So I’m out on a nice shopping trip with my family when ‘The Urge’ hits me. You know the urge, the one where you turn on your radar and immediately track down the nearest bathroom.
I politely excuse myself because I don’t want to come right out and say that there is about to be an emergency cleanup on aisles five and six if I don’t get to a bathroom, right now!
I find the bathroom. It has only one stall and, miracle of miracles, it is open. It’s even one of the huge stalls that are bigger than some peoples apartments.
I settle in to do my business, pull out my phone, and click on WordPress. (Sorry fellow bloggers, the porcelain throne is where I do a considerable amount of my reading and writing. Now you know. Have fun with that mental image.)
I’m just settling into a groove when I hear the door open. Footsteps tromp right up to the door and rattle it.
I’m sorry, since when did a, ‘closed and locked from the inside’, door mean, ‘Maybe if I shake it hard enough it will fly open’?
“Occupied.” Is what I said.
Loud, audible sigh.
Sorry bud, that doesn’t work for my wife, it ain’t workin’ for you.
I try to settle back in to the post I’m reading when the water in the sink starts running, followed by eight hundred paper towels being loudly pulled out of the dispenser, followed by pacing, followed by tapping feet.
What are you, five years old?
Of course, by now my concentration is gone. What was going to be a nice little vacation from reality turned into the pee-pee dance in romper room. (Ten bonus points if you have ever put your face up to a tennis racket and said, “And I see Bobby, and Suzie, and…”)
You win. I’m out.
I finish my business, open the door and I give this dude the guy nod, followed by the quick visual sizing up. He does the same in return.
From this point on our relationship changes. Our guy radar has downloaded a new threat matrix. He becomes Captain Impatient, and I become Professor Toilethogger.
Throughout the rest of our shopping trip we play a game of spy vs spy. Every time we see each other, the eyes narrow in recognition of our nemesis. We each lean over to our spouses and say, “There he is, that guy.”
But they are too busy spending our life savings on necessities like hair coloring to see how serious this is.
Even after I leave the store, I spot him walking across the parking lot and my radar is locked on, ‘Intimidating glare’. I spot him other stores as well.
I see you eyeing up the restroom sign. You really didn’t have to go last time, did you?
He’s in line in front of me at the burger drive thru.
Clever way to stalk your prey, by pretending to be oblivious of him.
Finally, he disappears into a crowded street as our shopping trip ends. My wife asks if everyone had a good day. I smile and nod in a placating way, knowing that out there, somewhere, lurks, ‘That guy’.