I volunteered today. As I’m expressly forbidden from mentioning my volunteer experience on any social media platform unless totally family friendly, review my last post and let’s not even consider the possibility of bringing it up here. Instead, as what I do as a volunteer is kinda-sorta-if-you-squint-and-look-at-it-from-the-right-angle peripherally related to a position I once held, I will tell a completely different story occurred several years ago about children and the thing that really ties humanity together: using the toilet.
Luckily this is not about changing diapers, because anyone who would allow me around an infant is clearly an unfit parent. But I digress. Names of all small children have been changed for obvious reasons.
So I used to work in an informal learning center for kids. You know – a day camp, day care, after school type place. The sort of place where overworked middle-class parents can drop their kid off when they’re out of school and then go feel guilty about it because their jackwagon boss won’t let them them take their vacation days. One of my esteemed duties in this place was taking kids to the bathroom when the camp instructors and their aides were overwhelmed or understaffed. Yes, I know, but it honestly wasn’t that unreasonable. It was a large place and the kiddie camp was a very, very small part of what this organization did. The bathrooms were located a decent walk from the classroom, and when you’re a small six-year-old with a poor sense of direction and a full bladder that can be half a world away. Plus, the bathrooms were in the middle of the lobby in a very well-trafficked area. As we all know any child under the age of 14 will immediately be set upon by predators* if they walk around an area like that alone, so even the 11 and 12 year olds had to have someone take them no matter how sure they were they could get to a bathroom by themselves.
So anyway, I took a group of six or seven kids to the bathrooms one day after lunch. I’d say none of them were older than, oh, eight years old, and it was a mixed group of about half girls and half boys. One of the boys in the party, we’ll call him Josh, was the typical kiddie camp hellion – completely unable to be disciplined, issues at home that weren’t abuse but were really not helping him, and a mouth that would say anything and everything that came to mind. I half dreaded this kid (because he’d inevitably say or do something he shouldn’t around me and I’m terrible with disciplining nice kids who do what they’re told), and half loved being around him for the what the fuck value. So all the boys and all the girls go into their respective bathrooms, and the first one to finish his business is our beloved Josh. After interrogating him about handwashing, I started glancing at the clock hoping the others would come out of the bathroom before Josh found a way to set off some fireworks, rob the camp’s register, and make if half the way to Canada on the earnings. It was my lucky day that he decided instead to tell me all about his theory on bathroom time inequality.
Josh: “I know when we’ll leave and go back to the classroom.”
Me: “Really? When’s that?”
Josh: “When all the girls are out of the bathroom.”
Me: “Well, we’ve got to wait on the boys, too.”
By this point, two of the girls and all the boys except for one, Emilio, are out of the bathroom.
Josh: “Girls always take like twice as long as boys to go to the bathroom, at least.”
Another girl leaves the bathroom. We’re waiting on one girl and Emilio.
Me: “Really? I think sometimes boys take a long time, too.”
Josh: “That’s silly. Girls always take longer. Always.”
The final girl comes out of the bathroom, and Josh, true to his theory, starts walking back to the classroom. I flag him down.
Me: “Hey, Josh, we’re not done yet.”
Josh: “But all the girls are out.”
Me: “Yes, but we’re still waiting on Emilio. He’s still in the bathroom, so we’re not quite done. We’re still waiting.”
Josh shot me this half-bewildered, half-pissed look, thought for a second, brightened up, and then walked over to the bathroom door (which, I’ll remind you, is in the middle of a heavily trafficked lobby) opened it wide and yelled:
“EMILIO! HURRY UP AND FINISH POOPING!”
Then turned around with an extremely self-satisfied look on his face, nodded at me, and leaned against the wall to wait for poor little Emilio.
*What, you’ve never heard of a kid being torn apart by wild dogs in an enclosed, public space**? Dude, you have not been watching the news.
**Ten bucks says that actually happened and someone will send me an angry e-mail like “Come on SSS, that happened to my cousin. My aunt read your post and now she’s crying.” And then I’ll feel like a grade-A asshole.