BOB EASTLEY: Holding up the line

By Bob Eastley

Pioneer Columnist

You probably saw the commercial on TV a while back for some plastic card we can’t possibly live without (credit, debit, hobbit, I forget). The patrons at some coffee place were getting their beverages and swiping their cards, and proceeding through the line like some well-choreographed dance routine.

Everything ran like butter until some numbskull had the audacity to pay with cash. Well, the whole process came to a grinding halt, and they all stared at him like he was Jerry Sandusky.

I ran into a similar situation, if you can call a men’s room similar to a coffee shop, this past weekend at a cross-country ski resort up by Higgins Lake. It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day, and we were there for the end-of-the-season relay. The crowd was really festive, with people dressed more for the beach than for skiing, and there was a fabulous picnic planned for after the race.

However, before the social stuff began, we all had to do our relay legs, and there’s something that happens to fitness athletes before a big event. Maybe it’s nerves or anxious anticipation, but almost everyone in the group develops intestinal issues. There’s always a steady stream, so to speak, of people running frantically for the rest room.

Well, this place has only one men’s room, and seating just for one, so while one guy is taking care of business, 14 more are packed in shoulder to shoulder in a big, cozy holding pattern, trying not to make eye contact, and waiting for their turn.

Without being too graphic, it’s common courtesy to get in and out without dawdling, being cognizant of the stress levels of those behind you. This was the case until some teenage kid entered the stall and threw sand into the gears of progress.

The guy on deck (we’ll call him Bill) was in leg No. 1, and had 30 minutes until his start. That should have been plenty of time, but the little twerp ahead of him was organizing his wardrobe. We could all hear him in there, zipping and snapping and tucking and whatnot. This literally went on for five minutes until Bill could stand it no longer and said, “Hey, can you hurry? I really need to get going.” The kid mumbled something indistinguishable and continued snapping and zipping.

By now, six more guys were in line. With 15 minutes to go, Bill got REALLY anxious and pleaded with the kid to hurry. All he got was an “Uh-huh.” At 10:50, Bill decided he’d better just hold it, and ran (uncomfortably) out to find his skis. On his way out he snarled something at the little brat that can’t be printed in a family paper.

At 10:55 (drum roll please), this stupid kid, fully aware that he was making everyone miserable, emerged from the stall, texting on his phone, a vision of hormones gone amok (I like that word) in his skiing ensemble. He didn’t flush, simply because he didn’t have to. He hadn’t even gone. He just spent 25 minutes using the stall as a changing room because he didn’t want us to know if he wore boxers, briefs or a thong. The comments fired at him as he exited were less than kind, but he was totally oblivious.

I ran into Bill after the race. The poor guy wasn’t having a very good day. His time was pretty slow, but it’s tough to cross-country ski while holding your knees together. Last I saw him, he was looking for our little buddy. I think he was going to introduce him to his first swirly.

Contact Bob Eastley at eastleyr@ferris.edu.

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