We'd been on the road traveling for hours in the pouring rain. The two cups of coffee I devoured earlier that morning were waiting for their exit. The cold rain the heavy fog and the darkness all added up to disaster. I felt like I had entered the Twilight Zone in real time.
I ran full throttle with my head down toward the rest room. Oh, the joy and the relief and no lines. As I was sitting contemplating world peace and political candidates I heard a very heavy cough. Not the bronchial cough that I sometimes end up with - but a heavy manly cough. I was quiet like a mouse. The cough filled the air in the musty roadside facility.
I closed one eye and peeked through the opening in the steel gray door. OMG! The individual standing by a strange elongated white porcelain sink hanging on the wall wore a cowboy hat, a denim shirt and bluejeans on bowed legs. Two big W's were stitched on the back pockets. Those pants sure looked like the jeans at the Tractor Supply store. I dare say I never saw a female wearing a pair of them. I looked beneath the cold metal door (careful not to touch the underside of the door or move my feet in a suggestive motion) and right before my eyes was a pair of scruffy pointy toes with silver tips - cowboy boots. And I do mean cowBOY.
Either I was in the wrong place or he was. I was thinking it was me. I sat quietly for several minutes - and it felt like hours. Shouldn't the cowboy go check on his horse tied to the hitching post out front? The hacking began and then the low back throaty hurl. Loogy. I felt my breakfast burrito rising. Still I sat quietly waiting for Roy, Buck or Mr. Wayne to leave. Minutes tick away while I contemplate my predicament.
I could flush and run as fast as possible, hunker down inside the car and hope he never notices me. I could sit here on this stone cold pot the rest of my life and listen to his guttural cough. I search for strength inside my cold wimpy body. The scruffy pointy silver tip cowboy boots do a little dance. I'm turning blue from lack of breathing or the cold inside this block holding tank.
I hear the tapping of the silver tips lightly across the cracked cement floor. The door to the stall next to me opens and clicks closed. I tilt my head in silence and check out the boots in the stall to my left. Is that a cough or what? My chance for freedom has presented itself. I fling back the metal catch - slip silently out of the cold gray stall and run for my life. I didn't even wash my hands.