Monday, April 18, 2011

Looking like a fool with my pants on the ground

After the girdle suggestion, I made up my mind that I was going to lose weight and get in shape. But I didn't have a lot of confidence--how many times had I told myself this? Or lost a few and gained them back? Over the next year, I made another half-hearted attempt that stalled after a five-pound loss. It would take one more event that would spur me into high gear and permanent change.

I drink coffee and guzzle water throughout the day. I am lucky I don't get my pay docked for all my bathroom breaks. Down the hall is an employee's restroom, a women's one with several stalls. Stalls that easily lock, I might add. But sometimes to save time I use the single-person one which is closer but in a high-traffic area.

There had been a lot of complaints about this restroom. The toilet directly faced the door, an obvious problem when people got caught unawares. On the outside, adjacent to the door, was a silver square that said "press here." Once it was pressed, the door electronically opened. The door automatically shut on its own. There was no manual lock on the door. Once the door completely closed and latched, you locked it by pressing a big red button next to the toilet.

The whole procedure from the time the door opened and closed took 30 seconds. Pushing on the door, no matter how hard, did not make the door close any faster.

Guys would often get impatient and would begin to start their business, not realizing the door wasn't locked. And, yeah, you guessed it. Someone would hit the square button on the outside and the guy wouldn't be done. Which wasn't too bad since his back was to the door. Maybe because guys are used to peeing in front of strangers, it was no big deal. Usually the guy would just glance back and give a little nod. Or even nonchalantly say, "Hey, how's it going?" The whole thing presented quite a different scenario for a woman who was perched on the throne in all her glory.

So, knowing all about the problem with this bathroom, I avoided using it. But on this day, I had gone to Starbucks and had been too busy to use the restroom since break. I was getting antsy, so I opted to use the public restroom. I punched the big, square button on the wall. The door slowly yawned open. I went in. I waited for the door to shut and heard it latch. I then pressed the red button, heard the click, pulled down my scrub pants, sat down, and...blessed relief. I then heard a familiar sound. Someone punched the outside button, and horror of horrors, the door began to open. Frantic, I thought "You gotta be kidding. I know I pressed the red button and heard it lock!"

They say it is amazing how many things run through your mind in an emergency. In my panic I considered my options, none of them good. Option 1: Be like a guy, nod, say wazzup, and carry on with my business. Maybe even give a little wave. One problem: the 30-second window when people would be filing by while I'm sitting on the john. Thirty seconds is a long time in a situation like this.

Option 2: Finish mid-stream and try to use the toilet paper. But imagine what that would look like. No, too horrible to imagine. I quickly dismissed Option 2.

Option 3: Cut my losses and yank up my drawers and flee. This seemed like the most reasonable bet.

The man begins to enter, sees me and freezes. He hastily backs out, apologizing profusely. He may know me, I think, but if I don't meet his eye he might not recognize me. Fat chance. I quickly yank up my pants. Or try to. Even though I've lost five pounds, they're still quite snug. Frantically, I fight to get them up but can't get them past my thighs. The door is still wide open.

I am directly in front of the door with my pants half down. Where can I go to hide? Nowhere is where. I do a kind of hop, duck waddle, skip to hide behind the door (which is still at a stand-still before taking its long journey home). There is another unfortunate fact about this bathroom. A full-length mirror is on the wall where you catch a startling view of yourself getting up off the stool and, in my present predicament, a full-on view for those walking by. I see myself in the mirror. I'm crouched behind the door with my big white bum exposed, pushing on the door to get it to move. The door isn't budging. Not one to normally say bad words, I urgently begin to cuss.

Finally, mercifully, the door closes. I take a deep breath. I again press the red button this time making sure it is locked, I go pee (which I didn't get to finish earlier). I wash my hands. But I don't leave. I take a long look at myself in the mirror. I begin to laugh. Hard. I know this is going to make a great story later. And, then I tell myself, "If I am ever, ever again caught with my pants down, I'm going to be so skinny that I can yank my pants all the way up to my chin."

And, that was the turning point. I began to eat like a normal person. And, I started exercising. I steadily lost one pound a week until I reached my goal. And, I'm happy to report, I've kept my pants on in public and haven't gone back.

Next time...I'll answer the question, "How did I get here?"

P.S. Turns out the red button had a short in it and didn't always work. I guess I took one for the team, because soon after my incident a manual door and lock were installed.


  1. You are a great team player Jacci and I for one, am glad that you took one for the team. I guess I am still waiting form my aha moment....but I am sure it will come soon.

  2. I could feel my embarrassment rising on your behalf the whole time I was reading this.

    Ironic, isn't it, that it takes something shocking to our systems (in this case the adrenaline of embarrassment) to jolt us into action?

  3. Yep. Pretty embarrassing. But almost always worth it for the story. Almost.

  4. Jacci!!!! I just read all your posts. You are so funny and so inspiring too. All your hard work, embarassment and self-realization has paid off big-time, and you look awesome. Thanks for sharing! Now you probably need to share the car-pushing (or non-pushing) incident....

  5. Carolyn, good idea. I'll have to incorporate that story. All that working out, and I came up with nothin'. :)