Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Bathroom Blues

Can you tell what that picture is? Well, if I could have taken a picture of myself the first day of junior high, that is what you would have seen.

That is a person inside a bathroom stall.

Why am I posting a pic of a person in a bathroom stall, you ask?

The comments in my last post were so surprising and really quite unexpected. I displayed a little ad I received in the mail about menopause, wrote a humorous little ditty to go along with it, and lo and behold people had many memories stirred from childhood.

But one of the themes that seemed to run through many of the comments was that of embarrassment.

So it got me to thinking...back to my most embarrassing moment from girlhood.

So, here it is.

The first day of junior high, which was 7th grade, was a scary one. I was not quite 12 (my visitor hadn't even arrived yet), and there I was, starting this all important day in my life.

I woke up, put on a dress, (yes, in those days, girls actually had to wear a dress to school. It was not until 9th grade that we were allowed to have "pants day"...that's right, one day in the whole school year to wear pants. Oh, just one more aside: we weren't allowed to wear patent leather shoes because a boy could look in the shoes, and see your underwear...Holy Crap).

I went to all my new classes, scared but excited at the same time. The day went pretty well, as well as a day can go in a new school.

Everything in my life was different at this point. Since my dad's death a year and a half earlier, my mom had gone back to work part-time, and wasn't going to be home after school, like she had always been before. But, I was almost 12, and very mature (or so I thought) this wasn't going to be a problem.

I had arranged to meet a friend after school by a certain post. But as nature often does, it called to me at the end of the day. So before meeting my friend, I figured I would go use the bathroom.

So off I went. I found a bathroom and went in. A few girls were in there when I entered. I went into the stall to do my "business".

While sitting in the stall, recounting the not-so-bad events of my first day in junior high, I realized that it had grown very quiet. No big deal...all the other girls had left the premises.

Suddenly, I heard a man's voice shouting, "Is anyone in there?" "Is anyone still in here?"

Now, for some unexplicable reason, I had decided in my head, that the man's voice was not directed at me, let alone to anyone in this particular bathroom. I still ask myself why I thought that...but still don't know the answer.

So...since the man's question, in my mind, wasn't for me...I continued to sit...and not rush to finish my delicate business.

But while I sat, I heard a strange noise...kind of like a lock turning...well, NOT KIND WAS a lock turning!!!

That man was the janitor, and he was making sure the bathroom was empty so he could lock it for the night.

You've never seen anyone finish their delicate business so quickly, jump up, (sorry, no time to wash hands) and run to the door.

And I began BANGING on that door. As hard as my little almost 12 year old body would allow. It seemed like my heart was pounding louder than I was banging on the door.

How could this be? Why didn't I know he was talking to ME? Was I destined to spend my first night of junior high in the girl's bathroom? Would I have to eat toilet paper for dinner and breakfast? What was to become of me?

Well, here is what became of me. After what seemed like an eternity (maybe 5 minutes), the janitor came back and unlocked the door.


But here was the embarrassing part...when the door opened...there stood the "popular" girls. One of them had heard the pounding and found the janitor.

But they stood there. And laughed. And giggled. And made faces. All as if to say...LOSER!!!
(and that wasn't even an expression in those days).

What luck. There is something about me and toilets.

I walked out of that bathroom, humiliated and downright embarrassed. I tried not to look at them...and just kept walking...head not so held high.

I found my friend, who was waiting by the post we had decided on earlier that day. We walked home.

I entered an empty house. I called my mom. Upon hearing her voice, I remember breaking down in tears. The day had just ended so wrong.

But maybe it's moments like those, that eventually lead to strength. Because without moments like those, it's hard to imagine ever learning to live through life's tough little moments. It's hard to imagine ever learning to laugh at one's self.

As you can probably imagine...that's one thing (besides finding my way to toilets) thatI'm pretty good at.


Stacey said...

My goodness, I can just see you standing there terrified, banging on the door. How awful!!! You poor thing! What a way to start the year.

Isn't it wonderful to know that we can usually look back and laugh?

Regina Clare Jane said...

Wow- I am traumatized just hearing about it! I so feel for you, cm! Did you find yourself having any bathroom issues as you got older?

Ezer K'negdo said...

What a way to start the year! So sorry!!

Glad you can laugh - I would proabably still be mortified!!

The Steve Martin special was excellent, btw.

Sweettooth120 said...

