Little Old Ladies

Well, I met them. The two little old ladies responsible for the stereotype of little old white-haired ladies being timid and helpless. They were at Bodega Head.

I’ve been cooped up in my house because everything indoors is closed due to Covid, and it’s too smoky to walk from your parking spot into the grocery store without bringing your own oxygen tank. But I’ve been watching purple air dot com to see when the air cleared at the coast, and it happened at noon today. I changed from my pajamas into better pajamas and hopped in my car, well aware that half the county was probably doing the same thing.

I’m an old enough woman that at the end of the forty minute drive I had to pee. This has made the pandemic a bummer because a lot of public bathrooms have been closed. When the coastal parks first opened back up, the bathrooms remained closed for a while, and I didn’t bother going then. But they’re open now, and I knew about the secret bathrooms on the inland side of Bodega Head and went to that parking lot first. Only three cars! I got my toilet paper out of the back seat (can’t be too careful) and walked through the glorious 20 AQI air to the bathrooms.

“Closed for repair.”

Mother of… I’d have to go to the crowded parking lot. Hopefully THOSE were open, or I’d be going right back home. The main lot was almost full, but I did find a spot and could see that the door to one of the two bathrooms was wide open. Thank the Creator! I got my toilet paper and put on my mask.

About six feet away from the doors stood two frail-looking white-haired ladies with no masks on. I looked at them like “Are you going in there?”

One of them said timidly, “The note says not to use the lock or you’ll get stuck in there forever.”

Sure enough, there was a big hand-written note taped to the inside of the door that said, “Do NOT use this lock unless you want to be stuck in there FOREVER.” I said a silent prayer for the person who necessitated the use of that sign and looked incredulously at the faces of the women, who looked like they truly believed they might get stuck in there FOREVER. Like their friend wouldn’t go get help if they got locked in.

When I was younger, I didn’t think much about this stereotype, but now I know enough to know that those women MUST have faced scarier situations than getting stuck in a bathroom with your friend right outside. If they had children they certainly had during childbirth. And they appeared to be there with husbands, so even if they hadn’t had kids, you know they’ve spent a night or two in a fart box.

I said, “Oh it looks like they duct taped the door so it can’t latch.” Because they had. It didn’t look like the women were going to go in anyway, so I went in myself, figuring they’d be there to tell someone not to barge in through my unlatched door while they waited for the other bathroom.

I used my toilet paper in one hand to open the door and my toilet paper from my other hand while I was in there, and when I went to push the door open with my foot, the door opened on its own. An old man looked at me with surprise. I looked at the old ladies with disgust. Apparently they don’t know that rule where you tell someone not to go in a bathroom when you know someone is in there.

I walked back past the cars and down a 20-foot path through iceplant to a little ledge where I like to do tai chi. I’m usually there around 7 AM and have the place to myself, but I forced myself to do it even with people right behind and above me. The old ladies and their men were up there looking out at the crashing waves beyond me. I stood in wu chi (good energy) and practiced snake creeps down and some circling exercises, and as I half squatted in wide wu chi I thought to myself, “I bet they’re jealous I can hold this for 90 seconds,” a less than “good energy” thought for which I will probably be struck with Covid from their stupid old maskless mouths.

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