[Beware: blatantly scatological references ahead]
You'd think that, after some 40 years on earth, I would manage to remember a few helpful nuggets of wisdom about life: Don't take your parents for granted. Focus on needful things at needful times. Don't feed gremlins after midnight. And if you're going on a car trip of uncertain duration, don't eat anything spicy beforehand. Alas, I am an idiot who usually recalls these proverbs only after having violated them in some way.
Don't believe me? Read on.
Miss V is reaching an age where she picks up -- and appreciates -- the occasional babysitting job. Last Saturday she was called upon by a couple from our ward to take care of their toddler and young niece for a few hours.
"I should warn you," says Sister ____ over the phone to V, "our place can be a little difficult to find. Maybe I should give you directions."
"Just have her give you the address," I advise Miss V. "I should be able to find it with Google Maps." Thus violating another nugget of wisdom: when it comes to Google Maps, trust but verify. I enter the address into Google Maps, which displays what seems to me to be a rather roundabout method of getting there, based on what I know of the area. No matter; we have plenty of time before Miss V is scheduled to arrive.
At this point I feel a faint -- a very slight -- burbling from deep within. Earlier in the day I had enjoyed a spicy meal, and I consider, for a few brief seconds, the wisdom of a bathroom break. But no, it'll be fine, I assure myself. I'll get Miss V to her destination and be home again in a twink.
About halfway through the Google-planned route, I begin to remember that I'm an idiot. In fact, the idea of doing an about-face and heading back home is sounding ever more appealing. For I am discovering, with growing horror, the preternatural transformation that has occurred inside me. At some point between noon and now, my lunch has somehow morphed into an evil Jim Morrison doppelganger, who is now performing "Break On Through To The Other Side" at increasing decibel levels.
Google Maps tells us we are very close to our destination, but I decide I simply cannot wait to open the Doors of Perception: Jim Morrison will have to go right now. I flip a hasty U-turn and roar into the parking lot of the 7-11 across the street. As much as I'd love to sprint toward the doors, I fear shaking Jim loose prematurely, so I walk gingerly but swiftly toward my salvation.
On the door of the 7-11 is a sign bearing three horrific words: No Public Restrooms. I stare inside for a moment, cursing the night manager and the patrons and the Dr. Pepper-flavored Slurpee lazily oscillating in the bowels of the machine, mocking my pain. Which is increasing by the second. Jim will not be denied.
I get back into the car. "They don't have a bathroom," I tell V. "You think Sister ____ would let me use hers?"
"Probably," says V uncertainly. "Uh, what's that noise?" Jim Morrison has just turned the volume up to 11.
"Gotta go!" I say through clenched teeth, and we spin around and head towards Sister ____'s house and deliverance.
Remember that part about not relying too heavily on Google Maps? Yeah. The moment I turn into the right street, the full nature of my folly is revealed. I am suddenly in a maze of twisty little driveways featuring a series of lettered apartment buildings, all alike. And though Google Maps has ushered me to within 90% of my destination, it has failed to print the apartment number we need to find the place.
Miss V pulls out her cell phone and calls Captain Midnight, hoping he will still have the index card with the apartment number written on it. Meanwhile the fierceness of my concentration is causing me to see colors not normally found in the visible spectrum. I am sucking air through my teeth and feeling disquietingly like Hoover Dam about to be breached. Jim Morrison is laughing like one possessed, and I'm starting to whimper softly.
"He says it's apartment G-4," V relays to me. "Could you stop making that noise, please? You're making me nervous."
"I'm making me nervous too," I mutter. "Look around for a building marked G."
After what seems like twenty minutes of agony, we finally light upon apartment building G. We both bail out of the car simultaneously. I am doing the Dance of the Sphincter Plum Fairy at this point, and Jim Morrison seems to have called up Jimi Hendrix and invited him to join the festivities, because I'm pretty sure I can now feel someone smashing a guitar.
I'm also pleased to inform those of you who might be wondering that Jim Morrison, and whoever his cronies were, are now well and truly dead. I destroyed them myself. Anyone who had been close enough to that restroom would have heard a few mournful bars of "The End" followed by a satisfying flush, and possibly the sound of my exultant cackling. In fact, I was so relieved to be shut of them that I didn't even mind doing the subsequent Walk of Shame from Brother and Sister ____'s restroom to their front door.
To their credit, the ____s didn't seem to hold any bias against Miss V for her aunt's, erm, eccentric behavior, because they paid her handsomely for her trouble. Really handsomely. Maybe I should take up babysitting again.
By the way, the drive home took half the time because I was blatantly ignoring Google Maps. Go ye and do likewise.