Monday, October 1, 2007

20/20 hindsight

Last Friday I went to the Y to run on the treadmill. I've only recently begun working out again, after an unprecedented hiatus of several months, and for some reason, as I ease my way back into shape, I've found it less daunting to run on a treadmill than to run outside.

I planned to run for half an hour, and everything went fine for the first several minutes, except that it was an unbelievably glorious day, and as I ran--looking out the floor-to-ceiling window at the leaves gently rustling and the deep blue sky, and listening to Journey and Sade and the other terrible music the Y pipes into the fitness room--I began to feel like an idiot for not getting my exercise in the fabulous, invigorating, other-people's-music-free outdoors.

But all that kicking-myself regret soon turned into relief, because somewhere in the seventh minute, it became quite clear that I needed to take a dump. If you've done any serious running, you know that this kind of thing can happen. Distance runners are always leaving treasures in the woods and wiping themselves with a sock, or leaves, or chipmunks, or whatever else happens to be within reach. (My brother once wiped with poison ivy. Oops.) Remember Greta Weitz running the New York City marathon with diarrhea streaming down her legs? That would have been my only option.

The thing is, like Greta Weitz, I can get pretty obsessive when I exercise. I really didn't want to interrupt my workout to take care of business. So I continued running, with my butt cheeks pretty much clenched together. Though my ass muscles undoubtedly got some additional toning, it really wasn't all that pleasant.

Finally, after 25 minutes, I had to concede that I wasn't going to make it. I hopped off the treadmill and trotted to the bathroom, where things quickly got ugly. There was noise and stench and seemingly no end in sight to the proceedings.

The bathroom is small, with only two stalls, so I was mortified when the door swung open and someone sat down in the stall next to me. To make matters worse, all she was doing was some dainty, ladylike tinkling. I so wished I could just be alone with my subhuman disgustingness.

However, I became quite grateful for her companionship when I discovered that the toilet paper roll was empty. Still, it took me several seconds to work up the courage to ask her for some help: I had to overcome the fact that I was being made that much more vulnerable.

"Can you do me a favor?" I said. "Can you pass me some toilet paper?"

"Oh, no," the woman said. "I'm not going to do that for you."

Holy shit! I thought to myself. Why? And then, Now what?

"I'm just kidding," she said. "Just a little bathroom humor."

I managed to chuckle, and she handed me a wad of toilet paper under the divider. It was just barely enough; I really had to strategize.

I waited for the woman to leave before emerging from my own stall, because really there's no way to face a stranger who has endured your foul odors and then assisted, in her own small but essential way, with the cleanup. You just can't do it.

I washed up and then went back to finish my run, which was now a hell of a lot more enjoyable, though I was still traumatized by my bathroom experience. So traumatized, in fact, that I just had to blog about it, days later--as if telling the world the handful of people who read this would release me from some of that shame.

Hey, I do kind of feel better now.


5 comments:

Story said...

OK! I know you from Flickr, and I read your blog silently..because you make me laugh..but this last entry..Oh sweet Jesus..you wrote about having to go to the bathroom so bad, and described it so HUMAN and real..it made me pee my pants, a little tiny bit..but pee none the less, I wish it were less but it wasnt. I guess that is what having five babys does to your body..although your blog helped matters! I seriously was laughing so hard I was crying..and my husband...laid next to me..and just kepttttt snoring.

dogfaceboy said...

Holy shit. That's all I can say. Oh, yeah, and, "Can you spare a square?" I would've gotten her humor, but I probably would've started off by asking those words.

Then again, I wouldn't have been so disgusting and foul in the gym.

I much prefer to crap in the woods and wipe with chipmunk.

BrianJ said...

my god, deb...thank heavens you have a daughter to dilute the testosterone in your house. you've most definitely been afflicted. funny stuff...

nejyerf said...

this is worth delurking for.

i LOVE a good bathroom story.

i myself have one in the works from ages ago but is so good i have to share it with the free world.

when we get to know each other better, we can discuss why i always get the urge to poop when i'm at the library.

family-of-five said...

darling, can you believe that blogging about poop would bring so many commenters out of the network?

heehee. you kill me.