Saturday, August 28, 2010

August 28, 2010: An Extremely Odd Moment

One of the weirdest things that has ever happened to me, happened last night. I wasn't really sure I was going to share this story based on the actual...ahem...'subject matter'...but when I re-evaluated the way it all went down, I just had to make a post.

My girlfriend and I had gone to the horse races last night, and before we left for the night, we had popped into the adjoining slot machine section. Now, this story doesn't really have anything to do with horse racing or slot machines, but rather what happened right before we left. Just as we were getting ready to go, I went into the bathroom.

(Warning, the remainder of this story takes place in the men's bathroom. Turn back if you are not prepared to proceed.)

When I walked in, there was an older man who had just come in as well, maybe in his 50s or 60s, and other than an employee filling the soap dispensers, we were the only ones in the room. There were 6 urinals lined up along the wall, and this man had taken up shop at #6. The thing about this man was that he was coughing heavily, a good old-fashioned smoker's cough that made it sound like he was ready to hack up his own lung at any moment.

Now, independent of the cough, I strolled on down to the other end of the urinals and chose #2. For those of you unaware as to why I chose #2, I would suggest you check out The Urinal Game for a crash course in Urinal Etiquette. No sooner do I get to the urinal, that another man comes in, probably in his late 40s and wearing dirty, ratty old shorts with a ball cap on his head.

This guy correctly chooses urinal #4 to give the maximum buffer space among the 3 of us, but just as he gets there, Johnny Coughs-A-Lot starts another bout of hacking, and apparently startles the new guy, who now backs away from #4, then comes all the way to my end, around me, and settles in at #1.

Now, guys out there will know what I'm talking about when I say there is nothing more odd in a men's restroom than a guy setting up shop right beside you when there are three empty spots open on the other side. I don't care if the guy at the other end is radiating a nuclear glow with flies dancing around him, you still pick #4. But it was no big deal, I was going to be out of there in a minute anyways.

Then here's where it got really weird.

This guy to my left now makes a big show of demonstratively straddling up to the urinal...spreading his legs out like he's got his palms on the hood of a police car and is about to get patted down. It was impossible to miss, even though I'm just staring at the wall in front of me. Then he does this even more dramatic show of shaking his arm and whipping it down to his crotch to...um...grip...in a very awkward way.
The best way I can describe it is to imagine if he were trying to give the Heimlich Manoeuver to his own pelvis. He had turned his hand backwards and was standing there astride with his other hand proudly on his hip. (like the left hand in the picture above) I know what you're thinking: "Why the hell were you looking at him?", but I wasn't! It was impossible not to see peripherally, he was making a point of it for some bizarre reason. Remember when cell phones were new, and there was always 'that guy' who had a cell phone, and when he was talking on it, had to have his elbow as high up as possible to show off that he was on a cell phone. That's what it was like.

So then, the guy at #6 starts hacking again, and as hes coughing, Mr. Spread-Em-And-Go to my left pipes up and says to me "Time for another cigarette, huh?". I'm too stunned to even respond, because you just don't talk to strangers at a urinal...ever. I've been very vocal about my belief that your time at the urinal is 'your time', and that there is never a justified reason to talk to another man while he is there. If you read my post on running into celebrity chef Bobby Flay in Las Vegas, you'll remember that. And if you haven't read that post, I suggest you do, if for no other reason than to re-examine proper handwashing procedures.

So I was stunned when this guy started talking to me, and I turned to look at him (in the face!), and he has this weird ear-to-ear grin as he's turning and facing me. And he says again, "Time for another cigarette, huh?", as if my response of "Huh?" meant "What did you just say?" instead of "Why are you talking to me, you freak!"

In what universe is standing at a urinal smiling at the stranger next to you as you make fun of another guy at a urinal down the way...while holding your manhood (backwards) in your hand...even remotely normal?

It was all I could do not to run screaming from the bathroom. It was like a deleted scene from a Rob Zombie movie.

I'm using the stalls from now on.

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