Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Fourth Dimension

We were cautiously optimistic as we left Swift Current and continued on. What would happen next? We all hoped that we could just go on and have a good trip. We would find someplace to stop later in the evening and then our ‘re-worked’ itinerary proposed we drive all the way through Manitoba in one day. None of us got too comfy because we didn’t really believe we were going to get far before trouble hit us again. However, we managed to drive for a few hours before we had to find a Tim Horton’s for dinner. We had all developed a liking for the chili and whole wheat bun, the only part that differed was our drink orders. Green tea for Len, XL coffee for me and usually chocolate milk for the girls. We were very happy with the Timmy gift cards we had received as gifts!

At one point we drove for quite sometime without seeing any gas stations, truck stops or anywhere to stop and fuel up and pee. Finally we found a place near the edge of Saskatchewan called “Stan’s Truck Stop”. It was your basic truck stop, gas station, convenience store and restaurant. Now, you would think out in the middle of the prairie where they rely on the traveler for business and there is NOTHING for at least 10 miles in any direction, you would get good service… right?

Hmmm… let me tell you a story about a man name Mohammed. Mohammed works at the ESSO station attached to Stan’s truck stop. Now I am sure Mohammed is a great guy… however… we did not see eye to eye on a few things. OK I am going to back up a bit. We pulled into the station (which was always a bit of a challenge, since as you recall I am driving a loaded pickup up with canopy and a 8’ x 16’ cargo trailer with 16,000+ lbs) . Anyway… I find the diesel pump and pull up, Len fuels us up and I take the girls inside to ‘use the facilities’.

I paid for my $68.00 of diesel, drinks and some chocolate bars… $80 later… I ask where the washroom is. The attendant (Mohamed) tells me “the washroom is out of service”. I tell him it has been a long drive and there are three girls who need to use a bathroom. He tells me he can’t help me but I could go to ‘Stan’s Restaurant’ next door to use their washroom. So, I tell Len we will be back in a few minutes, I hand him the bars, drinks and pull the truck forward. The girls and I then proceed to ‘Stan’s’ . The FIRST thing I notice at ‘Stan’s’ is the sign on the door “Washroom’s for paying customer’s only”. The girls tell me, “Mom, we can’t go in.” I say “follow my lead.”

I open the door, followed by two hesitant children. I walk right past the ‘hostess’ to the bathroom door and confidently place my hand on the door and pull. LOCKED! I then walk to the hostess and ask for the key. She says “No, the washroom is for customers only. So if you want to use the washroom you have to buy something.” I tell her (with my embarrassed children watching) “No, I just l spent $80 at the gas station and we need to use the washroom. We have travelled a long way and the gas station washroom is out of service, so he sent us over here and said we could use your washroom. So could I please have the key?!” 

She says ‘My mother said that only paying customers can use the washroom, so if you buy a drink then I can give you the key.” (I should mention the woman is at least 30 years old.) At this point Jessica is bouncing from one foot to the other saying “MOM! I really need to pee!” I tell the woman I am not prepared to spend anymore money and to please let us use the key before she pees on the floor (which I was tempted to tell her to do!) At this point there were on lookers and the chef was watching me. I am fuming and starting to swear under my breath “BITCH!”... Now I realize this was NOT my best parenting moment or leading by example, but I was standing up for our principles! So please forgive my language.

I asked her what she suggested we do. I asked if she had children of her own and how would she feel if they needed to pee and couldn’t? She did not waver or care in any way about our predicament. I was livid at this point and my girls were almost laughing because it was so ridiculous and stupid and I was not going to back down. I then spoke very loudly about how rude she was, uncaring and asked for her name. I told her that I would be contacting the local Chamber of Commerce to complain and asked for her name.

As she smirked at me and rolled her eyes she wrote “Thuy” on the card. My parting comment was “You take the word “FRIENDLY” out of the slogan Friendly Manitoba!” I then told the girls to follow me and slammed the door on our way out. We stormed past Len who wondered why we were taking so long and went back to the gas station. I asked the attendant why he sent us there when they wouldn’t let us use the bathroom. He said, “I am sorry, I thought they would.” I was firm but angry and although I didn’t blame him personally, I told him we needed a resolution NOW!

He said “Ma’am, I can’t help you.” I said, “No, Mohamed, you ARE going to help me. We are three girls and we need to PEE NOW!” He told me he did not know what to do. I asked him, where do YOU pee? He said that he just started his shift. I said, “Hmmm, well you are on for 8 hours you must pee somewhere!” He said there is an employee washroom and I told him, fine I will use that. He said, no he was not allowed to let me use it. I said, “Phone your boss now.” So, he did and we finally got to use the washroom! After 20 minutes of fighting we PEED! It was EXQUISITELY painful!

Of course, the joke was on me because my parting line to the wanker at Stan’s was “You take the friendly out of Manitoba” as I drove away I realized she was laughing since we were STILL in Saskatchewan! The fourth dimension, the province of Manitoba is on the horizon... oh what do you hold in store for us?

Summary: Pee when you have the opportunity as you never know when you may have to pee on a floor!