Monday, March 16, 2009

Day Sixty-Two: Nothing to see here, folks...

Blog post written March 14th, 2009

You won’t actually read this ‘till Monday, but this is Saturday’s blog. See, I didn’t miss a day, I just didn’t have Internet access at a time I could blog.

So the other day, I was at a gas station, waiting to wash my hands in their restroom because some gas spilled on one of my hands—long story. (I know, that’s always the best way to start a story, right?) I go in the convenience store door and head toward the back. The man behind the counter calls after me, “Hey, restroom?” “Yeah,” I reply. “It’s busy, man.” “Huh?” I asked, mostly because the guy spoke with a fairly heavy accent, and I wasn’t sure what he’d said. “There’s somebody in there,” he said. “Okay, I’ll wait,” I said.

Odd that the cashier would warn me of that sort of thing. Usually they just let you find out the door is locked for yourself. I figured maybe the lock is broken, so this guy is just keeping an eagle-eye watch out so there are no awkward moments.

So I stand and wait. For a full five minutes. At that point, I decide it’s a good idea to knock on the door, just to make sure there is, in fact, someone in there, and the cashier hadn’t just missed them leaving.

Knock, knock, knock.

“WHAT?!” a woman’s voice replies. I step back, satisfied. Yes, there is still someone in the restroom, I tell myself. And apparently she doesn’t like people knocking at her. So I wait some more.

After another three or four minutes (keep in mind my wife and son are in the car waiting for me all this time), another guy goes toward the door. I’m wondering why the guy doesn’t notice that I’m standing in line, and also feeling for the guy who’s about to get his head bitten off. He knocks on the door. The woman inside gives a slightly more polite, “Yeah?” Then the man starts speaking to her, and they converse. I don’t know what they were saying, because a) it’s not any of my business, and b) it was all in Spanish anyway. Regardless, after a moment the door opens a bit, and now they’re speaking through an open crack in the door. Then, a purse is passed through the door to him, and the man turns and exits. Moments later, the woman emerges. At no point was there the sound of running water or flushing.

Whatever, right? Finally time to wash my hands, take the family to the grocery store, and get home in just enough time to chow down on something quick and head back to work.

While standing at the sink, I can’t help but notice something unusual about this particular restroom (aside from the general small-gas-station-restroom disgustingness, of course): the toilet has been entirely stopped up with papers. Now I’m curious, so I squint to see if I can figure out what kind of papers they are. Of course, they’re all mangled and crumpled and wet, so they’re nearly impossible to read, but I do see the word “prisoner” several times on more than one sheet.

I wash my hands and leave the store. Nothing suspicious going on there. Not at all.