It's parent night at my kid's Tae Kwon Do class.
The room is completely inappropriate for an audience-type activity, but my husband and I grin and bear it. I'm mostly worried that my kid is going to fall over or barf or (worst case scenario) that her bottom lip will start to tremble, her eyes will slowly fill with tears and she will have one of those meltdowns that are exclusive to eight-year-old girls.
Those turn out to be the least of my worries.
I'm sitting on the floor. Some jackass who is way too old to be dripping in gold chains saunters in 15 minutes late and proceeds to set up camp right in front of me. He stands and leans against the wall, his ample rear-end about eighteen inches from my face. I can still see around him, so I decide not to make a move and upset the carefully packed room, in which it's about 93 degrees and airless. My husband is standing in back.
Some chick is there with her kid, who is screaming his head off and hurling his pacifier and doing the arch-the-back tantrum trick. I resist the urge to elbow my way through the crowd and say, "Hey lady, I'm hear to listen to my kid go 'HUH!' when she punches, not to your squeamy-mimi's howls." But I was there once and I know how it is. I keep my mouth shut. Good thing too, because on a dime, the kid stops his piercing death wail and a the room falls mercifully quiet.
That's precisely when I hear it, in that sudden crack of silence.
The tell-tale high-pitched sound of air escaping from sphincter.
My head immediately snaps from the two six-year-olds who are kicking their darling little hearts out to the jackass's butt. Sure enough, underneath the powder blue polyester covering his cheeks, the muscles tighten in an effort to keep the rest of whatever's threatening to come out from doing so. All I can think is, "Please, God, it's me, Erin. Please, God, don't let it stink too bad. Just not too bad, that's all I ask. Please. God."
My kid steps to the center of the floor.
The cloud of asphyxiating gas engulfs me.
My kid looks to me for the reassurance she's expecting. Her face collapses when she sees that I'm stifling a gag with my hand and turning red.
(Grin and bear it. Remember Erin?)
I take my hand from my face, give the kid our secret communication--a subtle thumbs up--and smile while doing that breathe-through-the-mouth thing you do when you're trying to disable your sense of smell.
Confidence blooms on her face. She's spars with a boy that's about her size but a full two belt colors above her in rank. She loses the spar, but not without giving the other kid a good run for his money. I swell with pride, toxic emissions notwithstanding.
Then, just as the air had cleared so to speak, the jackass goes and blasts another one. Another one! This one is a bit louder than the first and I wonder if I'm the only one who has heard it.
He turns around, shrugs and says with a sheepish grin, "Uh, heh, heh. Sorry about that. Heh."
a) Offer him a Bic lighter so he could light it.
b) Congratulate him on a robust, full-bodied aroma.
c) Tell him I enjoyed his flatulence so much that I would like to join his Friday night poker club so I can enjoy it yet again, as well as that of his card-playing friends.
d) Ask for his wife's chile recipe.