Wednesday, May 14, 2008

So--Just Curious--Have You Ever Gotten Locked in a Bathroom?

Several years ago, I took my daughter to a birthday party at McDonald's. She was always a little shy in new crowds and she didn't know many people at the party, so she asked me to stay. I wanted to give her a bit of security and also a bit of independence, so I got a coke and sat down in the restaurant, but outside the party room--she was on her own, but she could see me.

For a while.

And then I had to get up and go to the bathroom. All went as could be expected until I attempted to leave the stall and discovered that the door wouldn't open. I worked at it quite a bit before speaking to someone outside the door. I'd actually been about to use my cell phone to call the restaurant and tell them I was locked in the bathroom when someone mercifully entered.

She didn't answer the first couple of times--I guess you don't expect a stranger to be speaking to you from inside a bathroom stall. When I finally got her attention, she reluctantly attempted to open the door from the outside. She failed. Eventually, she fetched an employee, who was able to open the door. Amazingly, after she let me out she said, "That keeps happening."

I suggested that perhaps a sign on the door would be in order. She said, "Maybe" and left the room without posting one. I didn't see her go back. By the time I returned to the outer area, the party was ending, and my daughter had mercifully settled in and not noticed my absence.

But that's not the funny part. The funny part is that five or so years after this happened, I mentioned it to a friend of mine. She laughed uproariously and insisted that I was the only person in history ever to have been locked in a bathroom. I knew that couldn't be right, and pointed to the fact that the McDonald's employee had said, "that keeps happening." Obviously, it had happened to other people RIGHT THERE IN THAT VERY MCDONALD'S.

Still, my friend protested that she'd never heard of anyone getting locked in a bathroom before. She demanded to know whether I had, and I had to admit that I had not. We were in our late thirties at the time, so it seemed likely that, if this kind of thing was happening, we'd have heard about it a time or two. So we started asking around.

Guess what?

Exactly 50% of the people we asked had been locked in a bathroom at some point in their lives.

Half.

Apparently, they'd just done a very good job of keeping it under wraps.

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