Humiliation: It’s a Good Thing

VP and I often talk about how small choices in our lives might have made a difference, to the point where if a certain thing happened, or didn’t happen, maybe we would never have met. Neither one of us got terrific grades, for example. What if one of us had studied harder? Or at all? Ahem. We likely would have gone to different colleges, and ended up somewhere different after college. Therefore we wouldn’t have met, and our children would be completely different people!  One of our kids could be Honey Boo Boo! Okay, maybe not her. But anyhow, mind-boggling, isn’t it?

The point is, cliché as it seems, everything happens for a reason. So even those embarrassing, humiliating moments, the ones that make you want to crawl into a hole and never come out? Sometimes those can lead to a better place, the place you are actually supposed to be.

One of these moments for me came in my twenties. It was a cold, foggy night in Nantucket Massachusetts. It was mid-April, and I was visiting the island with my then-roommate, whose mother lived there. On that damp, chilly night a lot of younger people on the island were crowded into a few of the bars/restaurants that were open in the off- season.

So we were ensconced in a cozy, but crowded tavern, enjoying the warmth and some lovely cocktails and appetizers, when I noticed a really nice- looking guy across the way.  Handsome, preppy (just my type) with dark, wavy hair. In my memory, he looked kind of like James Marsden, except not so, you know, Marsden-ey. I looked at him. He looked at me. We continued to sneak glances at each other. Oooh, now the weekend was starting to look up. Freezing cold, rainy weekend? Thumbs down. Cute guy? Thumbs up.

After a while, I started getting a bit sniffly because of the warmth in the bar, and found myself in need of a Kleenex. I didn’t have one on me, so I headed for the one bathroom in the place. It was one of those unisex bathrooms, I should mention.

When I got to the door, it was locked. Someone was in there. So I waited. And waited. Suddenly I sensed someone standing behind me, so I glanced, and, Oh my! It was Cute James Marsden-ey Guy, behind me in line. Now, I glanced at him, maybe gave him a slight smile, but couldn’t really engage in conversation because a) we were in line for a bathroom, and isn’t there some kind of a social code against that?  And b) by now I was pretty sure my nose was running visibly. And I’m pretty sure that wiping your nose on your sleeve after introducing yourself is some sort of a romantic deal breaker.

So as we waited, the door in front of us remained closed, and we exchanged a few “Can you believe this? WTF is taking so long?” glances between us (During which time I may or may not have been inwardly chuckling over the funny story we would someday tell our children about how we met). You know how, in your twenties, you have a whole sixth sense devoted to chemistry regarding the opposite sex?  There was definitely a vibe there. That’s all I’m sayin’.

Finally, the door opened. A young woman scurried out, her head down. I walked into the single bathroom. Closed the door. Reached for a few squares of TP to perform necessary nasal maintenance. And then… horror.

The person before me had apparently backed up the toilet. Not only had she backed it up, she had left… no polite way to put this… floaters.

Suddenly it became clear to me why she was in the bathroom so long. It also became clear to me that Cute Guy, who was, may I remind you, right behind me in line, would have no reason to think this excrementory nightmare wasn’t left behind by me.

I made a feeble attempt to flush, but the flusher thing was broken. Of course.

There was no way out. There was no way to explain. By now, I had, unfortunately, been in there for a couple of minutes. Poor planning, yes. Was I going to burst out of the bathroom, pointing and screeching, “It’s not mine!”?  I came to the sinking realization that there would be no “meet cute” moment, not on this night, as I, too, scurried out of the bathroom with my head down.

And no, there were no more surreptitious glances across the bar, as nothing kills a budding romance like thinking you have just seen a toiletful of someone else’s dookie.

So, to one unfortunate young lady who happened to be having a really bad night, in the end I have to say thanks.

To my loving husband, who I met just 6 months later, yes, everything happens for a reason, and even the little moments make a difference. There’s a song I love with the line that goes God bless the broken road that led me straight to you. I would like to add to that, God bless the broken toilet.

Happy thirteen years, Honey. It was meant to be. I wouldn’t change a thing.