I had just finished eating dinner with some friends at a café in Snowstorm City when I noticed I had a missed cell phone call from my parents. Normally, I would have waited to return the call, but I was expecting news about Uncle Restless, who had been rushed to the hospital in Camera City with an excruciating headache.
I looked around the room to see where I could make a phone call. On an icy winter night going outside didn’t seem like a great option. No way could I handle a tiny cell phone while wearing mittens. I can barely manage it when I’ve got the use of all my fingers.
I walked over to the women’s bathroom, but another woman was waiting in line to go in. Lyrical Cook noticed my dilemma and motioned to me. “Go in the men’s room,” she said. “There aren’t any men in here tonight.”
I looked around the small café. She was right. No men in sight. Quickly, I slipped into the men’s room and called my parents.
My father told me that Uncle Restless has an abscess in his brain, and that’s been causing him intense pain and confusion. Unfortunately, the lesion is deep in the brain, not a place where a surgeon could operate easily. Hopefully, a long course of antibiotics will shrink the absess. It looks like he’s going to be in the hospital for several weeks, but everyone is hopeful that he’ll recover fully.
Once he’d given me the news, my father asked, “Where are you?”
The little room was very clean and bare, and I suspect my voice was echoing off the tiles, the mirror, the porcelain fixtures. The situation suddenly struck me as a bit odd: my father is 79 and while he’s pretty up-to-date on many things, including the use of computers and cell phones, he can be pretty rigid about such conventions as which gender uses which restroom.
“I’m at a café,” I answered. “In the men’s bathroom.”
My father had given me the news about his brother-in-law quite calmly, but now his voice was filled with horror. “The men’s bathroom?”
“Yeah,” I said. “Want me to take a photo?”