There’s this terrific Joe Walsh song called, “Shut Up.”
It starts out telling you about how he gets invited to a party by some folks who are friends he never even met – this is something that happens to celebrities I’m sure, because it happens to me on a regular basis, and I don’t even consider myself a celeb. Just, “kinda maybe possibly known to a few folks who happen to read.” At any rate, the second verse goes something like this:
Well I followed their directions and arrived a little late
I had a couple Chardonnays and started feelin’ great
I said I hate to interrupt, I’ll be right back I gotta pee
30 people in the bathroom started talkin’ to me
They could not shut up (can’t shut up)
(can’t shut up)
I said HEY…shut up (can’t shut up)
They could not shut up
As it happens, this particular verse strikes somewhat close to home…
You see, everyone makes an assumption that I am Pagan. I understand why, I mean, after all, I write a series of suspense thriller novels about a Witch and I include real, live Neo-Pagan dynamics in the stories. I do book signings at Pagan festivals and bookstores, and… well… I did used to consider myself Pagan. For better than 25 years, in fact.
However, I haven’t self-identified as such for a handful of years now. There are some very specific reasons I no longer identify as Pagan – and none of them have to do with religion – but that’s a whole different blog. Maybe I’ll write it some day when I feel up to dealing with the ridiculousness that will ensue.
Suffice it to say, while I don’t call myself Pagan these days, I’m still Pagan friendly and really doubt that will ever change. After all, when I did call myself pagan I was friendly with people in other religions, and still am. No reason for that to be any different.
Oh, and before anyone starts spreading rumors, no, I didn’t convert to some mainstream Judeo-Christian path either. I simply identify as a Free Thinking Secular Humanist where “religion” is concerned. But, as I said, that’s another blog.
This blog is about people in the bathroom…
You see, I do a lot of book touring, a good segment of which involves pagan festivals and stores. 95% of them are absolutely wonderful. 5% of them are unbelievable horrors. Believe me, I have stories… Some of you may have even heard a few of them.
However, even with the 95% that are wonderful, things can happen. These things are generally not in the direct control of the event organizer or store owner, and fortunately, can tend to be funny in retrospect.
There’s a great – and I do mean great – store in Newark, OH called Violet Flame. Heather, the owner, treats her visiting authors like royalty. You have a nice private place to sleep, access to a steam bath, she is an amazing cook, and on the last night you are there she holds a shindig in your honor – usually with a band, BBQ, and booze. Guests come and join in for a chance to visit and mingle, as well as a chance to have a laid back, informal convo with the guest author/authors.
It’s a blast, and by far one of the best gigs I do. I love going there. But, even there things can happen.
Back to that “for instance”…
There we were at the shindig. The band was playing and I had even spent a little time behind the mic, crooning with them. They are great guys, because even though I can’t carry a tune in a bucket even if I have help, they let me get up there with them anyway. Probably because it’s fun to watch me make a fool of myself, but hey, it’s become a tradition…
So, as with any party where one is swilling 14 oz cups of fermented malt beverage from an iced down keg, I had to go to the bathroom. Unfortunately, I was pinned down in one corner of the deck – figuratively… I mean, I was blocked in, but not really pinned down if you get my drift – by a couple of oddballs who had wandered into the party from a house nearby. It was obvious that they had already been partying plenty themselves. At any rate, they found the free beer, and then found the “famous author.” My ear was being bent and my legs were starting to cross as I did the potty dance.
Eventually, the need became great enough that I pulled a Joe Walsh. Yes, I did in fact say, “I hate to interrupt, I’ll be right back, I gotta pee…”
And, with that, I made a bee line for the bathroom inside the house. Now, that should really be the end of the story. I mean, I had escaped the drunken wingnuts, and I was also about to empty my bladder.
But no… If that was the case this would be a boring blog.
The way Heather’s bathroom is set up, there is a shower room, and a toilet room. I entered, closed the door, then went into the toilet room and closed that door as well. All good, right? Wrong. No sooner had I unzipped, unfurled, and begun to unload, the hinges on the toilet room door creaked.
Figuring it was someone unfamiliar with the setup, I called over my shoulder, “Occupied! Just a minute!”
This was when I almost watered the magazine rack. I didn’t, but I came close.
You see, the female of the wingnut team that had cornered me on the deck had followed me into the bathroom and she now slipped her arms around me from behind and began to hug me, whereupon she announced in my ear, “I want to be pagan with you.”
At this point I had tied a square knot in Wee-Willy-Winkie in order to halt the flow of used beer, and was trying to stuff things back into my pants as fast as I possibly could.
“Lady, I’m trying to pee here!” I shouted. “What the hell are you talking about?!”
“You Pagans are all about orgies and sex, right?” she slurred. “Well, I want to be Pagan with you.”
By now, even though my tank was only half empty, I had retracted my hose and was twisting out of her grasp, while simultaneously closing the pod bay door (please, Hal).
I didn’t shake, I didn’t flush, I didn’t wash my hands. I just yelled, “Not happening!” as I bolted for the door and rushed through the house.
Drunken wingnut chick was yelling, “Come back,” (seriously) as I exited onto the deck and made a beeline into the yard. I located Heather and immediately told her what had happened. By now, frootloop girl is coming out the back door looking for me, but luckily I didn’t have to deal with her anymore. In that moment, Heather muttered, “fuckin’ chica,” as she stalked off, and that was the last I saw of crazy bathroom woman.
By the way, did I happen to mention that besides being a bookstore owner, festival organizer, and fantastic cook, Heather is also an ex-cop?
Nope. I’m not kidding…
More to come…