Knowing most of my readers have drug and alcohol abuse problems, I realize most of you have already forgotten the valuable wisdom I've tried to impart to you in Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 of Lessons I've Learned, but that won't stop me from trying to educate you once again.
When I was in college, I did a brief and unglamourous stint in a kitchen store in the mall. This was one of those stores that sells whisks and crock pots and all that super weird stuff that people (I am told) make use of in kitchens when they do something I've heard referred to as "cooking." I'd expand on that term for the curious among you, but I don't know much about it except that it involves a long, complicated, somewhat acrobatic process of mixing and tossing and mashing different food items and so-called "seasonings," heating them to ridiculously hot temperatures, only to then allow them to cool enough to consume them. It's apparently an arduous process that results in big piles of dirty dishes, and usually the end result is a small amount of finished product, hardly worth all the sweat and aggravation and time. A silly pastime that's totally unnecessary, since everyone knows there are plenty of places to purchase food that's ready-to-eat without going through these strenuous kitchen acrobatics.
In spite of my confusion regarding the whole concept of cooking, I took this job because, well, beer and concert tickets aren't free. It was a crappy job because the owner of the store was a jackass, and because it was an ungodly boring environment. While the clothes and shoes stores in the mall were hopping with business, the kitchen store was as dead as Corey Feldman's career. There were always two employees per shift, and the two of us would just stand there, minute after minute, hour after hour, trying to invent reasons not to disembowel ourselves with a potato peeler before the end of our shift.
One of my coworkers there was a man in his late 60s, a very nice, very distinguished gentleman named Bob. A likeable fellow, proper and polite. Bob and I had little in common, and would do our best to scrape up some small talk between us, never really getting very far with it. But our coexistence was comfortable enough... at least until "the incident."
I was wearing a skirt and blazer one day, rather professional-looking attire, especially considering the head-pounding hangover I probably had. The shirt I had on under the blazer was one of those that kept a girl from having to fuss over making sure it stayed tucked in. It was a kind of bodysuit design, so that it snapped between the legs, sort of like a giant version of the onesie my infant son is wearing right now. Of course, I trust you to assume that it didn't look like a onesie. It looked like a regular shirt, and no one would suspect that it wasn't just your average tucked-in shirt. Here's a picture I found on the internet of the kind of shirt I'm referring to.
These things were popular at the time, though I don't know if people still wear them, and of course, in hindsight I don't understand why they were invented in the first place. Can it really be that there are scores of frustrated women out there having an incredibly hard time keeping their shirts tucked in? But it seemed like a good idea when I bought it, and back then there was certainly no harm in investing in new and innovative ways to keep my clothes from slipping off at odd times. I only ended up wearing it one time, and you're about to find out why.
There was a tiny little unisex bathroom back in the storeroom, which was located in the rear of the store, and the entire time I worked there, the lock on the bathroom door was broken. Industrious employees tried different methods of making it known when the bathroom was occupied, to include a sheet of paper taped to the door with "Occupied" scrawled on it. The problem with such methods is they're not very reliable. Over time people would get lazy and just leave the "occupied" sign on the door regardless of whether the restroom was occupied or not, which caused a "The Boy Who Cried Occupied" scenario. A person might see the sign, and then patiently wait for the occupant to finish his business, only to eventually reach the point of near bladder explosion before realizing that there was no one inside after all, and the sign had simply been left up from last time.
I would have been mortified to be caught peeing by anyone, but really, the chances of it happening were pretty slim. For one thing, I'm a speed pee-er. I hop on and hop off the potty like a Jack In The Box popping up, and the odds of someone invading during those few "on" seconds were slim to none. Plus, there were generally just two of us in the store, and a good employee would make sure, before slipping back to the stockroom, that the other employee was minding the store, and perhaps even give them a courteous heads up with a quick, "Um, hey, I'm gonna pee" warning. Apparently I forgot to do that on the day in question.
As was my custom, I finished my business quickly and then stood up to reassemble my clothing. Had it been a regular tuck-in shirt I was wearing, I would have first repositioned my skirt up to its proper spot on my hips, and then proceeded to tuck my shirt in, and that's how I would have been found when my elderly gentleman coworker walked in on me: Fully dressed with my hands dipping demurely into the waistband of my skirt. He would have blushed and said "Oh! Excuse me," and closed the door, and I would have finished up, and sailed out of the restroom gaily, reassuring him that no harm was done.
Instead, I had the snap-crotch onesie to contend with. Therefore, upon standing up after finishing my business, I had to hike my skirt all the way up around my waist, leaving my pantyhose still pulled down just above my knees, while I hunched forward and struggled with the crotch snaps. There were three, and I got them snapped, but then two came instantly unsnapped, thanks to the sloppy work ethic of the 9-year old Cambodian sweat shop employee who engineered my blouse. I remained hunched over, hands buried in crotch, pantyhose around the knees and skirt up around the waist, when Bob opened the door and took a step into the restroom. Our eyes locked, and looks of mutual horror were briefly exchanged before Bob fled like O.J Simpson, minus the white Ford Bronco.
Here was my dilemma. No way would a 60-some year old guy know about ladies' shirts with crotch snaps. The only conclusion he could draw from what he had just witnessed was that I had been doing something involving a tampon. The only thing I could imagine that was more embarrassing than being caught mid-pee was being caught mid-tampon retrieval. I had to explain to him that I had merely been innocently buttoning my shirt up, not, I repeat NOT engaging in any type of tampon placement or tampon removal.
When I came out of the bathroom, I tried to explain to the embarrassed Bob that my shirt had snaps at the crotch, some new-fangled invention, you see, and that's why my hands were busily rummaging around in my nether regions, but Bob would have none of it. He shushed me and waved me off with an embarrassed "No explanation necessary" attitude and scuttled away like a frightened squirrel, unaware of how desperately important it was to me to explain why my hands had been ferreting around in my naughties.
The lesson? Whatever the reason you have for engaging in any kind of crotch exploration, for the love of God, make sure you only do it behind a locked door.
Unless, of course, you work for tips, or there's a webcam involved.