Posted by: dougery | October 21, 2010


It is one of those oppressively gray days where you can sit inside at 10 in the morning and need to turn on a lamp to see by. It is one of those days where frost would carpet the ground if it hadn’t been steadily drizzling for hours. It is one of those days where Mother Nature, ever the art critic has deemed all the fall foliage an extravagance, a shameful display put on by the maples and oaks and birches and thus torn the remaining leaves to the ground and threatened snow to bury them where they lay. Gray trunks grasp upwards into empty gray branches extending toward the heavy gray sky.


It is one of those days where I am consistently reminded by that nagging part of my brain that constantly chips away at contentedness that my searching for a job and the writing I do during the day are currently adding nothing to our bank account which is scary small from the recent furniture purchases. Where the drive home from dropping Lara off at work is blur of windshield wipers and tail lights, where I make the conscious decision to forgo buying a cup of coffee because it might cost too much and instead will just have a can of diet coke at home because they are basically the same thing (news flash: they’re not). Where the chair at my desk seems a little less forgiving, the tabs of the keyboard frustratingly stubborn, the emails of my inbox largely advertisements and subscriptions for events in a city I no longer live in.


In the living room is a Netlfix of Fantastic Mr. Fox that we received in late July. I should probably watch it or at least send it back since it is doing nothing but capture dust. Rabbit Run has not grabbed me the way I thought it might. The fruit snacks in my ‘mixed fruit’ pouch were amazingly non-mixed. The cat is either snoring or licking itself inappropriately loud. iTunes keeps landing on Beth Orton and Johnny Cash and the sadder Feist songs.


But then there is this ridiculous anecdote from yesterday evening which makes me laugh and cringe and craugh and linge. You see Lara is an all-star and hosts a novelists’ roundtable once a month at the local book barn, er library. On Wednesdays the library stays open until 8pm, and is full of a surprising amount of people, perhaps unsurprising given a) the large amount of poor folks who live around here who can’t afford books b) the wealthy well-read 0ld folks who got wealthy because they don’t spend all their money on something as inconsequential as books and c) there’s not a whole heckuvalot to do on a Wednesday evening. There are even children running about. Children. Haven’t they heard of video games, iPhones, graffiti and hard drugs? It was one such small boy that I had an unusual encounter with in the bathroom.

Now hold on. Put down the phone and quit dialing the ‘to catch a predator’ hotline. It wasn’t like that, I swear. I merely entered the library bathroom to take a leak, walked toward the urinal intent on my business when in the lone stall a young boy’s voice called out, complete with childish lisp,

“Hello?” (where the ells sound like a dubya)

I freeze. I know instantly there will be no urination for me now. I make a comedic left turn toward the sink to wash my hands, after all I had touched, ew, the bathroom door.


Again, what’s with this kid. I can’t wash my hands fast enough and want no part of this. I answer, a defeated, “Hello.”

“Are you an adult?”

huh. Well… “Yes.”

“What’s your name?”

jesus kid, just sit there and do your thing. It becomes painfully aware that the ‘no talking in the men’s room’ rule isn’t instinctual after all but a social norm that has to be cultivated over time.

“Doug.” God, could this soap be any harder to wash off?

“Darling?” This actually makes me laugh. That’s a new one for me. Craig, Greg, Don, Sue, I have gotten those. Darling, not so much.

“No, Doug,” I say, busy drying my hands.

“I already said, Darling.” The pissy quality of his voice is what does it. Suddenly I’m wasting his time. And before this ridiculous encounter can go any further I walk out of the restroom and pass another doomed 40 year-old man who enters the bathroom in my place. I can only imagine what went on from there as I headed toward the back to join the rest of my fellow novelists.



  1. oh, this makes my day. this and the sentence “The fruit snacks in my ‘mixed fruit’ pouch were amazingly non-mixed.”

  2. lol…that made me laugh out loud whilst sitting in my cavernous cubicle…”hey there, you ok or are you losing it again?!”… i get asked by the greys around me…thank you Doug 😉

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