A Comfortable Seat - 04.13.98

One night during the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, a friend of mine and I decided to go on one of our famed (to us anyway) music runs. A music run was a trip in which we would stop at as many different music stores as we possibly could in one night. Some nights, we would hit 5 or 6, while other nights, we would spend all our money at the first two stops and have a quick end to the evening.

While the actual process of going to the music stores and searching through the bins was quite a bit of fun, there was always one other key element to an evening of "music-running." This other main element was, of course, the place that we would eat at for the evening / afternoon. Because the main focus of the trip was the purchase of new music, the objective of both of us was to conserve as much money as possible in other ways. In order to do this on individual trips, we would eat at one of the big chain fast food places and load up our gullets with whatever was the cheapest. Usually, we'd manage to fill ourselves up and slide out of the place with a lead weight in our stomachs and only 3 dollars gone out of our wallets.

During the trip in question, it was the middle of the evening and we had both maxed out our spending at the first couple stores we had stopped at. We both had several new CD's and because we still had lots of time, decided to go inside the restaurant and look at our purchases while we ate, rather take the drive-through route and get home.

Upon entering the restaurant, we were surprised at the line. It was 8pm in the evening, but there was an entire little-league ball team going through the lines, and our wait looked to be several minutes. Deciding that we didn't want to go anywhere else, we both realized that the restroom would be a good stop (all those used-CD germs to wash off!), so we made our way to the back of the restaurant. On our way back, we were discussing our purchases and just sort of got absorbed in our conversation.

While turning around and talking to my friend, I pushed open the door to the bathroom and walked inside. My friend was right behind me and was telling me about a live performance he had seen of one of the bands whose CD he had just purchased. Suddenly a strange look came upon his face and he immediately stopped talking. He was looking at something and I swung my head around to see what the deal was.

Just beyond the barrier between the sink and the toilets was a row of three urinals attached to the wall. They were located at varying heights to accomidate the tall, middle, and short men who may wish to use the restroom. An old man was sitting in the middle urinal with his pants around his ankles and an intense look of concentration / constipation on his face. When he saw us, he didn't look startled at all, and without saying anything, seemed to be inviting us to sit down and do our duties on either side of him.

We turned quickly on our heels and headed back out the restroom door, through the line of little-leaguers, and out to the car. About halfway through our journey, we broke into uncontrolable laughter and must have seemed a bit juvenile to everyone who was looking at us on our way out.

On route to another fast-food dive, we laughed and joked about what we had just seen. We couldn't figure out whether the old man had thought the urinal was actually a toilet, or whether he was trying to use it as a bidet of some sort. In the end, we decided that he probably just decided that the mint looked lonely.