Recently I was revisiting those locked areas of my memory, you know the place where you tuck away all the embarrassing and humiliating things you do in your life, those memories that you more than likely never want to ever see the light of day again, for the sole purpose of a creative non-fiction project I'm working on. Most of these occurred when I was much younger, like elementary school younger. Anyway, as I was recalling all those horrendous memories, I came to this stunning realization. When you're humilated as a child you really feel like your life is over, but when you do something embarrassing as an adult, you're much more able to deal with it and even laugh it off.
Last weekend I took a fabulous travel writing weekend workshop with Marcello DiCintio at the Alexandra Writers' Centre. I've never considered myself to be a travel writer but I thought this particular course might help me with another project that I've been working on since June and in many ways it could fall into the category of travel writing simply because it has to do with a specific incident that happened when I was in Holland this summer. But mostly I've been envisioning it as a personal essay. That's not what this is all about though. Back to the stupidity that can be Robin on rare occasions.
On the first full day of the weekend we were given an exercise to walk around the community, visit a shop, schmooze with the shop owners or whichever sucker happened to be behind the counter at the time. Typically, the thought of interviewing anyone makes me nauseous and this day was no different, although I had a specific place in mind that would also be beneficial to my project. But, before we had to go do our actual exercise, a bunch of us went for lunch at a nearby pub. I've never been to this particular pub before, so after a very delicious BLT and Spinach Salad, I did what most people do. Especially after a glass of wine. I had to go to the bathroom.
Like I said, I had never been to this place before so I asked someone I was with where the washroom was.
"By the front door. Watch your step." Grabbed my purse and headed toward the front door. I walked to the lobby area and looked around. Right there in front of me was an open door and just inside the door a sink and a mirror. Looked like a bathroom. Above the door was a paper sign. Ladies. With an arrow pointing to the left. Inside the door to the left was another open door and there was a toilet. I was still a little confused but okay, that must be the bathroom.
I walk inside and shut the door but just before the door closed, on the other side of the room behind the other open door I happened to notice a urinal. Funny place for a urinal. So close to the ladies room. Essentially the same room, but still separated. So I'm sitting there and I hear someone outside the door, washing their hands and suddenly it's occuring to me that this could very well NOT be the ladies room. That I was sitting there peeing in the men's little room for when a urinal is just not enough.
Shit. Not literally. Damn. I finished what I was doing and waited until I hoped no one was outside the door. Hoping no one was in the room at all. I opened the door real slow as not to surprise anyone and I really had no intention of seeing any penis on that particular day unless it belonged to my husband. Thankfully, I was alone. Washed my hands and slipped out of the room. Only then did I notice the Mens sign on the open door. Why on earth would they leave the door open anyway?
Also thankfully no one that I was with entered the lobby until I was already standing there. But I do have a big mouth and have learned that it's okay to laugh at yourself and to let others laugh at you too so I told one of my friends. I still had no idea where the ladies bathroom was. We headed toward the front door and as soon as we rounded the corner, voila, right there by the door was the Ladies room.
And another sign with an arrow pointing to the tiny step in front of the door...Watch Your Step.