The baby freaked out, wailing against my neck. I felt her snotty nose pressed hard against my skin. "Shhh, baby. Shhh. This is a library. We need to stay quiet." She wouldn't listen though. She probably didn't understand since she's one. I gasped, feeling like the world closed in on me. EVERYONE stared.
Then my little boy joined her sobs. "Mama. Mama." He groaned and did a one-footed jig like a flamingo with a thorn in it's foot. "I go pee pee."
Why does he always have to go at the worst possible moment? I put my fingers to my lips. "Shhh." My fingers motioned to my oldest daughters. "Can you watch the baby if I take your brother potty?"
My baby sneezed--a monster's sneeze. My oldest girls looked at their sister's snotty face. There was nothing around to use. No Kleenexes--nothing. I winced and desperately wiped her nose with my coat, took the soiled accessory off and cast it into the bottom of the stroller. "What do you say?" My eyes pulsed nervously. An old man slide his glasses from his face. He tucked them into the collar of his shirt and tapped his book impatiently.
"I guess I'll watch her," my oldest daughter said.
I flung my boy over my shoulder. We barreled toward the kids' bathroom, but the door's little sliding tab read "occupied."
"Pee. I pee on bad guy," he giggled kicking me and pounding my back. "You bad guy."
"Shh. Don't pee, honey. I'm sure there's another bathroom . . . somewhere." We raced to the front of the library where four ladies checked books in and out at the counter. They watched me and my boy who still fought against my back.
"You bad guy. Put me down."
"We're almost there. And I AM NOT a bad guy!"
I saw the door, obviously leading to the bathroom, and that's how I discovered that book lovers pee standing.
I can't believe one of those four ladies at the desk didn't scream, "That's the men's bathroom." Instead they remained silent as I hurtled through the door. A man stood there peeing. He looked at me, did a double take. Then his hands shot into the air. His face turned to shock and he acted like I had pointed a gun at him. Did he think he was under arrest? But as he turned--still holding his hand up--he didn't stop peeing and it must have been a reflexive move because he looked down horrified. "Oh my God," he said and covered himself up.
I hate it when people take the Lord's name in vain. I didn't know if he'd said that because I'd walked in on him, he'd just missed the urinal completely, or since he was guilty of indecent exposure! My boy waved then. "Hell-O," he said. Why was he waving to that man that had just . . . well . . . exposed himself? Okay, that sounds wrong. I know it was my fault. But why did he throw up his hands and turn? I didn't want my boy waving to that idiot!
I gawked at my son, and as if the whole thing was his fault said, "This isn't the women's bathroom." I slid out the door. The four ladies leaned in my direction and their laughter burned against my nerves. They laughed AT me. We went to the family bathroom which waited vacant--Thank God. My boy twisted and turned; he whined so hard I thought I'd bust. To add to my turmoil, my phone rang.
"Cade?" I asked. "I just went into the men's bathroom. I'm in the right one now, but I never want to come out of here again. All the librarians and shelvers laughed at me." I know this type of thing happens to everyone. I bet almost everyone I know has gone into the wrong bathroom at least once, but those four ladies made fun of me."
"Don't feel bad," he said. I leaned against the wall and hoped he'd say something to make me feel better. "You know you just did it so you could blog about it."
I wanted to kick the wall. That made me so angry. What kind of loser does he think I am? Like I'd just say "Hey everyone, look at me. I'm walking into the men's bathroom so I can blog this." NO! That's not something I'd do. I told him so and hung up the phone.
My baby wailed from outside the bathroom door. We washed up and went to my girls and the baby. My oldest daughters smiled when they saw me. "Thanks for hurrying mom. We found more books."
I put my boy in the stroller but he flailed around like a dying fish. "Hold still, buddy. We're going home." A librarian passed me and I diverted my eyes. She'd seen me go into the men's room.
"Grab your books girls," I said. "Let's get out of here."
They had over twenty books, but ended up getting them all together quickly so we could check out fast. Too bad the line was about a year long! They only had one person checking out books. The other four employees huddled, snickering about something. They looked at me once and I fumed. I thought about whacking them with a book, but none of our current picks would do. Where were the good hardcovers like: "Gone With the Wind," "Grapes of Wrath," or "War and Peace." A big book would work for whacking those chucklers!
I thought about just leaving, but remembered the worst was past me. I'd never have to see that flasher guy again and my kids wanted to read those books really badly.
The snickering got louder the closer I got to checking out. I didn't understand why the women needed to act like twelve-year-olds. Then, as I started lifting my books near the counter, I looked at the guy who stood waiting to help me. I couldn't breathe. My hands shook and I wanted to hide in a hole! Before me, staring into my embarrassed eyes, was THE FLASHER!!!
I turned bright read as he gulped and grabbed the books I'd dropped on the counter. He gained his composure, adjusted and glared. "I trust you found everything you were looking for?"
"A little . . . more than I was looking for," I mumbled.
"A little?" he pulled out the word like it felt fetid on his tongue. What was he getting at? I didn't want to know. He'd ruined my day, not to mention I didn't want talk about his crime in the bathroom!
Then those four ladies started full out laughing like windup toys that have no off buttons. The oldest one bloated with merriment. That's when I started crying. I grabbed my books, pushed the stroller as fast as I could and hurried to the van.
I pulled out my cell phone. "Why do things like this always happen to me?" I asked my friend after telling her the whole story.
"These things happen to everyone. Everyone does stuff like that."
"He was the librarian! The flasher was the librarian. It would have been fine if I didn't have to see him and those ladies didn't laugh."
She paused and I almost heard the wheels cranking. I knew she was thinking of a blog I wrote about how my husband and my brother pee: Manly Man, Leg Crosser or Intellectual
"This is crazy timing with everything you've been writing on your blog," she said.
"Yeah, but you still haven't told me one thing."
"Was he standing or sitting?" she asked.
I snorted. Of course she'd find the funny side of the situation. "He was standing, and he peed on the wall."
"No way!" she busted with laughter. "Did you really see . . . something?"
"I saw it all. I'm so embarrassed . . . It is kinda funny though."
"That librarians pee standing?"
"Yes," I laughed.
"I'm glad we talked," she said. "This is just like Shindler's List. You went from crying to laughing."
"I guess I did." A smile rested on my face, like a feather floating on water. I hung up the phone and giggled because now I know that librarians pee standing.