August 21, 2008

The Kindness of Strangers

Hurricanes are a bummer. "Fay" cut short our vacation to Florida by several days; however, we can't really complain. The time that we did have on the beach was great. Our fifteen hour drive home yesterday (hence the lack of a post) was marred only by one noteworthy episode which, remarkably, did not include my children.

Lucky for me, we hit bumper-to-bumper traffic at exactly the same moment as the baby started jumping on my bladder. By the time we got to the nearest facilities--a seedy McDonald's in the middle of no where--I was starting to perspire. While the parking lot was overflowing with cars and mobile homes, the restaurant itself was virtually empty.
"That's strange," I thought.
I didn't have to wonder where all of the cars' occupants were for very long: I found half of the state of South Carolina in line for the women's restroom. As I took my place at the end of the seventeen-person line, I tried very hard to block out the faint sound of the soda fountain dispensing liquid. By the time that I spotted the bathroom door, I was feeling very grateful that I had read a book on Lamaze breathing techniques.

I tried to be discreet in my suffering, but the woman in line in front of me--who was wearing purple gauchos and a green t-shirt with lizards on it--noticed that I was uncomfortable. After unabashedly staring at me for several minutes, the woman stepped up to offer her support and encouragement. Turning to me she said, "I'm so glad that I wasn't desperate to use the bathroom when we stopped." At that moment, the lone bathroom stall swung open and the woman pranced into it.

While the woman (by her own admission) wasn't desperate to use the bathroom, she was in no hurry to get out of it once inside. She stayed inside the stall for at least five minutes, plenty of time for the lady behind me (who had heard what the woman said) to tell the ladies behind her, who, in turn, told the ladies behind them. By the look on the ladies' faces, it was clear that by the time that the story reached the end of the line, the woman holed up in the bathroom stall had not only called me a "fat lardo," but vowed to stay glued to the toilet seat until I peed my pants.

I didn't see what happened to the bathroom hogger, as I practically dove into the stall the instant that the woman emerged, but I did hear "reports" from several ladies still in line when I was on my way out.
"I'm so sorry about what that woman said to you," said Number 8. Her eyes were basically welling up with tears.
"We all made ugly faces when she passed by us," said Number 13. I felt strangely touched.

I also felt bad for the bathroom hogger. I hope that she had enough sense to stave off the lizards for a few miles before feeding them some french fries. If I was her, I would have been desperate to get back on the road.


Lori said...

In October we will be making our own long drive to Florida for my daughters wedding. It is a 30 hour drive with very quick stops for gas...we will be driving with a 3 & 2 year olds who are newly potty trained. Yeah, it may or may not be the end of any sanity I have left in me.
Good ole' bathroom stories...I think we all have them...someone really should compile all these stories into a book.

gigi said...

i've been know to use the no line Men's room, more than once! Hurricane Fay is still dumping rain and we are in southeast GA. But we need the rain so badly. I think Fay has ended Florida's drought!!

Jenni said...

I'll never forget the kindness of a middle aged woman who let me ahead of her while in line for the restroom when I was 8 months pregnant. Her words, "I don't have anyone sitting on my bladder, please go ahead."

Unknown said...

If it's a single use potty... these are the times you grab a son and head to the men's room. From what I recall, they don't mind bugging you while you pee. Put him in a corner and deflate that bladder.

Mamajil said...

Oh I hate potty stops on road trips!
Too bad the storm cut your trip short! We are bracing ourselves for her fury, we should get tons of rain by tomorrow, all our schools are shut down...we are hoping not to lose power...this is one of those seasonal "perks" of being a Floridian. :)

Anonymous said...

OOhhhh...evil bathroom people. I was pretty uncompromisingly honest when I was pregnant and there was a bathroom line. Usually a "OMG, the baby is jumping up and down on my bladder! Can I PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE go ahead of you so I don't pee all over this floor?!?!?!?!" worked. Usually several women would nod knowingly recounting memories of their pregnancies and how awful it was to have to pee all of the time...and then they would kindly let me go ahead.

PS. It was Tropical Storm Fay. That stupid storm canceled school for 4 days for minimal rains and the chance something could happen that never did. GRRRR!

Steph said...

Oh my, Jana, you had me in tears laughing as I read your post. I love the way you write. I wish I could have blogged back when my first three were little and I was expecting. There would have been so much good material for post after post. Now my firstborn is 14 and my baby is seven.

Your description of travelling while pregnant and waiting in line ready to pee your pants brought back some, um...memories! Thanks for reminding me that there were days when I couldn't imagine life any different. But it does eventually get easier as they grow up...

Just no more funny pregnancy stories...