We were driving to Florida for vacation one summer and had planned to stop in Gatlinburg, TN, booking two nights at the Ogles Vacation Motel. My parents made reservations here based on two factors: our neighbor's recommendation ("The Ogles own that town!") and my Dad's faint childhood memory of it having quaint little cabins. Both of these turned out to be completely false.
The motel was dated, run-down, and, to my Mom's horror, unclean. Now before you go thinking that we were just being snobs, we even found a hair (of the short, black and curly variety) in the shower. I would not go in it without flip-flops, and my sister went as far as to wear her swimsuit as well. She was under the impression that a thin layer of spandex could protect her from any odious diseases that might get stirred up once the hot water was turned on. We were already there and had to spend the night, so my Mom tried to make the best of it.
"Look, there's a pool! Maybe we should just go swimming." She hoped to God that it was regularly maintained with chlorine.
"It's kidney-shaped! Ewww, kidneys!" Bridget yelled upon seeing it. This immediately struck fear into the heart of my five-year-old brother, Patrick, who at this point in his life had no positive associations with kidneys (beans, internal organs, or otherwise) and subsequently refused to go near the pool. We could tell my Mom was about to break, and the fact that Bridget was unwilling to touch anything in the room without the use of a tissue as a buffer wasn't helping.
That night while riding on the Sky Lift, Bridget and I hatched two plans. One was to each take off one of our sandals and tell our parents that they had fallen off on the Sky Lift and been lost. (Why we thought this was funny, I cannot now say.) The second was to beg our parents to let us leave the Ogles and stay at the hotel that had a pool on the roof, which we had spied from the Sky Lift.
While we limped up and down the Parkway in only one shoe (we kept up this ruse for hours) we finally wore them down, and enjoyed the remainder of our stay splashing around in the chlorinated, non-kidney-shaped rooftop pool.
If unclean hotels put my Mom on edge, public bathrooms are enough to drive her insane. From the time we were all potty trained, she began educating us about the evils of public bathrooms and teaching us her complicated method involving paper towels and gravity-defying acrobatic moves that allows her to complete the entire bathroom ritual without actually touching anything.
Maybe I'm just lazy, but this always seemed like such a hassle. So, I opted to just not go. I would just hold it, and luckily I had the bladder for it. Long car trip? No one would have to stop on my account. All day shopping excursion? I'll just be over in this store while you all take a bathroom break. I can actually say that I went my whole first year of teaching without entering the bathroom even once. (I'm not sure whether I should be proud of this or just disturbed.)
I even eschewed peeing while out on camping or canoeing trips, which earned me a nickname from my Dad: Princess Never Pee. He said it was my Indian name. And, if my Mom had an Indian name, it would probably be something like Lysol Mother or One Who Vanquishes Germs...I don't know, I'll have to work on it. But I do find myself channeling her when I am in a public bathroom with my two-year-old daughter and I shout, "DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!!"
I guess the Clorox Wipe doesn't fall far from the container.
|No thank you, I'll just hold it.|