We all have those instances in which we know exactly what’s the right thing to do yet consciously ignore our better judgment. For some, that’s watching a YouTube series comparing food at three different price points from “the perspective of everyday normal people” instead of reading the book for a book report due in less than 24 hours. For others, that’s downing several glasses of water in succession at your one-on-one meeting because there’s nothing on the table and you need to distract yourself from having to pee.
If the water drinking compulsion doesn’t make much sense to you, congratulations and stop rubbing it in. My inability to control the temptation to eat or drink whatever’s in front of me regardless of how full I am is already punishment enough. On several occasions, I’ve eaten a day’s worth of packed meals in one sitting because I couldn’t stand staring at my lunchbox in front of me during class.
During my one-on-one, the lady across from me would rattle off advice in lengthy chunks of monologue. There never seemed to be the right time to excuse myself to the bathroom. The meeting was nearly over, so I figured I could wait it out. Trying not to think about how badly I had to pee naturally made me think more about having to pee. I crossed my legs tightly and went into autopilot, my fingers somehow transcribing the words she was saying without my brain processing any of it. My arm reached out for the glass and mechanically tilted its contents into my mouth. My stomach ballooned with the unneeded water.
Then, finally, we concluded the meeting and parted ways. I had about an hour before my team would carpool to a mentor visit, so I wandered onto campus toward the Union, a university community center with study lounges, a food court, and, by God, bathrooms with no lines.
I walked into a random third-floor side entrance and a miracle. I’m rarely ever in the Union because I never make good use of idle blocks of time, but I’d somehow found my way to bathrooms less than twenty feet ahead of me. I shoved open the first door.
The space was a lot larger than I’d expected; I stepped into what I presume was an empty square waiting space purgatory and had to turn a corner toward the stalls. And then I realized I was in the wrong place.
Visual cues that contributed to this revelation
- The bathroom wasn’t crowded.
- I saw a guy.
- There was a line of urinals.
- That guy was peeing.
I made frightened eye contact with myself in the mirror. The guy was facing away from me, so I could’ve booked it. Instead, I stood there for a long second and let out a choked “oh, no.”
Or at least, that’s what I meant to say. What actually happened was I said “oh,” just standing there, and as he turned, I recovered my senses and started speedwalking away while still saying “no.”
I ran into the women’s restroom and stayed there until I felt safe again. And then I walked to meet my team and recount my traumatic experience, which, although perhaps common across lifetimes, really shouldn’t occur to someone over the age of ten.
Teammate 1: You just stood there?
Teammate 2: Did you see a pee-pee?
I screamed into my hands.
Yeah, regarding the title, not that I should’ve in the first place or would want to ever again, anyway.
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