Friday, May 6, 2011

Confessions From The Bathroom

Today during my brief break of my "Romantic Transport" class--which is really more about opium than literature, I went to the little stairwell of the JFSB where the cell-phone addicts gather like smokers in a glass cage that gets some service--fully expecting my phone to be flooded with loving texts. You can imagine my surprise* when all I got was the stupid Skweez--which wasn't even good. So, since I had no epistolary texts to reply to, I decided to kill some time and have a nice, relaxing trip to the bathroom (I'm not one to take recreational bathroom breaks, if I need to go to the loo it's because I mean business, so it was nice to relax). When I got there though, I was not presented the tranquil serenity I thought I would find, but instead I found myself faced with a moral qualm delineating my duties to mankind.

What happened, you may ask? Well, right as I entered the bathroom I noticed all the stalls were probably occupied, (I'm gathering that from the fact that all the stall doors were pretty closed and I wasn't going to be one of those people that try to punch open all of those doors that just might not have a half-naked body behind them) so I just settled in my hip and tried to inconspicuously check out my outfit in the mirror (verdict: should have gone with the other flats). Then, and this is where the stress starts, three stall doors open all at once.

Usually when you're waiting for an open toilet there's a system: you know there's going to be a wait if multiple women are standing without facing each other or speaking, (chatty waiters are either just in the bathroom to take in the scenery, or clearly not in as big of a rush as you are) you take your place in the group of waiters and you silently memorize everyone's face so that no one who has come in after you will try to elbow their way in front of you, (and you try to guess who has been waiting the longest and who needs to go the worst) then as people trickle out of the stalls you wait for the natural course of events to take place until everyone has gotten in and you are at the front of the hierarchy waiting for your one toiletmate to come out and you take their place on the other side of those stall doors.

This turn of events, however, goes against the system. Instead of the regular bathroom osmosis choosing for me which stall I was to do my bidness in, I had to use my own brain, and more importantly, heart to choose for myself. using some rapid-fire thought processes I immediately ruled out the first person that came out because she came out of the very first stall and I usually don't like to go to the very first stall because I feel like it's the one most used. And used by people who don't think about the fact that it's probably the one most used and thus aren't as savvy with public restroom germ etiquette. Then I ruled out the second one because she was kind of lingering in front of the stall door and I didn't exactly want to do-si-do my way into the privy.

Now, having ruled out the first two my choice should have been easy and sequential, right? Wrong! In my previous calculations I had failed to consider that there could have been a wildcard behind door number three, but in the process of walking toward the third and last stall I got pretty up-close and personal with the girl coming out of it and what I saw did not exactly appetize my bladder.

She was sweating! Not just like "oh, I was outside and straining to pick a blossom and I might have produced a bead of perspiration" but like hardcore sweating. I'm talking about dribbly forehead with the foggy upper-lip kind of sweat. Now, before you start thinking that I'm some kind of purist who can't handle a little bit of sweat, just know that at this point I was still willing to cut her a little slack. I mean, she probably took the stairs behind the RB that feel like you're ascending from the darkest circle of hell, and it's barely spring--no one's bodies are really used to the sun being out for more than six seconds at a time. Oh yeah, I'd cut her all that slack in the world! I mean I would probably squat over the seat, but I'd still pee in the same vicinity she did. It wasn't until I got closer to the stall that I realized why she had been sweating.

That. stall. stunk. so. bad. The smell was so pungent it was almost like I could chew it. Horrible. That girl had to have been doing some serious work. Stopping in my tracks, I knew I had a decision to make. I knew I wasn't going in there, but I wanted to go about it as gracefully as possible, seeing as all three bathroom contestants were now just barely starting to wash their hands. But, as happens in so many moments of mental duress, my mind went completely blank. Maybe it had to reboot itself after that horrible stench or something I don't know, but the point is that I had no idea what to do. So what did I do?

Walked right out of there. Yep. I did. I'm sorry if I made all of them self-conscious that none of them are suitable for public bathroom patronage, but I just couldn't figure out a better way to do it. I guess I can rule out solving the conflict in the Middle East as a possible career path.

*Ok, you're right, I wasn't extremely surprised.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Seven Years Now...

Seven years is a long time by anyone's standards.
Seven years was a long time for Brad Pitt when he was stuck in Tibet. I don't remember anything about that movie except Brad had some gnarly beard action going on and that Tibet isn't exactly a dream vacation destination pour moi.
Seven years is also long enough to terrify a child into never swallowing her Juicy Fruit again, by telling her she'll eventually have a stomach full of old gum. (Just to update you Grandma Brown, I've now thrown that scare-tactic to the wind and will swallow my gum just about whenever a trash can is too far away for my lazy legs.)
Thanks to an exceptional fifth grade teacher, I also know that seven years was a really long time to have a war with the French and Indians. Especially if your mother country's full of total softcheeks and they and will make you do all the grunt work. No wonder we won the Revolution.
I also know that seven years was a long time to have anorexic cows in Moses' day, and that it's a long time to have bad luck for after your ugly face shatters the mirror.

But how long has seven years been to me?

Mom, if I could show you how long seven years has felt for me, I would have a beard down to my ankles and an intestinal track so chock-full of bubblicious that the double rainbow guy would have something else to scream about.
It's been so long since I've had someone that I could always count on to be interested in every stupid, little thing I'm doing. To be rooting for me no matter what the odds. To be so blind with a mother's love that she can tell me I'm the best at everything and lacking in nothing without crossing any fingers or knocking on any wood.
The world's a scary place without a mom, whether you're 14 or 21. Seven years is a really long time, I've now lived a third of my life without you, and I know I've learned so much, but sometimes I wish I could just get a break from all this learning. Call a timeout with the Big Guy. Maybe I could get a two-sided conversation for once. Your part of the conversation was always more interesting anyway. But I know it will probably be a whole lot longer than seven years before I get that, so until then, I'll just have to live it up so we'll have plenty of good things to talk about.