Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Gates of Hell

I had to take Claire, who is five, to the pediatrician today. She has already started with some seasonal allergy symptoms this year, itchy eyes, nasal congestion, etc. When we arrived at the doctor’s office, I decided to first make a stop at the lady’s room. As I was walking in, I passed by a smiling woman on her way out. As soon as the door closed I was struck by the REALLY BAD SMELL. It made me wonder if she was somehow amused by the fact that I was unwittingly walking into a gas chamber or if she just felt better. Unfortunately, I really had to go so turning around and walking out was not really an option. My bladder was saying, “Yes, do it, do it!’ but my brain was saying, “No, no, abort the mission!” The bladder won out. I tried to accomplish my task as efficiently as possible realizing that every additional second I spent there increased my risk of losing consciousness. I must have looked slightly crazy as I darted back out to the lobby.

After my restroom ordeal, we then made it in to the waiting room without further event and had to wait a few minutes for the doctor. After we were called in to the exam room, Claire decided at this time to announce that she too had to visit the restroom. Great. I persuaded her to wait until we were done since the doctor was due in any minute. The doctor did arrive fairly quickly so we were able to put off the next trip to the bathroom for a while at least. As soon as we finished visiting with the doctor, we headed back to the above-mentioned public restroom. Certainly after that period of time, the offensive odor must have had time to disperse, right?

Walking into the bathroom, I immediately noticed that someone was already occupying the one stall with a normal sized toilet. It appeared as if the woman in there had really settled in for the long haul. Her pants were completely down to the point that they were actually bunched around her ankles, touching the bathroom floor. I knew this wasn’t a good sign. I took in the scene in just a second or two, and then it hit me. The most God-awful smell. It was backed-up sewer kind of bad. All I could think is, “My God, what is going on here? Is this what they mean by sick buildings? Does everyone have diarrhea? Did a drug rep leave bad tuna in the lunch room?” and “How in the Hell do I get out of here fast when I have a five year old that has to use the God-damned tall toilet?”

As I stood by the door gasping and hoping not to pass out, it occurred to me that maybe the woman in the stall could see me through the crack of the stall door. I am not totally sure of the etiquette required in such a situation but decided that if she was going to do that in a public bathroom, then I was going to continue to hold my arm up over my face and breath through my shirt. After all, I did not come armed with a gas mask.

Meanwhile, Claire has somehow managed to climb onto the giant sized toilet without the assistance of her mother or a stepladder. I have no idea how she did it because there was no way that I was getting even one inch closer to the evil taking place in stall number one. As soon as Claire came out, I started rushing her with, “Hurry up, let’s go, we’ll wash your hands later!”

She seemed completely oblivious to the fact that I was rushing her. She was certainly not in a hurry and continued talking and eyeing the sinks as if considering making a move toward them. I had to keep talking to convince her that it really was time to go. As a rule, five year olds do not do anything fast. This was no exception. After I dragged her out to the parking lot it crossed my mind that she was not gagging from the foul smell and she was right next to it. How could this be?

I looked at her puzzled little face and asked, “Didn’t you notice a bad smell in there?”

She replied, “No. My nose is stuffy.”

Right. Allergies.


Sabrina said...

Just remember, she's a kid, her nervous system hasn't fully developed yet. Those kind of smells penetrate all but the most severely congested adult nose.

Christina said...

LMAO. It's useless to try and explain to children the hardships of adults. Just keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn't start spontaneously ticking... could be a sign of nuclear exposure.