Thank goodness if wasn't anything worse. When you mentioned the other girls in the bathroom, I thought something threatening was about to happen.

Though, I can honestly say that I haven't been locked behind in a girls bathroom, I did have something like that happen to me. I was in a department store last year, trying on lots of clothes, and the overhead speakers weren't working very well and I never wear a watch nor did I have my phone with me. I had no idea what time it was or what was being said. I was totally absorbed in the moment of trying on clothes. I walked out of the dressing room to a very dimly lit and deserted department store. It was really freaky, but I kept my cool and desperately tried to locate someone, anyone, which I finally did, on the floor below.

I was so surprised how easily that happened and that noone even checked the dressing rooms. All I could think of was that I would have to call the police to let me out.

torontopearl said...

WOW...such a story -- sorry it happened to you.
I had 2 get-locked-in-the-bathroom episodes: the first when I was about 5 years old; my great-aunt was babysitting me in her home, and yes, somehow I got locked in her pink bathroom. Her sons tried and tried to get the door unlocked and finally it happened. I think I cried...
When I was about 12, I was flying to Switzerland with my mom and went to the bathroom. When it was time to get out, I couldn't. I tried the door several times and then looked in the mirror in panic -- you know, I think it was ME who invented that 'Home Alone' look; open mouthed, panic on face -- and wondered what to do. I saw the "call steward" button, but it wasn't an intercom system, so I wondered if they'd know what to do, ie. what my problem was. Soon I heard noises on the other side of the door, but I don't recall anyone asking me what was wrong. I heard jiggling of the handle and noises for a few minutes, and suddenly it opened. There was a steward crouched on his knees with a small tool chest and a screwdriver in hand. I was just a bit in shock over the episode, and couldn't say anything more than "I was locked in there!" (duh!)When I got back to my seat and told my mother I'd been locked in, she said she'd already wondered how long I was taking and was planning to come and check on me at the back of the plane.
Okay, those are my stories. Spotlight back to you, Randi.

cruisin-mom said...

Stacey: thank God for the ability to laugh

RCJ: no bathroom issues...I love toilets!

E.K.: Time and distance helps with being able to laugh. (Love Steve!)

S.T.: I would love to get locked in a dept. store...ever read the book Courdaroy?

T.P. kids getting locked in home bathrooms seems to be more common than not.
Oy, your story on the airplane...I think that would have freaked me out.

Wendy said...

How awful! No wonder you remember it! And those girls laughing. Yikes.

In high school, I dated a boy from a prep school & one of his classmates was the famous tennis player Pam Shriver. She had a big party on her "estate" (the biggest, fanciest, oldest home I'd ever seen!) and I got stuck in the bathroom. The door caught or something. And pitifully, I was so embarrased, I knocked gently on the door hoping for help, but not wanting attention. It was 1/2 hour before someone tried opening it - just so she could use it - and found me. Arghhh!

cruisin-mom said...

Wendy: Oh my God...that tops my story...a 1/2 hour? poor thing!

Mia said...

I would have been terrified! Did they turn off the lights also??? I am so claustrophobic that this thought is enough to terrify me...

Can you laugh about it now? Not sure I could...

Ezer K'negdo said...

Does anybody remember the book The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler? Dont know if I spelled her name correctly, but it is about 2 kids who get locked in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC. One of my all-time favorite books!!

cruisin-mom said...

Mia: You know, it's funny, now that you bring it up, I think the lights were turned off...may have been some daylight streaming in though...cause I don't remember being completely in the dark. And, yes, now I laugh about it!

E.K.: the name is familiar..never read it...sounds like every kid's get locked in somewhere fun...certainly not a BATHROOM!!!

Wendy said...

Cruisin - At least I knew I wouldn't be locked at school overnight! Terrifying!

Head over heel said...

Scary situation you found yourself in - my heart just beated faster when I read your story. Public toilets - I hate them and whenever possible try to avoid them.

cruisin-mom said...

Wendy: LOL...true, nothing could be scarier to a kid.

HOH: You'd think I'd have a fear of them...but, I don't!

kasamba said...

What a thing to have to go through! Thank G-d you don't have issues about it!
BTW, I have walked out of the bathroom numerous times with my skirt stuck in my tights!

cruisin-mom said...

kasamba: Welcome! that's so funny...I guess it's better than dragging toilet paper on your shoe!
(went to your blog, you are hysterical)