Tuesday, June 11th, 2013
2 years, 6 months.
Over the weekend Mommy and I took you to the pool, just in time for the weather to turn overcast, therefore demotivating us from our desire earlier that morning to want to go swimming in the first place.
Being a guy who drinks a minimum of 3 liters of water a day, I naturally had to disappear for a minute or so, soon after we arrived, as Mommy helped you get your feet acquainted with the cold water in the kiddie pool.
As I made my way to the men’s restroom, I saw a woman standing in the doorway.
Actually, “standing” is not a good word to use. “Anxiously pacing, rocking back and forth, biting her fingernails” would be the way I would like to describe it; because that’s clearly how I remember her.
Turns out I was only steps behind the woman’s 11 year-old son as he walked into the restroom. I’ve been in a similar situation before, so I braced myself for the 90 seconds of awkwardness that was about to unfold.
Right in the middle of the boy trying to do his thing, in the stall next to me, I heard the mom yell (and I mean yell) into the restroom:
“Ethan? Ethan! Are you okay in there? Ethan?”
Of course, in his embarrassment, he delayed answering right away.
So again, his mother screamed, “Ethan? How is everything? Are you okay in there?”
This time he managed to murmur a “yeah” just loud enough for her to hear.
The boy and I were in perfect syncopation. As we washed our hands side by side at the sinks, I wanted to say, “Hey man, sorry about what’s going on right now. I know you feel embarrassed by what’s going on. Plus, I know you know I’m just a regular guy, not a creep. In fact, I have a wife and a 2 and a half-year old son just down the hall. I want out of this situation just as much as you do.”
But I didn’t say a word or even look at him.
It was a long 90 seconds, but it finally came to an end as both the boy and I left the restroom at the same time, with the boy’s mother waiting for us there at the door with a very worried look on her face.
This story isn’t about the mom who I am making out to be a wee bit overprotective, or the 11 year-old son who I am making out the be the embarrassed victim of that wee overprotective mom.
Instead, this story is about me; the random guy who just happened to walk into the restroom the same exact time as that boy.
The way I see it, there’s nothing I could have done or said differently to the boy or his mom to help the situation; that would have only made it worse.
So I guess what I am saying is, sometimes as a grown-man entering a public restroom without his own son in tow, I just have to be okay with certain assumptions being made about me.
In other words, sometimes I just have to let 90 seconds of awkwardness happen, like they did just a few weeks ago at the city park.
Photo: Men’s Restroom Sign on Black, via Shutterstock.
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