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Thursday, May 19, 2016

All Gender Restrooms

So yesterday I had the joy of chauffeuring Cole and his friend, Michael, to a soccer practice in Omaha. Fourteen-year-old boys are funny. Funny as in ha-ha. And of course funny, as in awkward. Of course, it's  a time of rapid development with their bodies seeming to mature much more quickly then their, well, brains. All the more amusing.

I gave the boys privacy by turning up NPR as they giggled about who knows what in the backseat. (I've heard enough of their astute observations on girls in the past. After a long day at work, I wasn't in the mood to step on my feminist platform and tell them a thing or two about respect and objectification of women.) Needless to say I shut my ears to their chatter of nice butts and whatnot.

About twenty minutes into the trip, I got that niggling on the bladder. Curse the 34 ounce Smart Water! Thirty minutes later, the niggling proceeded to nagging. Then! Like a breath of fresh air, a sign appeared:

Rest Area Two Miles

"Boys? Do you need to go the restroom before practice?"

Nah. They had issues to discuss. Places to see.

I considered holding it. For no more than a second.

"I'm going. I promise we won't be late."

After we pulled in, the boys decided to use the restroom as well. Everyone on the Interstate must've been drinking their Smart Waters because it was a rest stop abuzz. I dashed into the bathroom, relieved to find one open stall. Of course, it hadn't been flushed, but I didn't care. Time to do or die.

It was one of those sessions in which the quantity of urine astounded me. As I peed and peed and peed, I was vaguely aware of activity occurring outside the stall. Finally, the tinkle ended. I exited the stall to be greeted by the next person in line. Imagine my shock when it registered. I was facing Michael.

"Michael! What are you doing in here!"

For a tiny second, it occurred to me I might've been in the men's bathroom. Then Michael shrugged before heading into the unoccupied stall. Shortly after, Cole casually strolled out of another stall.

Okay. Why in the world are you boys in here?

"The toilets are flooded in the men's bathroom. We had to use the Ladies."

Unapologetically. Without reservation.

What if I would've been pooping?

"We wouldn't have cared, Mom."

Probably not. Fourteen-year-old boys. Nothing is sacred, and there's always a reason to laugh.

We walked back to the car. In all of the excitement, I realized I had forgotten the keys in the restroom. As I ran back in, I met another young unfazed teenage boy walking out. Unapologetically. Without reservation.

The more I thought about it, the more I found the entire situation hilarious. Even today, I laughed every time I thought about Michael's nonplussed expression while I nearly jumped out of my skin. In reality, the boys in the restroom were no big deal. After all, the stalls are private. I had not pooped. But as we all know, public, integrated bathrooms would never work as a long-term policy. Wars would be waged from raised toilet seats. I'm just glad I got in before they did.

Cole and Michael. Boys unabashed.

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