Curse you fear of flight.
I don’t know why, in my head, I envision road trips going better than they actually do.
I mean, I know my kids are technophiles and they wouldn’t how to sing in a round if it punched them in the face, but really with the constant need for stimulation, already?
The journey is supposed to be part of the fun. It’s like they have no idea who Clark W. Griswald is.
We timed the 18 hour drive, spread out over two days, to start coinciding with their afternoon nap. Which was brilliant for all but 17 hours and 38 minutes of the trip.
Mickey Mouse? Like fucking meth. They can smell it. They sit in their car seats screaming their faces off and hallucinating ice cream truck music and vampires until they get their fix.
I foolishly planned to spend the two days in leggins. What seemed like the sensible idea at the time, what with 1100 glorious underwear free miles of good old paved Americana, became less awesome when I realized that cropped, skin tight stretchy pants greatly limited your meal options to Shoney’s and Golden Corrals and Cracker Barrels. Which is fine…for people who’s insides don’t explode after they eat…by way of their ass.
I spent, mathematically speaking, way too much time in roadside rest stops.
Which, next to a Nickelback concert, is pretty much the last place I happen to find enjoyable.
But what can you do? (Aside from wearing a giant diaper, which I wanted to do, until Andy got all preachy about it being disgusting and not being able to have sex with me knowing I wore one, and I was all, and the downside to this being? Besides, if he checked his google calendar, he would totally know I’m false menstruating right now.)
Public restrooms are basically all the same, equal parts disgusting and vomity. Standing up to find the back of my thighs wet make my insides lurch. Maneuvering a door knob with my elbows is tough. Pretending the whimpering and Bath & Body Works body spray smell was not from me, but rather, the old farty lady in the stall before me is not…well, actually it was really easy, but I’ve always felt drawn to theatre.
I sometimes hovered, sometimes white knuckled, the toilets across four states, and I almost made peace with my aversion by the time we crossed into Florida, if not for the Pinehurst Georgia rest stop.
It was busy but without a line, which is the perfect storm for public restroom deposits. Busy enough that the flushing toilets masked your moans, and the constant flow of people meant no one was timing you, taking note of your sandals so when they see you later, at the vending machine, they’ll know you were the girl in the bathroom for 20 minutes.
Which, unless you are secretly giving birth, is not an attractive place to hang out.
I typically go for the handicap stall, since that’s the only place a girl can get some knee room, but it was taken, so I had to go in a civilian one.
The stall was narrow, even by rest stop standards, and the handle used to flush was dripping water.
I put a mint in my mouth, closed my eyes and went to work.
Except, midway through Lee Greenwood’s Proud to be an American, I felt something lean up against my calf. I immediately assumed it was a child crawling under, and I was fully prepared to scream at them, not only for the intrusion, but for the basic human desire to not have small children covered in pee water, when I opened my eyes to find, not a small child, but rather, the legs of the woman in the stall next to me, which yeah, it’s a really tight fit, but seriously?
Maybe she was trying to pick me up with some secret lesbian code? Maybe she liked 30 year old girls who looked probably 26, with exercise clothes on and armpit five o’clock shadows?
But then it got worse.
As she pushed her jeans and underwear down around her ankles, along with it came…ok listen, I sat here for, like, 30 minutes trying to think of the words to properly explain what happened without making you all immediately stop reading and never, ever come back here, but seriously, y’all? There is just no classy way to do this, so I am just gonna say it.
Her shoes, her ankles, her pushed down jeans and underwear, and her gigantic bloody maxi pad were all in my bathroom stall.
I didn’t even have words. I don’t like blood. I don’t like it thin, I don’t like it chunky.
I do not like it in a house. I do not like it on a mouse.
And, I definitely don’t like it near my shins in a fucking public restroom stall in fucking Georgia.
I stopped what I was doing immediately, commenced breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, flushed the toilet with my foot and ran to the car without washing my hands.
Which was fine because I keep an industrial size bottle of hand sanitizer in the cup holder. I applied it up to my elbows (like when they scrub in on Grey’s Anatomy) and paced around the car collecting myself until Andy walked back with the kids from the dog area, told me to stop trying to explain to him what just happened (who am I supposed to tell these things to, then?), and offered to buy me Combos from the vending machine if I stopped making the dry heave noise in my throat.
Obviously, I said yes.
But I’ve broken up with public restrooms and started googling elderly diaper capacity and colostomy bags.
Three more hours until Orlando.