Now that I’ve been home from LA for a full week and have some time to actually talk to friends and read one email a day or so, the question I’ve most often been asked is, what exactly were you doing there for five weeks?
I can tell you in a word:
I was peeing.
I peed in office buildings, in restaurants, in coffee shop; in boutiques that took mercy on the wiggly pregnant woman and violated their own no-restroom-for-customers policies with a reluctant wave towards the stockroom in back. I peed in gas stations. I peed in men’s rooms. I peed in a scary public toilet on the Santa Monica Beach, praying for dear life that my quivering, atrophied thigh muscles wouldn’t give out as I squatted above that condemned commode. I peed anywhere, anytime, from El Segundo to the Fairfax District and all the way north to Burbank without hesitation or apology.
But most of all, I peed at work.
There’s nothing quite like that exquisite combination of a third-trimester bladder and a full-time office job. I easily lost count of the times I made that lap from my office to the rest room on the other end of the floor and back. I’m certain I was doing about 6k a day. In boots, no less. I would complain about the distance, but considering the candy machine was right outside my office door, it’s probably the only reason I didn’t put on more weight than I already did.
After each trip, no sooner did I return to my desk, settle back into a comfortable position (legs on the desk, laptop on thighs; I’m just not a good, ladylike desk sitter) and get back to work, my bladder would miraculously fill to capacity once again. And so, off I’d go, backtracking from whence I’d just come with a stone-rigid abdomen that, along with the urgency, forced my gait into that of a duck on speed.
Waddle there, walk back. Repeat.
(I know the accounting department was making quacking noises behind my back as I passed their row of cubes. I just know it.)
Each trip down the hall I would think, this is the time I won’t make it. This is the time I have pushed my limits by taking one too many phone calls, responding to one too many emails, stopping to chat with one too many coworkers on the way and surely the entirety of the Pacific Ocean that I have somehow consumed in the previous twenty minutes will burst forth from my bladder in a giant tsunami, embarrassing me for all of eternity.
And yet, I always arrived in time to scootch my arse out of some elastic waistband or another in time to relieve myself of a good half-teaspoon or so in the proper way.
Needless to say, I got to know that restroom pretty well. Or at least better than any one person should have to, short of she who is paid to clean it.
I soon knew which toilet was the last to be used in the morning and which ran out of supplies first in the afternoon. I became aware of which coworker only seemed able to use stall 2, which one left a flood of water around the sink, and which one used more than her fair share of toilet paper. (Hello? You don’t need to wrap 37 yards of it around your hand for it to be effective.) I even noticed that every day between 2 and 2:30, some inconsiderate wench left the seat cover on the seat in stall 1. Helpful hint: “For your protection” doesn’t just mean for your protection.
I was in there enough that I seriously considered decorating. Nothing drastic of course. But it would have been nice to hang up a print or two, maybe put up a few snapshots of my daughter. Some fresh flowers would have prettied the place up and certainly some reading material would have been welcome since women can’t just walk into a restroom with a book, the same way men do. There could have been something magazine-y maybe, that one could read in short spurts. A paperback humor anthology. Or even the latest issue of The Onion.
Instead, I had to settle for the only reading material I could find:
Does anyone else ever wonder why those seat covers are printed with Provided by the Management for your Protection and yet nothing else in the bathroom is? Is it that important for the management to get some sort of acknowledgment for providing you with this particular sanitary item and no others?
The way I see it, it’s like saying, When you take a crap, think of the management!
Yeah, I spent too much time in that bathroom.
Way too much time.