For years I’ve pondered the universal question that plagues American males. Why can’t we read signs on public restroom doors? Somewhere there may be a man who hasn’t accidentally entered the ladies room; I have yet to meet him. Over the years I’ve found myself red-faced, disconcerted as I apologetically back out the door of a “room with a view” not meant for me.
Having committed this social faux pas, swearing to the Gods of relief that it will never happen again, a couple of years go by, and there I am, again in no man’s land. A few months ago my wife and I were leaving a restaurant. We were on a road trip, and decided it best that we both go before the long ride to the next stop. Before entering the sanctum of male contemplation I stopped to pay the check – my wife went on to her destination with road relief.
After I paid the check, I meandered to the men’s room, mulling over the cost of an iPad – should I wait or what? As I neared the sitting room, the corner of the doorframe cut off the WO from Women, and what registered in my one thought mind was Men. In I went. Clues were all about me that something was wrong. Strange, I thought, no urinals, just stalls. Oh well, use a stall.
It is a scientific fact that humans cannot multitask. The brain can think, ponder, muse over one thing at a time. As we evolve I have no doubt that women will be first to overcome this issue, solve abstract mathematical computations, unravel some of those pesky rocket science problems, while planning the family vacation and putting a child in time-out. I’m convinced some already do this. Men, on the other hand can only think about one thing – a sports score, how to mount 50 caliber machine guns on the hood of the car to take out jerks who cut us off in traffic, and similar important concerns.
As I stood in the stall, I was awakened by the excessive noise from the adjoining stall. Wow, this guy was slamming things, rolling off paper like he owned stock in the company and the flush was deafening. My thought moved from iPad to I’m not leaving here till he is gone. And shortly he was gone.
I instinctually washed my hands, my thought moved to iPads compared to Kindles. I finished and started out the door. Two teen-aged girls were coming in, eying me as if I’d taken away their ability to text message. I glanced at the sign on the door – plainly it said Women. First thought, I am not a pervert, really, swear on my mother’s grave this was unintentional. I’m a guy. I don’t see clearly most of the time. I have important things to think about.
In the car I told my wife what happened. She laughed so hard I thought she was going to injure herself. I told her about the guy making all the noise in the stall next to me. She stopped laughing and told me to listen carefully.
There were only two stalls. The guy next to me was her. Between bouts of uncontrollable laughter, she questioned me about the sign, the differences between rooms for men and ladies and my mental state in general. I let my mind wander back to the pros and cons of an iPad. Expecting me to think about signs and room furnishings is just asking too damned much.