I had jury duty earlier this week. As is fitting when I’m downtown (or alone, anywhere), I had Chipotle for lunch. It’s been perhaps a month since I’ve had it, and believe me, for me, that is a very long time. It was delicious. The first few bites were nothing short of magical. I think I even let out an audible mmmmmm two or five times. As I packed up my trash, grabbed my purse, was SURE I had Dotty, I felt the first stirrings of gastrointestinal discontent.
We’ve been here before, the stomach and me. I know what it feels like before my body rejects what I’ve eaten. Usually, I even know how long it’ll take before I’m literally running to get to the bathroom, how bad it’ll be pain-wise. This time, though, still high on just how damned good the food was, how much I’ve missed what used to be a near daily eating experience, I didn’t listen.
Me: I can make it home.
Stomach: Silly girl.
Ten minutes later I was on the train. Doubled over. Writhing in my seat next to a tiny old man who probably thought my constant movement was pleasing. At my exit the pain subsided. By the time I reached the bus stop, the pain was so intense I was contemplating where the nearest bathrooms were. A pizza joint on Pennsylvania Avenue. Knock on someone’s door? Walk to the Safeway? And then, just like that, the wave of pain subsided.
Me: I can make it home. Just breathe like they’re contractions.
Stomach: You’re getting dumber.
On the bus my mind is racing about potential outcomes:
I’m going to make it two blocks from home and make that face Charlotte made when she crapped herself on Carrie and Big’s non-honeymoon trip.
I’m going to step off the bus and make that face Charlotte made when she crapped herself on Carrie and Big’s non-honeymoon trip.
I’m going to make that face Charlotte made when she crapped herself on Carrie and Big’s non-honeymoon trip right here on this bus. In this seat.
Me: Get control of yourself. Clench harder! You will make it home. You will NOT shit on yourself. You are mother to a baby who shits on himself. Are you a baby? (This is, irritatingly, running through your head in the voice of Major Payne).
Stomach: There’s an emergency diaper for the baby in your purse.
I was thankful not to be wearing a skirt. I was thankful that I made it off the bus. I was a block and a half away from home when I became thankful for being so close to home as I made that face Charlotte made when she crapped herself on Carrie and Big’s non-honeymoon trip.
Huh? Oh. You’re welcome.
* * * * *
I trudged through the remainder of this wide-legged walk of slimy, shitty shame with my jacket around my waist. I walked in the front door, locked it behind me, and screamed. The stairs were difficult. How to…exactly…this leg…now this leg…dripping…not too far to the left, now…hop…drag…shuffle ball change. Bathroom.
Do you know how best to proceed from here? What would you do with your child? The bathtub, yes! You step into the bathtub and disrobe. It is hard because the denim, it’s stuck about the thighs. You get the denim off and think that you need the nozzle on its highest, hardest setting to successfully wash away the excrement embarrassment. You no longer want to think what you’d do with your child because you are a fucking adult! You turn on the water and the first blast to the pants shoots shit back at you. Ah. So you are a stupid fucking adult. Who now also has to clean the shower curtain.
Your jeans may be trash, though you will wash them on the highest setting, inside out, just to try to salvage them. That’s what you do with the baby’s clothes, anyway. You scrub that tub like you’ll be sent to The Chokey if it’s not done well enough. And then you do what any adult who has walked two blocks with poop in her pants does. You have a shot of tequila and take a nap. You do not eat. Ever. Again.