He put a quarter in the Wurlitzer, and he pushed
Three buttons and the thing began to whirr
And a bar maid came by in fishnet stockings and a bow tie
And she said “Drink up now it’s gettin’ on time to close.”
“Richard, you haven’t really changed,” I said
It’s just that now you’re romanticizing some pain that’s in your head
You got tombs in your eyes, but the songs
You punched are dreaming
— the prophet joni
I’m standing at the trailhead. It’s in a deserted park just about a mile to the left of the middle of nowhere. But first, a pit stop.
We went for lunch earlier to a place that features a grinning moose. One of the Fundamentals of Running likely is “Never eat at a place featuring a grinning moose an hour before you run, you moron.” But I must have missed running class that day. Anyhow, that have a sandwich called the Mo. Who could resist that? I ordered the variation called the Southwest Mo, which apparently means they just add 35 jalapenos before going back to their hipster talk in the back. This is not sitting well, in that “man, I hope I still have TP in the ol’ Nathan” sort of way.
The trailhead has a small no-water restroom divided in two sides, one for each gender. I, still smarting from the unfortunate Junction McDonald’s incident, choose the men’s room. Therein lies the problem.
As I walk in, I notice a wasp. Mano a waspo. I like my odds. Then I notice his 3,255 friends. I no longer like my odds. I scream like a little girl (sorry, little girls) and run for it. There’s no way I’m going to be the subject of an obituary that starts out “Gary Smith, an idiot who enjoyed eating large sandwiches shortly before running, died Wednesday of wasp stings while sitting on a port-a-pot in a deserted West Texas state park. He is survived by a wife and cat, though neither will admit it.”
I tiptoe over to the women’s side and peek in. There are no wasps. There IS a comfortable overstuffed couch, a big-screen TV, the light scent of lavender, and a bidet (which is remarkable in that there is no water in these port-a-pots.
Do I dare? Yin says I’m in the middle of nowhere. I’ve got the place to myself and it’s 4 p.m., so things are likely to stay that way. If a car pulls up, I could make an escape quickly. Done.
But then yang shows up. What if a biker or runner comes up on it? The trail runs across the road in both directions, so someone could be on the trail without a car at this trailhead. They would enter to find me inside the ladies’ room. I would mumble and look guilty, they would douse me with bear spray, the wasps would smell my fear, I would end up with the same obit except for “cyclist heroically kills weird man in port-a-pot” headline.
So I do what any sissy boy would do — I get in the car and drive a couple of miles to the next restroom. Flushies! All is well.
Nothing happens. The moment has passed. Despite my Bathroom Dance and Positive Potty Thoughts, nothing.
I get back in the car and drive back to the trailhead.
I start running, and after a mile, of course, I’m in trouble the whole way. I barely make it back to the finish and the trailhead and … the same restroom. And the same wasps. And the same drive to the other joint. And a happy ending. At last.
I hate running.