I show up to work. I get there on time, do stuff while I’m there, and I don’t go home early. Aren’t you impressed? You should be. If my co-workers are any indication, it’s a very hard thing, this thing that I do.
Also, I’m good at my job. I think. I produce volume. I frustrate only a minimal number of people each day. As a previously honors class-ed overachiever, I get a special kick out of high numbers for the day, and I have a private little celebration over performing brain gymnastics to hunt down a hundred of pieces of information put in a hundred places by a hundred people. I may sometimes feel like punting a baby after an especially stressful day, but at least I know that I didn’t burn down the building, and that for some people, that’s an achievement.
So why, then, am I proudest when I can convince myself to start peeing when someone else is in the stall next to me?
I don’t know when it started, my shy bladder. One day I peed like nobody’s business – actually, I peed like everybody’s business, because I was in a bathroom stall and that’s what it’s for. Peeing was good. Peeing was great. Peeing was healthy, because ever since I got a UTI once, I learned that you should never ever hold it for any reason, because sitting in your bathroom for hours with magazines and a jug of cranberry juice is not nearly as fun as it sounds. Besides, it’s not like I ever had any trouble peeing. I’ve pissed myself while laughing dozens of times in my life, enough that my friends give me the side eye when I’m laughing so hard there are tears squeezing out. “If she’s leaking out of her eyes,” they’re thinking, “she’s going to leak out of her urethra, too.”
Then one day while another woman was in the next stall, I couldn’t pee. I had to pee. I wanted to pee. But I couldn’t pee. I sat there and concentrated on peeing, and I thought about that time I saw Titanic in the theater and had to pee, like, 20 minutes in, but didn’t want to miss anything (I was 15, give me a break) so I held it all through a three and a half hour movie about water.
Still couldn’t pee.
It wasn’t until the woman in the stall next to me flushed the toilet that I was able to go. I was baffled. I hadn’t been holding it, and I didn’t want to be that person who is so terrified of her own bodily functions that she allows them to make noise when no one else is going to hear them. Bitch, please. I have puked on speakerphone. I have no problems allowing my body to embarrass itself. But ever since then, I’ve been loathe to hear someone else waltz into the bathroom when all I want to do is go. My bladder hears their footsteps and clamps itself shut, only opening again when the flush begins.
I’d prepared myself to have another Brain Vs. Urinary Tract Battle Royale, the one where my mind very logically tries to convince my body not to poison itself with sepsis. There were three other people in the bathroom, so imagine my surprise when I started peeing immediately. I felt like cheering. No, seriously, I did. I actually felt like cheering myself on, and then I thought how stupid that was because they did it in Waiting and Ryan Reynolds seems like the kind of guy to give a girl the Clap.
And then I remembered that I was in a bathroom stall at work, and how I felt accomplished about peeing, and I felt even dumber than before. Which was a lot.