Today’s unsavory public restroom moment is brought to you by Skate City.

This weekend we had the pleasure of attending a seven year old’s birthday party at the aforementioned roller skating rink. Upon hearing that the party would take place at the scene of such childhood nostalgia, I felt a tad bit giddy. A skating rink! When was the last time I had been to one of those? For sure not since the early nineties.

Begin flashback: the gawky brunette whose bony ankles appear that they may not be able to support her own weight dons a pair of rollerskates. She peers eagerly through her gigantic glasses around the dimly lit rink, dreaming of the perfect boy to hold hands with during the couples skate. Flicking a piece of her heinously permed mall bangs out of her eyes, she sighs and resigns herself to the fact that this, like all other couples skates, will be a song that she sits out.

Another treasure.

Well, hell! Why exactly did I want to return to the scene of such painful memories? Perhaps to rewrite history. “Hey, hubby!” I whispered excitedly. “Let’s pretend we’re early adolescents and hold hands while we skate to the slow songs! Maybe we can even make out a little!”

He did not seem impressed or inspired by this suggestion. Stick in the mud.

As it turns out, we actually argued calmly debated which of us would accompany our uncoordinated six year old onto the skating rink floor. Our key points included which one of us would be more badly injured when the inevitable fall took place.

 When we witnessed exactly how much of a disaster our daughter was on skates, (picture the scene when Bambi first stands up and her limbs are splaying out) Shawn went up to the front desk to procure a tripod of sorts made out of PVC pipe. It looked like a walker with wheels.

By the time he returned, Izzy had already endured enough, following one of her pal’s fathers around the rink, clinging desperately to the wall. Roller skating attempt #1 complete. Neither of us had to put on a pair of skates.

At this point I needed to use the bathroom, and suggested that Izzy, now free of skates, come with me. I asked her pal Hannah if she wanted to join us, figuring she would decline, but she surprised us by tagging along. (Why do children never want to go to the bathroom when their own parents ask? I guess the enjoyment of girls going to the restroom in packs starts early.)

As we headed away from the rink, we picked up yet another pal, Emma, who had just bit the dust on her skates and was still sniffing back tears. “Are you sure you want to take her?” her mom asked hesitantly. “She’s got her skates on and it will probably be slippery in there.”

I waved my hand dismissively, up to the challenge, and walked into the unpleasant fluorescent glow of one of the stickiest, most disgusting restrooms I have ever seen. I focused my attention on Emma, unwieldy on her rollerskates, and helped her into the stall.

As luck would have it, she was wearing a leotard, and I had to help her strip while also trying to keep her from losing her balance and getting a concussion on the toilet. This was no small feat.

At that moment my daughter called out to me, “Hey Mommy, this toilet doesn’t have a seat!” I realized I had neglected to even notice how my own child was faring. Isn’t it funny how when you have other people’s kids in your care, the welfare of your actual offspring takes a backseat? If somebody has to get hurt, dirty, neglected, or reprimanded, it’s going to be your kid, by God! Wouldn’t want to damage your stellar playdate hosting reputation! (Or would you….?)

At any rate, as Emma was safely secured on her nasty toilet seat, I had the opportunity to glance over at Izzy and assess the “no toilet seat” situation.

She was correct. In fact, not only was there no toilet seat, there was also no stall door. What there was was a giant “OUT OF ORDER” sign placed squarely over the toilet. Even a non reader would have taken pause before resting their hiney cheeks on that disfigured toilet. Not Izzy- she dangled precariously on the seat-less toilet, happily peeing away!

Once you get out of diapers, be prepared for a parade of public restrooms. Yuck.

I may have actually refrained from swearing, and I hastily directed Izzy to wipe and vacate the premises. “Don’t flush- let’s just go!” I said hurriedly, hauling Emma’s sprawling form out of her stall. I ushered my ungainly charges out of the bathroom, after, of course, a good thorough handwashing.

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