Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Enormous Bathroom Key, a short story by John Cheever (*)



Friday afternoon I decided to take the train into Center City and walk to a cafe in Old City to do some writing, reading, and blog layout editing. It took me about 23 and 1/2 minutes to walk from Market East/Gallery station to 2nd St and Chestnut, the location of an artsy coffee shop called Doubleshots Espresso Bar. By the time I got there, I was "glowing" (as my boyfriend would call it, because girls don't "sweat").

I immediately ordered a Medium Iced Chai Latte, and the super skinny Asian transgender behind the bar whipped it up in about 2 seconds. I kid you not. 2 Seconds! I've never had a latte come to me that quickly.

So I sat around for a while staring at a blank page in MS Word, chatting with various people, watching the group of high school boys who were having some sort of computer geek club meeting play chess while having the meeting. And I also witnessed a first date set up by eHarmony! Whoa, were the sparks flying awkwardly.

And then, I felt the need to pee. If Keren were here, she'd be making fun of me saying that I'm a pee machine. I pee more than most people, but exactly how many times is appropriate for someone who makes sure she gets all 8 glasses of H2O.

Not only did it require packing up all my belongings, because I didn't really feel comfortable asking anyone in there to watch my things, but it also required me to traverse a hallway in the back, then traverse back to the bookshelf in the main room to retrieve the BATHROOM KEY.

It was so embarrassing! I've never been more embarrassed by going to the bathroom publicly than I was in that moment. The thing attached to the key was a piece of railing! Like one of the posts holding up a banister along a flight of stairs, like a big decorative wooden post!

So I had to spend a few more moments in the bathroom to take pictures of this monstrous key to show you all how ridiculous this was.

(*) In case you don't get the title, it's a play on the John Cheever story "The Enormous Radio"... yes, I'm a dork.

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