bathroom, bowel movements, funny, gas stations, humor, Jim Chaney, life, open letter, Random Thoughts, The Wordslinger
Let me preface this by saying that I sincerely hope you are ok. When last I saw you, the confidence you showed in your decision to wait for the restroom to open up seemed to be wavering. As I drove away, I caught one last glimpse of you in my rear view mirror; your once stoic expression weakened and vulnerable. I asked Iz and the Jakester to say a little prayer for your well-being and for both your present and future health.
But I’ve jumped ahead here. I’d like to go back to my first encounter with you, a silent exchange of the common man-nod as I exited my vehicle at the pump and caught your eye standing outside the currently occupied restroom. I generally find myself with a bit of tunnel vision at 7:00am, still shaking the sleep from my consciousness and able to focus solely on the repetitive drive to work. This morning required a diversion to the closest gas station however, so my senses were slightly heightened as I arrived, leading me to notice you.
At first, I simply took note of your presence and then quickly dismissed you, but the longer my stay at the pump became, the more you continued to draw my attention. I suppose the intrigue of your situation is what gripped my mind and refused to let go. You see, in all the years I’ve been driving, I have never once stopped at a gas station for the sole purpose of using the bathroom. Sure, there have been the occasional rest stop restroom visits while filling the tank during a road trip, but let’s not kid ourselves; a rest stop bathroom isn’t the same thing as the glorified port-o-potty at a gas station that requires a key attached to a 2-ton marble stone in the shape of Africa.
So there you stood, waiting patiently but anxiously for that big, metal door to swing open. Your car wasn’t at the pump, sucking down gallon after gallon of gasoline, but rather crudely parked just a few steps from the unisex latrine you so desperately were seeking admittance to. As I filled up my tank, I couldn’t help but wonder what must be going through your head (and your body for that matter).
I’d originally assumed you weren’t from around here because if you were, you’d have known that just a block or two north were several fast food restaurants, all likely to contain significantly cleaner facilities. Though after further examination of the desperate expression on your face, and those tiny beads of sweat on your brow, it became clear that the extra distance was simply not an option for you. I cannot possibly comprehend the battle that must have been raging below your surface. The pillaging of your insides that led you to the moment when you decide you are better off waiting outside a gas station bathroom, than seeking another unoccupied option and therefore risking complete internal destruction.
I applaud you for making that decision in such an emotionally and intestinely-charged situation. Unfortunately, as I was closing my gas tank cover and preparing to leave, it appeared that your gamble was not paying off. Whomever had beaten you to the undoubtedly repulsive lavatory was taking far longer than you had hoped and dreamed. Perhaps they had faced the same gut-busting decision just minutes before, and after rolling the dice on the Shell station, were relieved to find it vacant.
Whatever the case may be, it seems misfortune was raining down upon you my friend as you stood there, rocking from side to side, whispering a silent prayer to yourself and whatever higher being you believe in. As the seconds turned to minutes, I’m sure you began to question yourself. Could I have made it to another bathroom in time? Is it too late to try? By that point, I’m sure you realized that your commitment to that initial decision may have been your demise. But you made a command decision and stuck with it, so for that I have nothing but respect for you.
As I sit here now, I can’t help but wonder what became of you. Before I closed my door and drove away, I gave you one final man-nod (the only show of respect I felt comfortable giving you) but I’m certain your mind was elsewhere since you didn’t reciprocate. Don’t worry, I hold no ill will towards you for that. Just know that you are in my thoughts good sir, and while your prospects looked bleak as you faded out of sight, I like to think there may have been a miracle at that Shell station this morning.God speed my friend, The Guy in the Tan SUV
Ever been this guy before? Ever encountered this guy before? How desperate would you have to be to wait in line for a gas station bathroom?
Tracy Ewens said:
I laughed out loud. Great post.
mj monaghan said:
Thanks Jim, I did finally get in to that restroom. Thanks for the man-nod, btw!
Would have gotten in sooner, but the lady in there before me got the Africa-shaped, metal-key holder thing-y caught against the door and couldn’t budge it.
Phew! I was genuinely concerned for you. Those anvils they attach to the keys can cause some serious issues!
