Recognized Social Butterfly


 Incommodious Moments

Yesterday at the Belk’s department store in Nags Head, NC, I urgently needed to get to a bathroom stall. After finding out from a salesclerk where the rest room was located, I barged in. Unfortunately, the stall was already taken by a man who was groaning with every ineffectual effort to move his bowels. I waited opposite the stall, making sure that I would be first in line when the man was done unloading his burden. But soon his frustration was so overpowering that I decided to pace outside the restroom. When the man didn’t come out after a while, I went back. In between grunts, the poor guy told me that because he was going to be in the stall for a long time with his “problem,” I should go to the other restroom. I didn’t know that there was another one, so I found out from a different salesclerk that it was lodged at the far end of the store.

Taking a shortcut through racks of clothes, I spied the men’s room. When I entered, the only thing that I saw was an exposed toilet. I locked myself in by firmly pushing the button on the flimsy door handle. Relief at last!

Just as I was comfortable making my transaction on the toilet, the door opened. An enormously tall pockmarked man bundled up in a winter coat saw me on the commode: he quickly apologized. Before he left, he said that I had probably failed to sufficiently lock the door. So he did so for me. During this embarrassing interlude, I tried to maintain as much composure as possible.

Completing my job without further intrusions, I departed, but not until I even more firmly locked the door to determine if I was remiss in securing it earlier. It turns out that the lock didn’t work. It was faulty; I was exonerated.

Twenty miles down the road at Manteo’s Elizabethan Gardens, I briefly used the restroom. As I left, I noticed that a man standing nearby looked and dressed exactly like the guy who interrupted me in the Belk men’s room. Was I delusional or was this a weird coincidence? I didn’t dare inquire.  

Halloween will be here in two weeks. Perhaps I was just being prematurely spooked.

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