Some people who follow me on Twitter (@ursulav, unsurprisingly) saw this one last night, but it was such a bizarre incident that I had to expand.
So Kevin and I are getting ready to go to Game Night at our buddy Mur’s–this is one of our few weekly Time With Grown-Ups experiences, and we cherish it greatly. This is also our night to go out to eat, and we’d settled on Red Robin as the least offensive of the selection in this particular shopping center.
A large unsweet tea later, I needed to head to the restroom. (I have a bladder the size of a diseased lentil, but that’s neither here nor there.)
I walk in and find three stalls. The middle one is occupied. A woman with absolutely no facial expression is leaning against the door of this stall. She meets my eyes because I have walked in front of her and given her the awkward well-here-we-are-in-the-bathroom smile, but otherwise does not acknowledge my existence.
From the stall comes “That’s right! Push, push, push!”
I consider the possibility that someone is delivering a baby in the women’s restroom at Red Robin, but reject it immediately, because the woman speaking is using that manically cheerful, up-an-octave, repetitive baby talk that people use on small children and dogs.
“Was that the door? It was! Somebody just came in, didn’t they? Oooh! Can you poop for Mommy?”
I looked in the first stall and discovered that someone in severe need of both fiber and basic lessons in hygiene had beaten me to it. I backed out hurriedly and headed for the third stall. The dead-eyed woman at the door looked through me. From the middle stall came “Can you? Can you? Push push push! Poop for Mommy! I know you can do it!”
Now, let me say for the record, I understand that these things happen. I had a cat with kidney problems once, and its alimentary tract became a subject of intense concern for me. I am told it is much worse with young children. So yes, you get a little obsessed with them pooping for Mommy, and maybe they need a little verbal encouragement and for all I know, these two were on a long road trip or something and if the little bugger didn’t crap now, it would be another hundred and fifty miles before the next option. I found this whole scenario somewhat amusing and was already mentally working on my imitation so that I could regale Kevin with it over burgers.
It was as I was attending to Nature’s call myself that I heard, from the other side of the wall, “Who’s that peeing? Is that you? No! It’s the lady next to us! She can pee! Can you go for Mommy?”
There were about five hundred really clever things I could have done with that moment, and over the course of the next hour, I thought of most of them. Unfortunately I am never terribly witty with my pants around my ankles, and my brain, unable to believe that this was really happening, had stuttered to a halt while my urinary functions continued to be praised in the next stall over. I was pathetically grateful that my bladder was the ONLY thing that required attention, since if I’d had to crap, every plop! would doubtless have been held up as a shining example to the stubbornly poopless child on the other side of the wall.
I hurriedly finished the job and washed my hands. The woman leaning against the stall stared through me as if I were made of glass, possibly embarrassed, possibly hating me for the fact that I did not have children, possibly simply too tired of all of it to muster any emotion. From the stall, attention returned to pushing for Mommy. I fled.
I have never had anyone narrate my bodily functions as an example to their offspring before. It never occurred to me that this might happen. It’s enough to drive you back to the stage where you wait for the people in the next stall to flush before doing anything, lest they realize that you have gone to the bathroom to actually urinate and not merely to gaze admiringly at the toilet dispenser.
I did not see this trio leave the restaurant, nor did I see them sitting down anywhere, so for all I know, by the time we finished our meal twenty minutes later, they were still in there. I was not feeling brave enough to check. All I know is that it’s gonna be a cold day in hell before I use a bathroom at a Red Robin again.