My greatest fear on earth is someone walking in on me in the bathroom. Unless I am in a building entirely alone, I will do everything within my power to create a barricade between my call of nature and the outside world.
Which is how I found myself freaking out because I didn’t want the former Prime Minister of Ireland to see me pee.
One would think I made up these scenarios. And much to my horror, one would be wrong.
My lovely friends Richard and Barbara are always throwing little soirees for diplomats. I think its part of some deal where they get fancy license plates. Anyway, I wormed my way into a small cocktail party held on Friday night in a beautiful home in Pacific Heights. We were apparently honoring John Bruton, the European Ambassador to the United States and the former Prime Minister (or Taoiseach) of Ireland and they had valet parking. Neat, huh?
I showed up and proudly handed the valet Rhonda the Honda, making my way inside where I was immediately approached by the man with a tray of wine glasses, half of which were filled with what looked like an oakey Chardonnay and the other half clearly containing Perrier. Much live a vegan relieved to spot tofu on a menu, I grabbed a glass of Perrier and Euro-kissed Barbara hello. Barbara’s terrific because she immediately points out everyone in the room who’s kinda interesting. “See that man over there talking to Richard? He’s the Consul General of Barbados.”
Ah yes. Of course. I can’t believe I haven’t run into him at Martunis.
Soon after, my father and “uncle” Greg arrived, but I was off and running, too busy chatting up new friends to hang with those old farts. My dad was himself busy discussing the passed oysters with the caterer.
“I just read a book on oysters…from the perspective of the oyster!”
The more Moet dad and Greg enjoyed, the more Perrier I had, and I was blowing through my bubbly faster than they were theirs. Thus, I excused myself in search of the ladies room. However due to my intense, pre-existing fear, I couldn’t use the main bathroom downstairs everyone was else was using. The odds of someone throwing the door open and exposing the image of my pantyhose around my ankles or my nose snooping through our hosts’ toiletries were too great. I headed upstairs and found what I deemed a guest bathroom.
I locked the door and just for added measure, placed my handbag against it, like the weight of my junk might halt an entire door from opening before I could scream the humiliating, “Someone’s in here!”
I probably waited 5 minutes before actually peeing, double checking the lock and listening for voices in the hallway. I was wasting precious minutes of privacy but really, you can never be too sure. It then occurred to me that the longer I futzed around in the bathroom, the greater the chance of more embarrassing things happening to me. What if I broke the door lock with my constant testing of its limits? What if the person who’d used the bathroom before me had somehow managed to invisibly block the toilet and the next one to flush it (me!) would be apologizing over her attempts to assure her hosts that she was merely flushing a tissue with which she blotted her lipstick.
Likely story, they’d think. “I heard that one back when I was Prime Minister of Ireland.” “Yeah, me too. That ruse’s big with the tourists in Barbados.”
The whole 2 hour cocktail party would be snickering at the young woman who managed to simultaneously clog the toilet and break the door. Everyone would wonder who the hell let me in and Barbara would have to pick invisible lint from her suit and lie, “Beats me. Never set eyes on her before in my life.” Even my beloved father would abandon me, departing the premises before anyone could trace his family tree to the guest sneaking 5 rolls of paper towels and 409 from the pantry.
So what did I do?
I held it.
Yeah, I held like, 4 big bottles of Perrier. And as I returned to the party, I hear my father announce with great flair and formality, “Ambassador, may I introduce my daughter, Elizabeth.”
I don’t need to paint a picture of this scene. It’s already been captured in the movie, Forrest Gump…