I was trying to decide what aspect of the Barbershop Quartet Preliminaries I should write about because, hey, surprise, it was actually pretty eventful. Potential topics included the litany of adorable old-lady hairstyles as they shuttled to and fro during the intermission, or possibly the chatty troupe of Bette Midleresque exhibition singers that performed during the judging period, or even the barrage of creative costumes that the contestants wore, which ran the gamut from this:
I even gave some thought to talking about the actual music, which you guys should all look up right now, because it turns out that barbershop music is insanely cool. These guys practice for hours to blend their voices into a single sound, and the effect is amazing when they get it right.
But no, on this particular day, I’d like to tell you about the Urinal Incident.
During the intermission, my mother and I bolted out of our seats and beelined for the single women’s bathroom on the first floor. As we left, we saw a line of old ladies stretched out the door and around the corner. Good timing on our part.
We started back towards the auditorium, looking for my father and Taylor. More accurately, we were looking for Taylor, because in a large crowd one Taylor’s head pokes up above the sea of hats and hairdos like one of those ‘Remember Where You Parked!’ placards at Disneyland.
So we spot him and Dad standing near the wall and they are cracking up. To me, it’s a little ominous. There is no way that a men’s bathroom can be that funny. I’m a little suspicious that my father might have said or done something inappropriate, but that’s sort of like saying ‘I was suspicious my father might have eaten food at some point during the day, or perhaps breathed air.” Mom and I give each other a sort of wary look as we walk up.
“Hi,” I say. “What’s so funny?”
They crack up again.
“See,” Dad says to Taylor. “I knew they’d ask. I knew it.”
“What?” Mom says. “Ask about what?”
Dad gestures at his foot. It looks like someone spilled a glass of water on his shoe. Taylor is shaking, trying to hold in laughter. It looks painful. His face is a little red.
“What happened?” I ask.
“Okay,” Dad says. “So, I’m in the bathroom, just sort of, you know, doing my thing, and this guy comes in. No, no, he sort of…waddles in.” Dad demonstrates, hopping from one foot to the other foot with his arms jangling around his sides. “He really has to go. Like, he really, really has to go. So he gets up to the urinals, right next to me-”
“-Right next to him!” Taylor interjects.
“Yeah! Yeah! Taylor saw!” Dad bursts into laughter again. Mom and I give each other The Eye while they try to recover. Finally, Dad wipes a tear away and continues. “So he takes his thing out and just starts going to town, and he’s very relieved. He was holdin’ it a long time, and he’s going, ‘Awwwohohh! Ohhhawah! Awwwhohh!'”
Again, Dad demonstrates, nearly collapsing into the wall behind him with his eyes crossed. A man passing buy in a neon purple suit gives us a weird look.
“But…but the thing is,” Dad says, “the thing is that he was about two feet away from the urinals this whole time. And…well…”
Mom and I look at him.
We look down at his pee-soaked shoe.
Mom instantly jumped back about five feet.
“Oh!” she squeals. “Go wash it! Go wash it off, right now!”
Dad and Taylor are helpless, laughing, doubling over, but Dad makes an effort to shuffle back over to the bathroom. Taylor tries to stop chuckling.
“At the barbershop competition. An old man just peed on my dad at the urinals. I am completely serious about this.”
Dad comes back, with his shoe apparently clean.
“Did you wash your hands?” Mom asks. Dad snorts.
“Didn’t have to,” he said. “I just got a big wad of paper towels and wiped it off. It was fine.”
“You should wash your hands,” Mom said. We started walking back towards the auditorium. The intermission was just about over.
“He’s going to want to hold your hand alllll through the show,” I mumble to Mom. She rolls her eyes.
“Yes,” she says. “I know.”
My phone buzzed as Brittney texted me back.
“Now your dad belongs to that other guy,” she said.