In a pickle

Sometimes I get into the most ridiculous situations, and I just don’t know how it happens. I took Abe to the park today. There’s a hike-and-bike trail that starts at the park, so I decided we would walk part of it to burn off a little of Abe’s energy. Almost as soon as we set out, I knew I would need to hit a restroom soon. Fine, it would be a short walk.

We started up the path, and the farther we went, the more Abe’s tongue drooped toward the ground. I considered turning around, but we’d gone quite a distance. I knew that if we persevered another mile, we would reach a point where the trail meets a creek, and Abe could jump in to get a drink. But I really needed to go to the bathroom. Oh, but poor Abe was thirsty. We walked on.

We made it to the creek, where Abe jumped into the water and drank lustily. I think he would have lounged all day, but I gave a quick tug on his leash so we could get back to the park — and the bathroom. We walked back briskly. When we reached the park, I guided Abe toward our car. No. Wait. Even though the drive home would only take five minutes, I didn’t think I could hold it that long. I pictured sitting at an intersection, desperately waiting for the light to turn green.

I decided to use the park bathroom, but it was too hot to leave Abe in the car, so he would have to come with. The park has some fountains and water toys, so it was filled with moms and screaming kids. Abe didn’t like this. And when I tugged him into the dark, musty bathroom, he really didn’t like that. I wanted to use the handicap stall so there would be space for Abe, but it looked dirty. So I tried to shove Abe into the regular stall with me. He slammed on the brakes. I managed to wrestle him into the stall, but as soon as I locked the door, he squeezed underneath it. So now he was standing outside the stall, and I was still trying to manage the leash. I was about to give up and just head for home. But I had to go so bad.

No one else had walked into the bathroom yet, so I thought maybe we would be lucky and Abe could just wait outside. He was panting heavily, in a total panic about being forced into this dank place. As soon as I started to use the facilities, light flooded into the space. Great. Abe tried to bolt out of the bathroom. I heard a little girl shout, “Mommy, there’s a dog in there!” The mom told the daughter not to go in and said they would have to get help. Then the mom peaked into the bathroom. “Wait. He’s on a leash,” she said, sounding perplexed.

“Sorry!” I called out. “He’s friendly.”

The mom coaxed her daughter into the bathroom. The girl was freaked out by Abe, who was standing between her and the door to the other stall. Not that I can blame her. He was panting, drooling, and his fur was matted with burs. She somehow made it past him, and I finished up. But I was so sweaty from the walking and the bathroom ordeal that I couldn’t get all my clothes pulled back into place. This was complicated immensely by my having to keep a grasp on Abe’s leash. I managed to get my clothes arranged well enough that I couldn’t be cited for breaking any laws, and then Abe and I made a swift exit.

There must be a lesson in here somewhere. I’m too humiliated to try to find it right now though.