My Worst Nightmare

The other night Richard and I attended a spectacular awards dinner for two-thousand people at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. There are so many cool things to report that I will save them for another blog post because I just have to tell you what happened as we were leaving.

Richard went to stand in the valet line to wait for our car. Since I knew it would take him a few minutes, I decided to use the loo.

Richard will tell you that I  always ask him to make sure I’m not “trailing” several yards of toilet paper from my pants after I leave a pubic restroom. Why? Because many years ago I saw my mother do it at the grocery store as she ran to greet a friend. I tried to keep up with her as the toilet paper unfurled behind her behind like an advertisement for Charmin being pulled by a plane along the shoreline of the beach.

I finally caught up to her and whispered in her ear that she needed to go back to the bathroom to remove the paper trail she was waving for all to see.

So, after I tinkled, I gathered my belongings and walked into the hallway where the other 1,999 people were when it suddenly occurred to me to do a paper trail check. I don’t know what compelled me to check, but I did. And, boy, was I ever glad I did. I wasn’t just trailing toilet paper; I was trailing an entire seat cover from the waistline of  my way cool, match-matchy pale green pantsuit. No one would have been able to see it because the jacket of the pantsuit was fairly long, but just knowing it was there was mortifying.

I realized that standing in the hallway as hundreds of people passed by with my hand down the back of my pants was not the fashion statement I had been going for, so I backed my way back into the loo. Unfortunately, the line of women waiting to use the three bathrooms was extremely long, so there wasn’t time for me to go to the back of the line to wait my turn.

So, I did what I had to do. In front of all of those other women I shoved my hand down my backside and started pulling out the toilet seat cover piece by piece until I was sure it had all been removed. Of course it had ripped into more pieces than I care to remember, so it took what seemed like the amount of time it would take to unroll a double-thick roll of Charmin.

I disposed of my paper trail, washed my hands, held my head up high and exited the bathroom hoping my next move wouldn’t involve me tripping over my own two feet head-first into a planter.

Luckily, I made it safely to the valet line, found Richard waiting in the garage for our car, and whispered what had happened. As he burst out laughing I dropped my purse, which I had been having trouble keeping closed all evening, and watched in horror as an entire bottle of  one-hundred Tylenol spewed out of my purse onto the garage floor. Three valets ran over to start picking up the Tylenol as if I had just left an unattended package at the airport. I bent down to help pick them up, one-by-one, fearing I was then going to be arrested and interrogated. I assured the valet Manager that I had not dropped hazardous waste or weapons of mass destruction, and, thankfully, he believed me — or so I thought.

After having made sure each and every Tylenol was present, accounted for, and properly disposed of, I held my head high, acting as if nothing embarrassing had just happened in either the bathroom or the garage. But then the valet Manager walked over and asked to see the ticket Richard was holding for our car and I began to get a little nervous. He motioned to one of the valets to get our car immediately, saying we had been waiting a long time, which we had.

But I think he just wanted to get rid of me because our car magically appeared within seconds. I began to wonder if there was a camera in the hallway that he happened to monitor on a screen in the valet station and had witnessed me walk into, out of, then suspiciously immediately back into, and then out of the loo. If that were the case, I’d want to get rid of me, too.

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