My kids are Redditors. If you’re not in the know, Reddit is a site where a bunch of people who think they’re really smart post pictures of their cats and talk about playing World of Warcraft. Occasionally, my son will show me something really funny on the site, and I’ll admit to perusing it once in a while when I’m completely bored, or missing my cats at home.
This week when Todd (Dr. Who) Dills wrote an article about a trucking thread on Reddit, I was taken completely by surprise. I had no idea the little (self-professed) Brainy McBrains on Reddit would have a trucking thread. Of course, when I read the thread I realized it was mostly a bunch of kids telling stories about their Dad or Mom, who were truckers, which made much more sense. Not a lot of truckers have the time or patience to post (or look at and comment on) a bunch of pictures of cats.
The stories were great. Anyone who’s ever been in a truck for an extended amount of time has at least one crazy story to tell. Hell, I have hundreds, it’s my livelihood. Pretty much everything I write about is crazy. It could be argued that it’s not the events that are crazy, but the author, and since at least one of my readers out there thinks I “escaped from an insane asylum,” that may actually be a valid argument.
We were outside of Amarillo, Texas. It was late, George had been driving forever, as is the case usually in Texas. (Why the hell is everything so far apart in that state?) We stopped at a rest area for the night, because in Texas you can actually park for the night at a rest area and nobody bothers you (thank you, Texas).
I had gone in to use the bathroom — you had to know this story took place in a bathroom. Apparently when I step into any bathroom outside of my own home, I slip into some crazy space-time continuum that contains everything weird.
I was sitting on the toilet, doing the usual – sending The Ever Elusive and Sometimes Famous Max Heine an e-mail. (He just died some on the inside, I’m sure.) I wasn’t really paying attention to my surroundings — locked in a stall in the middle of nowhere in Texas, there wasn’t a lot to pay attention to – until a furry thing rubbed up against my leg and ran off.
Now you would think I’d have jumped up screaming, but as I mentioned before, we have cats at home. One in particular thinks the toilet in my bathroom is his girlfriend, and becomes very territorial any time I sit on it. He meows and rubs my legs the whole time I’m using it, so I’ve become completely used to furry things rubbing on me when I’m indisposed.
It took me a second to become concerned. I tried to shake it off and pretend it didn’t happen and had almost succeeded until I saw the furry thing right outside the stall. It looked like a little black cat. Then I saw the stripe. It was definitely not a cat. It was a skunk.
This is where I freaked out a little. Imagine being on the toilet, pants down, in a very small bathroom with a skunk. The little creature didn’t seem upset at all, in fact he was busily licking the condensation off the tile on the wall under the sinks. I was too terrified to move. I knew George wasn’t going to let me back in the truck if I got sprayed by a skunk, and I wasn’t wild about spending the remainder of my life at a rest area in Amarillo.
I had slowly and quietly gotten my pants up and zipped, and was plotting my exit by crawling over the tops of the stalls like Spider Man when a young girl burst into the bathroom.
“Pepe’? Are you in here? Pepe’?”
I had no idea who Pepe’ was, but I knew at any moment there was going to be a furious stream of foulness released. I scrambled out of the stall as quickly as I could and made for the door.
“Wait! Don’t open the door, I think my pet skunk is in here! I don’t want him to get out.”
None of this made sense to me at the time. I was all about getting the hell out of the bathroom before being fogged. When she ran toward the skunk and scooped it up, I nearly lost my mind.
“Oh Pepe’, you’re a bad boy! I was worried about you!”
I felt like I had stepped into the Twilight Zone, and apparently my facial expressions spoke that in volumes. The only thing I was worried about was this idiot girl pointing the tail end of that skunk in my general direction. I couldn’t believe he hadn’t sprayed us both.
“Oh I’m sorry, did he scare you?”
“What the hell is going on?”
“Haha, he’s my pet skunk. He’s been de-scented.”
“Do you often let your pet skunk maraud around public bathrooms, terrorizing people?”
“I’m so sorry. I had him in my purse when I came in earlier, he must have gotten out when I sat it down.”
The fact that this chick was within an arms length of me and carried a skunk in her purse became the immediate concern. I was unarmed and trapped in a small space with both of them.
“You might want to give him some antibiotics. He was licking the wall in a public restroom.”
“Oh he does that. He likes the salt in the water.”
This conversation was getting weirder by the millisecond. Nurse-mode kicked in and I wanted to tell her exactly where the salt in the condensation came from in a bathroom, but I figured someone who had a skunk for a friend wouldn’t mind.
“Unh hunh. Well y’all have a good night.”
“Do you want to pet him?”
“Uh, no. But thanks.”
I exited the bathroom and ran as fast as I could to the truck.
“What took you so long? Are you OK?”
“Yeah. There was a girl in the bathroom who wanted me to pet her skunk.”
“I feel like it’s better if I don’t know any more about this. Let’s just go to bed, OK?”
“You know, for once, I think you’re right. Goodnight, babe.”