This past Saturday Claire flew in from Chicago and she, Tommy, and I travelled to Cleveland to visit the relatives.
As of recent years any Columbus-to-Cleveland family trek must include the requisite stop at the Goasis, the creme de la creme among gas station/travel stops located on I-71 in Ashland.
This trek was no exception.
Because we all love the Goasis.
Why do we love the Goasis?
Well, speaking for myself, there's something about that blue, green and yellow
stylized flower that calls to me.
And then there's the name "Goasis": An oasis when you're on the go. It's
And the place is bright and colorful and clean and kind of pretty. In an upscale travel-stop way.
Or, I don't know, maybe we all just really like stopping at that point along the route.
The Goasis does, however, have one rather sizeable drawback:
It has this gorgeous (by travel stop standards) restroom area that divides into two hallways with the mens' side running down one of the hallways, ladies' side down the other, with two family restrooms at the front end of the area.
Gorgeous, yes; practical, no.
I've never taken a peek at the men's side, but the ladies side is a hallway off which there are two spacious individual one-seater rooms, each room having its own sink, and one more even bigger handicapped room. Also off this hallway between two of the restrooms is a cozy little lounge area with red leather couches. It's all very clean and attractive.
Except that they took an area where they could have fit a dozen stalls and instead built three big fancy rooms and a lounge area that nobody's going to lounge around in because we're all in a hurry to get back to our trips. So the line for these three ladies rooms always snakes down the hallway and sometimes around the corner. And though the family restrooms are also considered fair game, they're usually filled, too, but then once you're in line for the other three restrooms you can't know whether the family rooms are vacant or not because they are located at the front end of the area.
Anyway, the ramifications of this drawback came into play last Saturday when we'd made our ritual stop and I was standing in line waiting my turn to use one of the fancy bathrooms.
I'd been waiting a while - everybody had been - and when I was finally second in line a
stylishly-dressed but slightly confused-looking older lady - maybe in her 70's - wandered to the front of the line and asked no one in particular if she could use one of these bathrooms.
I thought she sounded a bit distressed, like she really had to go. That's another thing about the Goasis: if you really have to go you could be SOL* if the line's as long as it usually is and nobody's in the mood to let you cut in front.
Now me, if I'd have been first in line I'd have let the lady cut in front of me, though I know that technically just because you're the first in line doesn't mean you have the right to let someone cut in front of you because they're also cutting in front of every body else. But I always figure tough tamales, I'll let anybody cut in front of me who I feel like letting cut in. That's just the way I roll.
However the lady who was in front of me and first in line, a tight-elbowed middle-aged-type, was not of the same mindset. "These rooms are all full," she snapped at the old lady, "You need to go to the back of the line."
The old lady and I both turned around to look at the line. It was about ten ladies long.
The old lady now looked more distressed and confused. She hesitated a moment then shuffled away past the end of the line then around the corner and out of sight.
A moment later two bathroom doors opened at once and the lady at the front went into one of the rooms while I turned around to rest of the line-waiters and declared in the most authoritative voice I could muster, "wait a second, I'll be right back!"
I ran down the line and around the corner and found the old lady standing outside the family restrooms with a younger man who looked like her son.
"Come on," I cried to her, "you can go ahead of me right now, hurry!" I didn't know how for long the line would honor my spot. Maybe the person behind me had already rushed into the open room in my place.
The lady's son (or whoever he was) took her arm and began hurrying her after me, but just at that moment one of the family restrooms opened and so he hurried her into that one instead, thanking me anyway.
I dashed like a madwoman back to the front of the line to find that my linemates had, in fact, waited for me and so I was not fated to start all over again at the end of the line. The moral of the story is that people can be good after all, right?
*SOL: In polite circles I've heard this acronym stand for "Sure Out of Luck" and "Sorry Out of Luck". In less polite circles it stands for another "S" word Out of Luck. ;)