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The beads of sweat n the two-step, sideways, must-be-doing-something shuffle, God love him, completed the image of the poor man’s distress.
How could he have resisted hammering on the door??
Glad I’m not the only one who can contemplate, for hours, if necessary, the predicaments of others caught in passing glimpses through my day. With compassion, always, but much, I’m ashamed to say, to my own amusement.
Toddlers taking advantage of inexperienced dads in supermarkets is my current favourite. Watching the flagrant skills of the naturally devious.. the harrassed, confused embarrassment of the manipulatee. They are ruthless.. n they’d leave Machiavelli in the dust!!
I feel…for the guy. Been there too….
I feel for him, just glad not to be him.
John Erickson said:
Never used gas station bathrooms, since about age 8. My mom stopped taking me into the cleaner (I assume) ladies rooms, and my dad taught me around then that was why God invented trees.
Now, the wife, with a range between potties (RBP) of about 1.4 miles, uses whatever is at hand – gas stations, restaurants, stores, whatever. We have actually pulled into construction sites to avail of an available porta-potty.
Now, if I could only sleep more than 2 hours without needing the loo. The plumbing is fine – guess the valves just don’t work in the horizontal position. 😀
So nice to hear from you my friend! And for this comment which has me rolling. RBP – that is hilarious!
Kathryn McCullough said:
Okay, this is the funniest damn thing I’ve read since the last time I lugged a key chain in the shape of an over-sized Africa to my nearest gas station bathroom. And that’s to say–pretty damn hilarious!
Seriously though, isn’t it bizarre what these gas station attendants choose to attach the keys to? Glad you enjoyed it.
Leonard G said:
I laughed until I hurt! Thankfully, my own comfy facilities were nearby…
Thankful indeed. Hope the pain wasn’t too bad!
That’s hilarious! I loved the way you took a “desperate” situation and saw the humor in it (although, I grant you, it was probably easier for you since you weren’t “involved.” Great post, I loved it! I agree with momsomniac, as nasty as McDonald’s is, their restrooms are–generally–cleaner than a gas station bathroom.
McDonald’s has some surprisingly nice bathrooms. If they put that much effort into their food, perhaps I’d frequent a bit more often.
I’m a woman but I’ve been “that guy” more times than I can count. Some things cannot wait…
But since I’m experienced, I do leave if I have to wait more than a few seconds. People can spend a crazy long time in there.
Also (oddly) when I have an immediate need and my husband is driving, he’ll pull into a gas station “for me” rather than a fast food restaurant easily within view. If I am truly desperate, I cannot blurt out “No, no – go to McDonald’s” – SO nasty Mcnastyness it is.
And yes, I have explained the preference in less desperate times. SO honestly, the part of this that *I* like best is that you are a man and you KNOW that a fast food place is a much, much better choice.
And that guy you saw? Eh, he’s probably fine, but we might be related.
I appreciate your honesty about the situation. I suppose when you have to go, all shame goes out the window…it’s a do or die moment. Thanks for the comment!
Shame? What’s that? ; )
Kourtney Heintz said:
Jim that was fantastic! I laughed, I saw the sweat beading up on his brow. And I loved the man nod. Fantastic sir, just fantastic!
Fantastic for you and me maybe, but not for that poor s.o.b.
Emily January said:
I’m crying from laughing so hard. I have used a gas station restroom in an emergency before, but my body got gun shy, I got back in the car, and the next restroom was thirty minutes away. Mistake.
Oh my dear Emily, I won’t ask you to elaborate on how that story ended…I’m sure you’ve done your best to forget it. Sorry I made you cry, haha.
Carl D'Agostino said:
Rare is the psychologist, sociologist, philosopher or anthropologist that can match your brilliant commentary on the human condition with such empathy.
And to you, sir, I simply say: aww shucks, thanks!
Julie Frayn said:
I’d write a longer comment, but I gotta go… 😀
I see what you did there…very funny!
Laine Griffin said:
Jim, you never fail to me me laugh right out loud. Thank you, sir, I needed this today!
Laine Griffin said:
That was supposed to be *make* me
Glad I could be of assistance to you Laine!
Lol! Love it!