Dateline: A Rest Stop Somewhere in Alabama/Mississippi, August 29, 2008
I was driving cross-country with MaryEllen and her handsomely awesome border collie, Max, when we decided it was time to relieve the bladders. We parked at this lovely little rest stop somewhere in the Southland, MaryEllen went to walk Max, and I went inside to pee.
When I entered the bathroom, all stalls were occupied, except for the handicapped stall, from which emerged an old ass lady hunched over a cane. She motioned for me to use the toilet, rasping out, "Go on, no one's gonna be upset."
Now, I've seen that episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. I do NOT want to be that person who goes into the handicapped stall for the extra luggage room or the supreme grip support of those nice bars and then emerges to see a very angry person in a wheelchair glowering down at me. It is not my bathroom to use, so I don't use it.
I kind of shook my head at the old lady, who then egged me on even further, "Come on, GO ON." So I did, knowing that 45-55 seconds later, the whole thing would be behind me - no harm, no foul.
I stepped inside, sat down, and went to work getting rid of three coffees, one orange Vitamin Water, and some Coke Zero. (Hey, a woman's gotta stay alert on the road you know?)
I heard some movement in the bathroom, but didn't think much of it. I wiped, pulled the drawers up, and unlatched the door.
To my infinite terror, standing in front of me was:
- Not 1, but 2 old ass ladies
- 1 young person with Cerebral Palsy
- 1 young person with Down's Syndrome
- Not 1, but 2 people in wheelchairs
and their various handlers.
Sweet baby Jesus, was this a guilt-induced mirage? Could there really be SIX FREAKIN' PEOPLE WAITING TO USE THE HANDICAPPED BATHROOM??????
For a moment, I considered limping away, but my asshole sensor ruled that out.
Therefore, I muttered, "Sorry," and ran past all six and their handlers, and out the door, into MaryEllen and Max, both of whom looked at me quizzically.
"My worst nightmare just happened," I explained.
MaryEllen went in to confirm.
Then she laughed at me for the rest of the day.
Later on, when we arrived in a ghost town, pre-Gustav New Orleans, we checked into our fancy schmancy hotel and took the elevator up to our room. Before I got close enough, MaryEllen doubled over with laughter:
"No fucking way!" she laughed, pointing to a brass plaque on the wall next to our door.
I stepped closer.
It read: "Room For Handicapped"
Yes. It did.
Yes, in that nearly entirely empty giant fancy pants hotel, the room they gave us was the handicapped accessible room.
You may have already guessed this, but we went out and drank after that.