[about the author]
i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish,
i work crossword puzzles in ink.
i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie
izzard. can't decide, really.
i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really
i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.
i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.
i never play dumb. never.
i am way too hard on myself.
i am a change agent.
i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.
i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.
i am militantly pro-choice.
i am pro-adoption.
i know a little bit about alot of things.
i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.
i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it.
i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.
i have been known to hold a grudge.
i have hips.
i am not my sister.
i am lousy at forgiving myself.
i am an indoor kind of gal.
i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.
i am 32 flavors. and then some.
tupperware products feature a unique, virtually airtight seal and are ideally suited to protect food from the drying air of refrigerators. and, also, you can pee in them.
when you’re one of the guys, a lot of your hey-it’s-been-a-long-time-since-we’ve-gotten-together get-togethers take place at sporting events. luckily, i’m a sucker for sporting events, especially those involving some sort of tailgating activity. actually, that might have something to do with how i ended up being one-of-the-guys in the first place.
i was going to the wvu-navy game with t and j, two of my oldest friends. we’ve known each other since we were twelve, and they’re the brothers i never had. and i was their inside track to the complicated workings of the female mind. over the years, i can’t count the number of conversations we had that started out with this:
“jules, let me ask something. if you were a girl…”
those words hold a special place in my heart. “if you were a girl.” it’s the most interesting mix of flattery and outright insult.
so, there we are at ass-crack o’clock in the morning, drinking any and every alcohol/fruit juice mixture we can concoct. we’re waiting to meet up with our friend, d and his then-girlfriend-now-wife-forever-satan's-minion, e. and, they’re late. very late. of course, when you’ve set up a full-service bar on the trunk of the car and are amusing yourself by trying to decide who has the ugliest feet, you don’t really notice just how late they are, or just how long you’ve been drinking.
when they finally arrive, we learn that there was a crisis that morning that prevented them from arriving on time: e needed a latte and they couldn’t find a starbucks nearby. now, i do not know how it is possible that there was not a starbucks nearby. it seems too impossible to believe. and, yet, they claimed it was true.
so, we’re late and the game traffic is shit.
i’m amusing myself in the back seat of the car by playing bartender for t and me. meanwhile, j is bitching because he’s still sober since he’s driving. he’s also bitching because we’re in bumper-to-bumper traffic and there’s no way we’re going to make the opening kick.
suddenly, i have a realization of staggering implications.
“what’s up, jules?”
“i think we have a problem.”
“um. i have to pee.”
there wasn’t an exit in sight. no camouflaging trees by the side of the road. only tail lights and those little window-mounted flag things as far as the eye could see.
clearly, i was in big trouble.
and, as is always the case, the knowledge that there was absolutely no hope of me being able to pee any time in the foreseeable future made me have to do so all the more.
“oh, this is very bad.”
“just go by the side of the road.”
“dude, you guys know i am actually a girl, right? i mean, i know that i’m one-of-the-guys and all that, but, seriously, you are aware of the fact that i am, genetically speaking a chick, right? you want me to just bare my ass right there on the shoulder of the inter-fucking-state? and, let’s pretend for a split second that i might actually entertain the idea of baring my ass here in front of about 300 drunk guys who are all going to the same place i am…what the hell am i supposed to use for toilet paper?”
“okay. well, then, you can’t pee.”
“that is not an acceptable answer. and, at some point very soon, it is not going to be a physical possibility.”
“man, all this talk about having to pee has made me have to pee. hold my beer.”
and t gets out of the car, walks over to the side of the interstate, turning his back to traffic and takes a piss right there. mocking me. and my bladder.
“man…i feel better.”
“you suck raw ass.”
i’m pissed now. not just because t has mocked me by taking a whiz on the side of the road, but because this never should have happened. never.
i never have to pee. one of my former boyfriends – the one i used to take the long road trips with – used to brag to his friends about my amazing never-having-to-pee capabilities.
“dude, jules can go from here to atlanta without a pit stop. that’s eight hours of straight roadtripping with nothing but drive-thrus.”
“seriously. i usually have to pit before she does.”
“unbelievable. man, you’re one lucky guy.”
it always amazed me how impressed guys were by that. they would ask me question after question, as though there was some sort of trick they could pass on to their wives and girlfriends. as if i had gone through some sort of rigorous training to condition myself.
and, if i were to tell the truth, i guess i actually had gone through years of training.
i went to the oldest elementary school known to man. it was scary as hell, an old brick fortress perched on top of a hill. huge gnarled trees surrounded the building, and 178 steps led up to the front doors, which creaked and groaned when the wind blew too hard.
the kindergarten through third-grade classes had bathrooms in their classrooms. but, after third grade, you had to use the bathrooms that were in the basement. the dark, dank basement. it was 47 steps down to the bottom, where steam pipes hissed and clanked as they ran in endless mazes across the ceiling. there was always water dripping somewhere, and every once in a while, you were just sure you could hear the skittish scraping of something running across the concrete floor.
at the top of the 47 steps was a heavy wooden door.
and a light switch.
i was new to the fourth-grade class. i had skipped over third-grade, and the fourth graders were suspicious of me.
i could hear their whispers.
“she’s some sort of freaky genius.”
“she thinks she’s smarter than us.”
“i think she’s puerto rican”
about two weeks later, i was going down the stairs to the bathroom.
and out went the lights.
and i heard the door slam.
i was locked down there for what seemed like an hour. it was so dark i couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. but i could hear things. scurrying things. scratching things. i was so disoriented i wasn’t even sure which was the stairs were.
eventually, the teacher came to find me. but, by then my mind was made up: i would never step foot in that bathroom again.
and i didn’t.
so, you can see how baffling it was to me that i had gotten myself into such a predicament right there in the back of j’s car.
how could my bladder have betrayed me this way?
“j, what’s this?”
“this,” i asked, holding up a plastic bag that was lying in the floor.
“it’s my tupperware bowl that i took my lunch to work in yesterday.”
there was nothing but the sound of the pre-game show on the radio.
“neither one of you had better ever tell anyone about this. ever. and, just so you know, i can see both of you in the rear view mirror. you both better look straight ahead. if i catch either one of you even glancing back here, i’m gonna hit you upside the back of your head with this bottle of vodka.”
“that’s my good tupperware bowl.”
“holy shit, j, i’m about to die back here! my bladder is going to burst and i’m going to die. right here in your car. and then, nobody’s gonna see a football game today, my friend.”
“it’s just that my mom gave it to me. what am i going to tell her when she comes over and doesn’t see it?”
“tell her you saved a woman’s life.”
all those years of practice. all those years of self-control. and now. now, it had come to this. peeing into a tupperware bowl in the back seat of a car surrounded on all sides by drunken football fans with painted windows.
on second thought, maybe that one-of-the-guys thing has less to do with my enthusiasm for sporting events than i initially thought.
| [tell me about it] | [link to this entry]