Wednesday is family night around here. It used to be because it was the only night we could go roller skating together, but now that I am unemployed every night is family night. Every. Night. Eeeevvvveeerrrrryyyy Niiiigggghht.
As I was saying, Wednesday is family night, and this Wednesday was no exception, gosh darn it!
We met in the Home Depot parking lot, left a car there and drove across the island to the skate rink, stopping off for dinner. As we walked towards the restaurant I checked my watch. "Okay, kids, We are going to beat the dinner crowds. I want to order quick, and get the hell out of here by 6:30 at the very latest." They nodded and Max announced that he would eat extra fast. "Not necessary." I replied quickly. "I am not interested in practicing the heimlich this evening. But thank you."
We had barely made it in the door when Max turned to me. "Mom." he said seriously "I have to go to the bathroom. Now."
I stalled him. "Just choose your dinner first." I begged. "Please, so we can order."
"The burger!" he shouted over his shoulder as he hustled away.
Lucy realized what was going on. "Hey!" she piped up. "I have to go potty too!"
Before I could stop her she had climbed under the table and was making her way across the restaurant, tailing her older brother. I went running after her and got there just in time to block her from walking into the kitchen and tripping a food runner with a full tray of food. "No honey, it's over here" I chirped in my syrupy sweet "I just love being a mommy!" voice. I pointed her towards the restrooms and she headed straight for the men's ro-"NO HONEY OVER HERE!" I dashed after her as the servers muttered to themselves and shot dark looks in my direction.
When I finally got her safely into the confines of the women's room, she walked to the largest stall and before I could follow her in she closed the door and locked it with a bang. So there I was, that mom, the one standing outside the stall, shouting helpful things like "Don't forget to put paper down on the seat, sweetie!" and "Do you have enough toilet paper?" and "Don't forget to flush!"
The minutes ticked by. I finally gave up and went into a stall myself, because WHY NOT.
I came out, washed my hands, and looked back towards the handicapped stall where my daughter had installed herself for the evening, apparently. There was no sign of movement. "Lucy?"
"Are you almost done?"
"What are you doing honey?"
By the time we finally left the bathroom, Max had returned to the table and finished almost every game in the kid's menu. Sami looked at me reproachfully.
"Do not even start with me." I announced. "Lucy, for the love of all that is holy, decide what you want for dinner."
"The burger, mama." she said, busying herself with her menu and the box of crayons.
"The burger. Great. Fine."
As we sat and waited for the waitress to come back around, Sami assured me she had already tried to take our order several times, but he had no idea what I wanted, so he had told her to come back. "Sorry, sweetie."
"No." I assured him "I am sorry. I am sorry our children can't contain their enthusiasm for using a public restroom until after they have ordered."
The kids looked at me coolly.
"We have a new rule in this family." I announced. "Unless it is an EXTREME EMERGENCY you may not excuse yourself to use the restroom until after we have ordered."
Lucy sipped her water, glaring at me over the rim of the glass, unblinking. She was clearly practicing her mind powers, that she had been honing since I refused to buy her a voodoo doll last month.
Max was just ignoring me and focusing on the puzzle he was working on. "Hey dad, it's your turn."
We finally ordered, and ate, and managed to leave the restaurant without using the bathroom again. A small victory, but a victory nonetheless. We got to the rink, laced up, and took off. After about 45 minutes, Max skated up. "How much longer will we be here, mom?"
I checked my phone. "About 20 minutes or so. Why?"
"Can I spend the last 20 minutes in the bathroom? I have to do number two." he added under his breath by way of explaination.
"Are you fucking kidding me right now?"
I looked across the park at the dim, cinderblock building next to the parking lot that housed some seriously scary toilets. "Jesus. Hang on a minute." I grabbed some money, bought a bottle of water, and skated with him along the dark path. As he went in the side marked "Men" some of the Scariest Men Ever came wandering out - clearly just finishing up a drug deal, or worse. I didn't want to know. I just looked away, avoided eye contact, and willed them to leave the area. Which they did. But there was a constant stream of "men" in and out of the bathroom for the next 10 minutes. Some of whom seemed frustrated by whoever was hogging the lone toilet stall. I found small comfort in the fact that none of them was in there very long and therefore could not have taken my son hostage or tried to sell him something.
But still, it was taking too long. Uncomfortably long. And I was stuck lurking outside this creepy men's room on roller skates, in the dark, oh so casually sipping my water and avoiding eye contact.
After pacing out front for a while longer, exchanging a few awkward "Heys" with various guys walking by, I finally gave up and skated towards the entrance. "Max?"
"WHAT?" he replied, clearly annoyed by the intrusion.
"Dude. Seriously. What are you doing?"
"What do you think I'm doing?"
"You don't want me to answer that. Just hurry up."
He finally come out in pained, silent indignance.
It's pretty hard to look indignant after spending 15 minutes taking a dump in a public park men's room with your MOM waiting outside, let me tell you.
I had to give him credit.
"New rule." I proclaimed in the car as we drove away. "Public bathrooms are for emergencies only. If you have to sit down and think about it, you have to wait until we get home. Period. ESPECIALLY if there is only one stall. And ESPECIALLY when there is no hand soap."
He silently accepted the package of baby wipes I offered over my shoulder.
And the next morning, while I was in the shower, he came in and took a dump.
It only took him 2 minutes.
Then he flushed and burned my ass, and turned out the lights on his way out the door.
"Oops!" he called out as he walked away.
21 hours ago