Every weekend my husband and I head off to the bookstore . . . It’s a crucial aspect of my mental health regimen. Coffee and books. There are plenty of studies out there to confirm my position on the positive effects of coffee and bookstores, at least that’s what I told my husband. I know I’ve read it somewhere.
The bookstore for me is a sanctuary of solace. Coffee is the elixir of life. Barnes and Noble is my Shangri-la. Sometimes though, my experience is bittered, polluted in this case, by other people who obviously do not understand bookstore behavior.
My afternoon started off with promise, with a bit of bliss even. I roamed the aisles, scanning tables and shelves, making mental notes of what treasures lay scattered about as I made my way toward the Sci-Fi section. I’d barely began reading the synopsis of Summerlong by Peter S. Beagle when I sensed a disturbance settling uncomfortably around me.
I looked up to see a man quickly rounding the corner at the end of the aisle when it hit me. The smell. The god-awful, putrescent stench of whatever fowl food was decaying within his inner workings filled the air about me. My eyes began to burn. I held my breath lest it enter my lungs and spread throughout my respiratory system, making me quickly and surely dead within a matter of moments.
I fled as quickly as I could, taking what I thought would be refuge in Romance, but when I dared begin to fill my lungs with air I realized it wasn’t over. Weakened by lack of oxygen I thought I was done for, but the sheer will to survive gave me strength enough to continue. Teen Fiction was the next aisle over, I was sure I’d be safe there, I was wrong.
I am fairly certain that man was in need of medical attention.
I heard rumblings from Fiction and Literature and sure enough, there were other survivors, huddled together for comfort.
From there, I quickly made my way to the Starbucks Cafe at the opposite end of the store where my husband sat, flipping through a magazine while sipping a venti iced coffee with half and half and classic sweetener.
I must have looked dreadful after my harrowing experience, but he was kind enough not to mention it. I told him what happened through gasping breaths. He raised one eyebrow, told me to stop being melodramatic, and went back to the latest issue of Hot Rod magazine. If he’d been there, he wouldn’t have been so flippant about it.
Anyway, I composed myself and ventured back out into the stacks, keeping an eye out for that flatulent fiend, thankfully, I didn’t see him. He must have fled the scene of the crime. He dropped that bomb and ran. Monster.
I made my way to the restroom for a bit of freshening up. Maybe I was being silly washing my face and my arms and my hands as thoroughly as I did, but I’d just been exposed to a toxic cloud of gas. I didn’t want to take any chances. Of course, all that running water made me need to pee. I waited for a stall to open. When one did, a little boy skipped out, followed by his mother.
When I shouldered the door open I was horrified. Pee. Everywhere. How? Why? Was mom watching videos on her fricking phone while her little angel was painting the place with piss?
Now, I raised three boys, I know what can happen in the restroom, but seriously?
I backed out and waited for the next one to open. A well dressed woman exited, her smile lulled me into a false sense of security. You know what I saw? Pee! Drips and dribbles of pee on the seat. What the hell? It wasn’t just one or two either, it was on each side and the back. Again, how? Why? You might be wondering how I know it was pee, you might be thinking it could have been spray from the flush. No. She clearly needs to up her water intake. It was grown-ass woman pee.
I decided to hold it.
Determined to enjoy what time I had left before my bladder forced an end to my bookstore day, I again composed myself and decided to head over to Biographies, I never made it that far. See, the direction I was traveling took me past the children’s books, I wasn’t two steps in front of the entrance when I was body slammed by a runaway kid, who was followed by another runaway kid who was followed by an agitated mom who told me to watch where I was going.
Despite everything, I somehow managed to make it to the register with two books. My bladder held until a suitable restroom could be found. While it wasn’t the best bookstore day, it wasn’t the worst either. Actually, it was. It was the worst bookstore day ever and I think I’m deserving of a do-over.
A plea to my fellow humans . . .
If you can, please hold your farts until you’ve found a suitably airy and unoccupied space to release them. An empty aisle in a bookstore does not fit that criteria, the restroom will work, exiting the building will work. If possible, please refrain from eating gas inducing food items prior to entering a public space.
Moms, from one mom to another, for the love of all things not disgusting, please teach your young boys to aim. Toilets were designed with a great big hole filled with water, that is where the pee goes. If they do happen to miss, these things happen, please clean that nastiness up.
Ladies, I can’t believe I even have to ask, please stop dribbling piss on toilet seats. What are you even doing? Use the damn toilet seat protectors, hover if you must, but geez, don’t piss all over the seat and walk away. That’s just nasty.
Moms, I know kids can get rambunctious, especially in public, but if you can’t keep them from running and screaming and turning mischief into mayhem outside of your home, take them to the fricking park. Teach them to behave for goodness sake, I managed it, so can you.