Friday, September 12, 2008
A Lot on My Mind
I spent the morning sweeping off the course for the club's big roadrace. Most times I've done this, it's entailed getting about halfway around the course, then having to jet into the woods to drop a major bomb. It's tradition - ride the Muffin Ride, drink about 6 shots of espresso, then let nature take its predictable, distressing course. I even packed a bunch of napkins stolen from local fast food restaurants to deal with just such an eventuality.
This year, because the original race date was canceled, we're running the race about two months late. Due to increased rain and whatnot, the sweeping seemed a lot easier, like there was less gravel on the road. (Because in reality, there was less gravel.) So we got halfway around and met the other sweeping team in just 90 minutes or so. Thus I failed to keep up the tradition of a mid-sweep potty break, we were just moving too fast, and we had no reason to stop at The Traditional Location. Which is sad because I was looking forward to seeing if my efforts to fertilize the neighborhood had resulted in great fields of lillies blooming just up over the rise.
After dropping the guys off at the Middle School, I parted ways, explaining I was about to drop one myself if I couldn't find some facilities, stat. So I hauled ass, as it were, up to the nearest convenience store about ten miles away. There's no telling what would have happened if I'd been stopped by the cops - I was doing about twice the legal speed limit, had a bag full of empty beer cans we'd swept off the road, and had opened my top button and undid my belt in the hopes of relieving some pressure and making it to the store without a major disaster. It wouldn't have looked good and would have been hard to explain. I would have to start with the California Burrito I ate for lunch yesterday. Black beans, chicken, jerk spices, and then slathered in a hot sauce rated "9," which left my mouth, nose, throat and stomach burning for several hours. (Whoops, overdid it big time with the hot sauce, but I was too proud to admit my mistake to my wife, and I ate the whole damn thing. Had a bad stomach since the precise moment that I finished the damn thing...)
So after a mercifully traffic-free run, I got to the convenience store and parked in the fire lane. I'd say that I ran in, but nobody can run in that condition. I hobbled in feeling doubled over in pain, though I was probably merely bent about 20 degrees from vertical on the upper body, doing up my belt as I staggered into the store, as if I was doing some goofball pilates exercise. Yeah, this was a good exhibit by Joe Upright Citizen. Criminy.
I waddled into the bathroom, locked the door, then double checked the lock because the last thing I needed was somebody walking in on me, mid-Dresden firebombing. A quick courtesy flush to eliminate the remnants of the last customer - not exactly remnants, more like main inventory - and a quick wipe to get all the last guy's pee off the seat. Apparently the seat must have been on fire because it appeared to have been hit with a fire hose. Gosh - did he pee while standing in the Candy aisle? Pretty soon, I was ready to go.
And I let her rip. It was glorious relief though lord knows, the full sensory assault would have supported a no-knock probable cause warrant. Cops can get those when it's clear the occupants of an area, even though they may have a substantial expectation of privacy, are up to some extremely unwholesome activity.
After probably setting several world records, both in the main event and other related minor activities, I buckled back up and did a world class hand washing. I didn't want to take any chances, y'know? I staggered out of there bringing a hazy cloud with me, only to nearly trample one of the local residents of that town, which shall remain nameless. The resident was accompanied by a little girl, her daughter I guess, who said, "Mommy! I need to pee right now!" She ran into the unisex bathroom of the little convenience store before the door could shut.
The mommy shot me a nasty look, a look so sour it probably curdled every product in the dairy case, and then stumbled mutely into the bathroom like a shell-shocked and mustard-gassed WWI soldier, and gave me one last nasty glance - "screw you, Kitchener!" before the door shut behind her.
Knowing that I would be getting more scathing looks and maybe even some nasty commentary if she and the girl made it out alive, I knew I needed to get the hell out of there fast. I needed a drink though. I snagged a small bottle of skim milk, a great snack, and beat feet to the register.
The proprieter, a middle aged gent of Asian extraction, ambled up to the register. As he did so, I grabbed a little bottle of 5 Hour Energy, a 2 ounce vial of liquorice-tasting energy drink comprised primarily of vitamins, caffeine, and faintly disturbing-sounding ingredients that will probably ultimately cause me to fail a drug test at work, like Guarana which sounds like something bats leave in a cave.
At this point, the proprietor asks me if I've ever tried it before. I said yeah, sometimes when I'm a little down. He then winks at me two or three times. I said, "I can only drink so much coffee." He then winks at me again. At this point I realize I'm probably stuck in a Monty Python sketch and it's only going downhill from here.
"What do you mean?" I asked. "I have girls stopping by here all the time," he said, "for their boyfriends. It makes them... you know..."
Then he held his right arm adjacent to his body, made a fist, bent the arm at the elbow and extended it out to 90 degrees, and slapped his forearm with his left hand.
"Um, I'll have to try that some time. How much?"
I heard the bathroom door unlocking and realized it could get real ugly, real uglier, real fast. This was getting very uncomfortable.
The store owner said it would be 6-something. So I threw seven bucks on the counter, turned and hoofed it out of there.
"But your change, sir!" he said.
"Keep the tip!"
I got to the truck as fast as I could, peeled out of the parking lot and got back on the road to D.C. Around the time I got on 270, I started laughing uncontrollably, and could not stop laughing for several minutes. Definitely the weirdest set of convenience store interactions I've ever had during daylight hours.
Next year, if nature calls again mid-sweep, I'm going to ditch the chain gang and run into the woods to do my business. I've learned my lesson here: when nature calls, listen. She knows what she's doing.
Here, have a little Richard Cheese for this week's musical interlude. See you at the races.