While reading a post of the same title by my friend PJ, I was reminded of an incident that happened to me a few years ago while traveling to a business meeting.


In order to arrive at the morning meeting in a timely fashion, I picked up my rental car after work and began driving to the hotel where I would be staying for the night. Around ten-thirty pm, I pulled into a gas station to refuel, stretch my legs, and use the restroom. The station looked run down, a little sketchy, and distant from other businesses, and I considered picking a more well-lit place with a happier vibe, but my bladder urged me to stop here. Besides, I knew that the stretch of highway ahead of me held no exits for another several miles.

I kept my guard up while locking my car doors and sauntering into the building, and I memorized the layout of the store while walking towards the bathroom. I also took a hard look at the only person present, the cashier standing behind a counter and protected by what I could only assume was bullet-proof Plexiglas. Not reassuring.

When I opened the bathroom door, I realized two things: first that a motion sensor over the doorway had picked up the movement of the door and turned the lights on for me, and second that the bathroom was unusually long and narrow. The sink and toilet sat at the far end of the room, and I felt claustrophobic as I sat down.

I'll spare you the details (mainly because I don't remember them), but apparently, I sat on the throne long enough for the timer on the lights to go off. My first thought was one of those horror film scenes where the lights get cut off right before the gorgeous and brilliant heroine gets brutally murdered. My second thought was that the electricity to the building must have gone down. Then I finally realized the motion sensor had not had any motion to sense, so I waved my hand to turn the lights back on.

Nothing happened.

I waved again.

Again nothing.

I began wildly wiggling my arms and legs while still perched on my throne.

No result.

My heart raced along with my brain as I stopped to think about the scenario in which I had found myself trapped. Then I cleverly removed my right shoe and heaved it towards where I remembered the door to be. Then my left shoe.

Still Darkness.

I sat, wanting to cry and feeling a panic rising in my throat. I'm not normally afraid of the dark, but this darkness felt so thick and complete. I thought of the phrase "So dark you can't see your hand in front of your face," and I tried it out. Nope, no hand.

I began imagining my future. I wouldn't be missed until morning when my co-workers would wonder why I had not arrived at the meeting, and even then, how would they think to send the police to this particular restroom at this particular gas station? I thought of my cell phone locked in the car outside. I wondered if the cashier with the bushy, unkempt beard would remember seeing me walk to the restroom and wonder what was taking me so long. Then I embarrassed myself, imagining the scene if he unlocked the door with his master key and found me still sitting there, shoeless.

I finally gathered up the courage to stretch my nice clean fingers out towards where the toilet paper should be bolted to the hopefully equally clean wall. The coldness of the concrete blocks greeted my fingertips, and I had to force myself not to recoil, to continue searching. A few minutes later, I had to force myself to put my sock feet down on the dirty linoleum and step, step, step to the door.


When I got to the door, I waved my hands over my head, but still nothing happened. I had to feel my way around the door until I reached the handle. When I opened the door a crack, the lights blazed on, and I quickly re-locked the door, slipped my shoes back on and ran to the sink to speed wash and disinfect my hands before the lights had time to shut themselves off again.

See, I told you all the best stories contained TMI!
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2 Responses
  1. PJ Says:

    The best part is that you lobbed your shoes at the door in the hopes of turning the lights back on... nicely done Missy.

  2. fraukuech Says:

    Thanks for being transparent and willing to share this TMI story. It was hilarious!! :)

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