. Ping A coin falls from somewhere within my jeans and somehow lands on the miniature counter. Plink-Plank Two more coins make their escape, ricochet off half the surfaces in the tiny room and come to rest in the puddle of tepid water at my feet.
"Dammit!" muttering various obscenities, I grab a paper towel and start to descend to rescue my drowning Euros; the train lurches and I confirm the solidity of the door handle with my forehead on the way down. The obscenities begin to escalate.
My germ-fearing neuroses won't allow me to merely return the change to my pocket, so instead I stand in my boxers and socks with sweat pouring off my brow, wiping each of the coins off. Someone decides to ignore the bathroom's status sign and rattles the door. "Occupied!" I growl back, pulling my shorts to my waist. I finish getting situated and exit back into the slightly more appealing train car. I have gained no immunity to the funk beset before me and instinctively hold my breath for the trip back to my seat. Kurt takes note of my approach, "what the hell took you so long? and why are you all wet?"