Every word of the following cautionary tale is true. I know because she told me so herself.
I cannot reveal her name because I pinky-swore that I wouldn't. I think that means she gets to break my pinky finger if I squawk. And her aim is questionable.
Suffice it to say that many of you know her and some of you are her neighbors. She is a lovely woman who otherwise is mostly rational and often even reasonable.
She and her husband were attending a dinner concert by Southern Gospel singer Guy Penrod with her in-laws when she found that she needed to tend to some urgent business.
''So, I had to use the little room,'' she told me, ''but got distracted by getting a text on my cell phone.
''Anyway, after I accomplished my purpose for going into the little room by going into an even smaller little room, I opened the door to see in the mirror the backs of three men and realizing where I was. I was in the men's little room!''
She wondered why she didn't notice the difference in decor when she wandered in even if her eyes were glued to her text messages. She wondered if there were guys in the room watching her as she walked through and closed herself inside the even smaller little room.
She wondered how she would escape.
She considered calling her husband out in the fancy restaurant theater but knew the men in the men's room with her would hear a female voice coming from a hallowed place that it shouldn't. Then she tried texting him, but her fingers ''were too rattled to cooperate.'' She also forgot that he doesn't have text messaging.
''So, I prayed, then looked under the door for shoes - big, black ones - all this time considering my options, like, 'Gentlemen, we have an unfortunate situation here, and I think the best option for all of us is to close our eyes, count to five and then open them and forget this ever happened!' - and of course that would be my chance to run.
''But, after a few minutes, there was only one pair of big, black shoes left and they walked into the stall on the other side of me.
''Oh, this was just too weird!
''I knew this was my window and ran out of the room! And then, of course, when I opened the door, I was facing a long line of women waiting to get into the ladies' room. Needless to say, I didn't hang around to chat.''
Slinking back to her table, her blissfully unaware husband asked if things were well. She assured him that they were - now.
''But halfway through the wonderful concert, while holding my husband's hand, it dawned on me that I never did wash my hands!'' she said.
There you have the whole sordid affair. It's an error in direction that I suspect most of us started to make at one time or other in our lives, but few of us are so wrapped up that we blunder this far before finding we need extrication.
The moral of this story is, of course, not only should you never text while driving, not only should you never text while operating heavy machinery, but you especially never should text while conducting urgent business.
Also, you may wish to be careful how you greet anyone you suspect of being this lovely woman. But she says, honest, she since has washed her hands. Pinky-swear.
----- Share your embarrassing moments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on the Burton W. Cole fan page on Facebook. He has another pinkie.