Nothing will give you tunnel vision like four pregnancies and sucking down Minnesota's version of Seven Eleven's Big Slurpee. It's 250 miles into the 286 mile trip and I must say the words he dreads most. "Tom, I need to go to the bathroom." What is it about men and road trips? Their inner race car driver comes out. "I was on a record pace. Seriously, can't you make it 30 more miles. I told you not to drink that huge cup of iced tea." (image provided under creative commons license flickr user smaedli)
"Um..... No!" You know the feeling. It's like one minute dry as a desert, over-filled water balloon the next. Your insides are holding onto the knotted end as it hangs lower with each targeted pothole the husband conveniently hits like a down hill skier making every gate. "No talking, joking or laughing. Mom's concentrating." One more jolt and it will certainly burst. We've made the trip to my parents hundreds of times and I've been in every bathroom along the way, dirty and clean. I see the sign. It's a beacon of relief. "Tom, next exit. Don't you dare drive past."
The Potty Dance
I walk into the gas station/restaurant/truck stop as casual as possible. Ho Hum. Don't mind me, cool mama coming though. Great, I've got to sneeze. Casually stop. Bring the knees together. Squeeze. Sneeze. I sprint the last 10 feet to to the ladies room. Damn it's locked. I turn to check the mens room. And wouldn't you know, it appears hubby was craddling his own filled balloon. TIME FOR THE POTTY DANCE. "Doing the potty dance. Doing potty dance." Just when you think you couldn't make it another second the bathroom is available. I'll spare you my embarrassing pee in my pants story for another post.
It's interesting how my brain stores the maps to every ladies rooms I've ever used. In the door, take a right, then a left, straight back. For instance, the ladies room, at an office where I used to work, was always on the right and the mens room was always on the left. It was a pretty big office and each paired restrooms were laid out this way. A year ago they downsized and moved the corporate office. I don't work at the corporate office any longer, but occasionally need to spend the day there. On one of those days, soon after arriving the morning tea runs its course and I make my way to the right hand ladies room. Door open. Man washing hands. Dang! Who is the heck changes a right turning ladies room into a left turning ladies room?
Today, I stopped at the busiest convenient store/gas station in town, to use the restroom. They had remodeled some months back and guess what? They turned their left turned ladies room into a right turned ladies room. Door open. Urinal. Palm. Forehead. Smack!
There's this other time when the door back into the office from the engineering lab was one of four identical looking doors. Yep you know the story. That makes 3 times I've accidentally walked into the mens restroom.
Signs, Maps, GPS Systems
Today when I planted my eyes on that urinate I thought to myself, "I wonder if I've gone into the mens room on other days and not realized it." No really, I thought, "In what other areas of my life am I on auto pilot, ignoring the signs"
It's so easy to follow our pre-subscribed maps. Safe, familiar, predictable seems to be the only logical course to take. I have a map for that. Two blocks, left, two blocks, right, 6 miles, right, 10 miles, right, 5 blocks, left,2 blocks, right into the parking lot. Sure my eyes are on the road, but guess what? I don't look at the signs anymore. No need. I know the way too well.
I go to a lot of soccer games at remote soccer fields in towns I've never been. I take a map, use my GPS and I follow the signs. Sometimes the maps and the GPS don't agree. Almost always the signs are right. Some of them are small and hard to read, which means I have to slow down to read them. I've never not gotten un-lost and the kids have always made the game. (What the heck does never not gotten un-lost mean? I confuse myself and apparently use improper grammar.)
Here's me in auto pilot mode. There are sure signs of me not facing my fears and traveling within my auto pilot map.
- Quick to anger and unwilling to stop for potty breaks for fear of not breaking my own record. Its all about me.
- I don't dance (unless I have to pee) and there is no laughter
- I procrastinate by doing busy work
- I own stuff I don't need or have a personal connection
- There's a toy box full of McDonald's Happy Meal Toys (auto pilot drive-thru)
- We didn't own a dog
- I don't listen
- I raise my voice
- I defined my quality of life by my income
- I thought when girls didn't go the college they got married
Here's some food for thought. Leave the map at home. Set out on an adventure and follow the signs. Don't be afraid of getting lost. Flip a coin. Left is heads, right is tails. Oh and before your go, DRINK A BIG OLE 44 OUNCE CUP OF SOMETHING, GET PREPARED TO LAUGH YOUR ASS OFF AND THEN PEE YOUR PANTS!!