Earlier this week, an elderly woman appeared in our store. I say "appeared" because, since she didn't actually order anything and it was pretty crowded in there at the time, we didn't even notice her until she emerged from the back hallway and demanded, in tones which only people from this part of the country can muster, "Excuse me! Can you please tell the person in the ladies' room to hurry up?! This is an emergency!"
"Oh," I said, concerned for this woman, concerned for what might happen if she were not allowed immediate access to a toilet, yet also reticent to hasten the person already using it, "You can just use the men's room if you don't mind. It's exactly the same."
The woman made no objection and pounded on the door to the gents'. Regrettably, there was already someone in there, too.
So the woman stationed herself in the hallway and bawled, loudly enough for every single person in the store to hear, "Can whoever's in the bathroom, please hurry up?! This is an emergency! Hurry UP! It's an emergency!"
My fellow baristas and I were torn as to whether to laugh or panic. There are certain tasks which they really do not pay us enough to do.
At last the woman in the ladies' room emerged, and the elderly lady entered. The woman who had been hurried along looked very put out, and I could sympathise. Until she said, with disgust and ire, to the coffee shop at large, "Did you hear that woman yelling at me to hurry up? How rude! I was on my cell phone!"
The elderly woman came out a little while later. She never did buy anything.
I'm still puzzled as to who I should have been routing for.