As I get older, I find that I have patience for a great many things, like slow computers, food servers, even traffic. I also have less tolerance for other things, like people who text while they drive, talk on their cell phone in the elevator, or who hog up the office bathroom.
Now, I know that last one may sound strange—although if you have to go to an office every day and have, say, irritable bowel syndrome or even if you don’t, you probably know what I’m talking about.
Here’s why I bring it up: Last week, I started a new cleanse. You know, the kind that detoxifies your system so you can have more energy, feel lighter, lose weight, enjoy brighter skin, blah, blah, blah. Mine is a 10-day system that involves several nutrient-dense shakes a day, as well as unlimited amounts of fruits, vegetables, legumes, water, and an overall menu comprised of super clean fibrous eating.
Now I like doing these kinds of things. To me, it feels a little like redemption for all the bad choices I made in December, when I celebrated my birthday month with approximately seven cupcakes, three pizzas, five tuna salad sandwiches packed with real mayo, 22 sugar cookies, and, well, too many small bites of decadence.
And while it feels good to fuel my car with high-quality octane, it also has some less than desirable side effects: Like the need to run to the bathroom. A lot.
Now on the weekends: no biggie. I can handle that side effect – in the comfort of my own home, where access is easy and private. I can do my business with wild and reckless abandon, without having to control my impulses in consideration of somebody else one stall over.
But at work, well, that’s a whole other story. Especially if you consider that going does not come easy to me. I don’t go when I’m away from home. And I rarely go during working hours. I’m funny that way. Why my husband hasn’t even been privy to my bathroom habits –and we’ve been living together for almost six years!
And so, it was a very big deal that last week, in the middle of a grueling detoxification, on what I’m now calling “Black Flats Friday”, I had to REALLY use the restroom and couldn’t for one reason:
I still don’t know who Black Flats is or what she does in the office, but I can tell you this: She didn’t get very much done on Black Flats Friday because she spent most of it in the bathroom. I know this because a) I could see her black ballet flats covered by a gray wool hemline on the floor in the second stall and b) I spent most of the day trying to avoid her – in an attempt to be able to use the bathroom when nobody was in there. So I could detoxify in private.
But it was virtually impossible. Whenever I went into the bathroom, Black Flats was there. So I’d fake it—go into a stall, eke out a little something, quickly flush, wash my hands and head back to my desk, where I’d watch my computer clock for 15 or so minutes—figuring that would give Black Flats enough time to get it done—and go back in so I could finally be alone.
It never happened. So I’d wait out longer and longer periods. Until finally, I decided I’d try to wait her out. After all, she had to recognize my brown boots, 4-inch heels, black platform. And that I was coming in with increasing frequency.
She also had to realize that the right thing to do was to give somebody else a chance.
Finally, at about 3 o’clock, I took a deep breath, entered the stall next to her, sat down, and started counting the minutes silently. Ours would be a test of wills, one minute, two minutes, five minutes would pass. And I’d think: Bring it on Black Flats, bring it on.
Oh sure, every now and then, somebody else would come in to use one of the other three stalls and then quickly go out. Because in the unspoken code of the restroom, they knew: People need to do their business in private.
But Black Flats was formidable. She didn’t even fake noise by rustling up a little toilet paper, or “accidentally” flushing the toilet. She just sat there.
And sat there.
And sat there.
After about 15 minutes, I couldn’t take it anymore. And so, I had to decide: Whether to bang maniacally on our shared wall and say, “IT’S MY TURN, GET OUT”. Or, call it a wrap and endure the pain involved in holding it until I was in the comfort and privacy of my own house. I opted for the latter, but let me tell you, it was harrowing.
Have you ever had an experience like that? And don’t scowl – we all do it. We might as well share. So let me know. What would you do in that situation?
Until next time!