I don’t even know why I am surprised, but yesterday I crossed my own line of sanity. I’d literally exhausted my ability to handle myself. Like for real.
The morning was one unexpected turn after the other, but I felt like I had done an admirable job of keeping the crazy in check. I had taken a kid to school, picked another kid up from school, sat with that kid while he regrouped from some severe anxiety, took that kid back to school, accidentally and out loud made a joke about one of the teachers to an administrator who clearly didn’t share my sense of humor, had an interview for an internship but when I get nervous my neck gets all splotchy like I’m having a fatal reaction to shellfish and then my mouth gets so dry that I literally can’t gather enough saliva together to keep my lips from sticking to my teeth but I was able to answer all the questions and I thought the interview went really well until I got into the car and realized I had those white things that gather in the corner of your mouth when it’s extremely dry like a substitute teacher I had in high school who wasn’t a day over 97.
So yeah, it was a battle but I was still managing to come out on top.
Until I got to the gym.
I know, right? You’ve heard about the trouble I can get myself into while I am there and you are wondering why I even keep going back. I hear ya. And I’m not sure.
Anyway, in the spirit of “let’s show this day who is boss and instead of having french fries and Milk Duds and bread for lunch, do the right thing”, that is where I ended up.
I had packed a bag of clothes to change into since I was dressed up all professional like for my interview. Yes, I realize it’s like putting lipstick on a pig, but let’s move on.
As soon as I got into the locker room I saw signs posted EVERYWHERE that said they were having water problems so DO NOT USE THE SINKS OR TOILETS. Great. Cause the only time I really have to pee is typically the only time someone tells me that I can’t. What to do now?
I decided to just put it out of my mind and to get my clothes changed. I started to pull the items out of my bag. Tennis shoes, check. T-shirt, check. Appropriate foundation garment(aka sports bra) , check. Pants…… Pants?
Pants. No check.
Now what do I do? At this point the only obvious choice I had was to get my boots back on and leave without working out. So naturally…. I put on my t-shirt and laced up my tennis shoes and decided to rock them both with my dress pants. Sure, it was no Get In Shape Girl leotard, but it would work.
Iphone, headphones, modified workout gear. Let’s roll. But wait.
The more I thought about the signs saying not to use the water, the more I had to go to the bathroom and it moved quickly from a fleeing thought to “I’m going to wet my pants”. Like right then.
I couldn’t wait any longer and the locker room was empty except for me so I decided that I was just gonna have to tinkle and not flush it. I know, gross. But not nearly as bad as wetting my pants of the treadmill and having to pretend like I was sweating in odd places.
I listened several times to make sure no one was in the locker room and then I went for it. My plan worked out beautifully and I had just finished mentally high fiving myself and writing a virtual apology to whomever had to be the one to discover my ninja like bathroom skills when I stood up and got ready to exit the stall.
Just as I slid the bar on the lock mechanism to emerge a silent victor, the toilet began to flush. WHAT? An automatic flushing toilet. How did I not consider this? What am I going to do? I’ll just hurry out and no one will ever know, after all the locker room is empty, right?
In the 2 seconds that elapsed from me deciding it was clear to stand up from the potty and make a run for it, at least 3 or 4 or 12 women had filled the locker room. As I slowly and shamefully opened the door there they were. And they were looking at me with disgust and disappointment as they first made eye contact with me and then rolled their eyes and made an exaggerated nod towards the warning signs. Busted.
I really should have just left at that point, but I’m clearly just a glutton for punishment and I decide it had long passed the point where I could tap out with any sort of dignity and the only thing worse than losing in a fight is when you lost because you gave up.
I was able to finish my work out, even though I was nervously looking around the whole time waiting for the gym patrol to emerge holding a wanted poster with my name and face one it.
I figured I had made it this far, so I might as well tan while I was there. I mentioned earlier that I had taken a bag of clothes to change into and that even though my wardrobe change didn’t include pants it did include switching to a sports bra, meaning I had the another one in my bag. With me so far? Good.
Now when I tan I always put vaseline on my lips because they burn easily. Remember earlier when I told you about my mouth getting so dry and glued together? Yeah, I have lots of issues with my mouth. And I totally know you just said a silent “amen”. I feel you.
Well, to make this long story a little less long, I must have dropped the bra out of my bag when I was getting my lip stuff and it fell down behind the chair. It wasn’t until I had tanned, gotten dressed, walked out to the car and got in my bag again that I noticed it was missing.
Honestly. Why do I even leave the house?
At that point I was considering just driving off and never speaking of it again but what if the person that went into room after me found it and what if when I showed up the next day, it was stapled to the check in counter with a sign that says “HEATHER PATTERSON”.
Surely that wouldn’t happen. Right? I really should have just left and forgot about it. But wait. It was expensive. Think about it Heather, is saving the $50 worth not having to go back in? What should I do?
So of course, I decided to go back in. It had only been a few minutes so surely I could just walk back into the room and get it and slip it into my bag and no one would notice. Of course that would work out, because every decision I had made up to that point clearly showed that I could be trusted to make excellent choices.
Except the opposite.
Just as I opened the doors to make a beeline for the tanning rooms, I saw a sweet young college aged girl carrying my bra. I heard her and watched her as, in what seemed like slow motion, she said “someone left this in the room” and reached out her hand to place my brassier into the hands of the mass of muscles behind the counter.
Friends, you know how they say that in a life or death situation people find strength and speed and the ability to do things they never would have been able to do otherwise? I’ve always wondered if that was true. Would I be able to lift a bus off my children or out wrestle a bear if it came down to it being him or me?
The only possible answer is yes because with speed and precision that I do not possess, I rushed…..no I leapt, from the front door and over the entire span of 30 feet or so to the counter and landed on my tip toes just in time to intercept my purple flowered bra right before it could leave young college girls hands and into those of David Hasselhoff Jr.
The final score for the day: Me=0 , The Universe=…..I can’t count that high.
You might be wondering why would I tell you all of this? Why would I even dream about sharing my most embarrassing moments with you? Well, I tell you about my disasters because I know you have been there, too.
It would be easy pretend that we haven’t, to put on our forced smiles and our fake laughs and to act like we have it all together, when the truth is, we all have our moments when it’s all falling apart.
And maybe if we both agree that it’s ok to talk about those times then, instead of judging and gossiping and rolling our eyes at each other, we can nod and smile and offer up a prayer from a place that only us plumbing breakers and the bra leavers could understand. Maybe we really can Keep It Real.
Oh, and just in case you don’t agree that we need to be real with each other or that there is value in forming real, authentic relationships that are void of judgement, maybe you could just keep all that stuff I said earlier to yourself?