Sunday, March 04, 2012

Monday Funday: How reading almost ruined my life… a true story

One Friday night, my wife Stacy and I dropped all the kids off at mom and dad’s house, and then proceeded to a speaking engagement I had in Geneva, IL.  When my speaking duties were finished, we used the rest of the evening to enjoy a short date—some time together talking and drinking coffee at a bookstore.  After a few minutes, I sensed nature’s call and dismissed myself to the restroom facilities.  Being a voracious reader and person who loves to maximize time, I noticed—right before I entered the restroom—that the bookstore provided a wide variety of reading materials for those headed into the restroom.  I stopped for moment, carefully chose my reading material, and began reading as I walked into the restroom.

I proceeded to situate myself in a bathroom stall and started to enjoy the reading until I heard the voice of a chattering little boy as he walked into the restroom.  He jabbered a minute or so before I heard the voice of his MOTHER in the restroom with him!  Now, I'm a parent of seven kids, so I totally understand the need to assist kids in their restroom endeavors.  However, I was a little shaken by the fact that a woman was in the men’s restroom…with me…a Christian speaker who just finished sharing the Lord with a bunch of junior high students in Geneva, IL.  I didn't mind her helping her little boy, but I thought that she should have known that it would have been much better for her to take her little boy to the women’s restroom—instead of her coming into the men’s restroom with him.  (The nerve of some people.)

By now I had finished my business (and reading) and was waiting for the woman and the little boy to leave before I stepped out of the bathroom stall to wash my hands.  What can I say?  I’m modest when it comes to being in a public restroom facility with a woman.  While I was waiting for the woman and the little boy to leave, someone else entered the stall next to mine.  In a matter of a minute (the brevity itself I found to be strange for a man using a bathroom stall), the person in the next stall finished and walked right passed the boy and the woman and out of the bathroom—seeming to have no problem with the fact that a woman was in the men’s restroom.

Finally, I peeked my head above my bathroom stall and saw that in addition to the sink and mirror, this bathroom had all stalls—and NO urinals!  It was at this point I had an epiphany. I, Bill Allison, father of seven, Executive Director of Cadre Ministries, was in the women’s restroom. YIKES!  Now I had to go to the bathroom again.  I literally began to shake.  It seemed like an eternity until the woman and her little boy finally left.  Then I was paralyzed for a moment.  Should I run out of this bathroom stall now?  What if a woman came out of another bathroom stall and noticed me?  What if another woman came in when I was going out?  With all of these legitimate fears surging through my heart and mind, I quickly unlocked the bathroom stall, ran to the bathroom exit, and ran across to the men’s room where I casually proceeded to wash and dry my hands.

Soon I was reunited with my date.  Stacy took one look at me and said, "What's wrong?" I said, "We should probably get on the road… now."

Once I was convinced the police weren't following us, I told her about my little adventure. She laughed all the rest of the way home… at me… not with me. And I was sure not to stop for any bathroom breaks on the rest of the way home.

I wished this wasn't a true story… but it is.

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