I’m gonna hog the mic this week to get a personal story off my chest. I’d appreciate the same support and respect I give you guys every week as I re-live the events.
This one goes back to my senior year of college. Best 2 years of my life. It’s 9:00PM on a Sunday and I just got done working on a group project about the Holocaust with co-classmates all day. Sunday scaries in full force. As I’m walking towards the train to go home, I get the warning gurgle and suddenly have to stop everything I’m doing. The worst. Like getting a call from work. There’s a Panera Bread bathroom 2 blocks away that I bury every morning after my coffee, so I power-walk on over towards it.
Upon my arrival I see Panera Bread Mgt. turning off the Open sign. Closed? It’s only 9 I thought, there’s still bread to be bought. But then I remembered it was Sunday. A day where some businesses decide to close early for a God they don’t worship. I scan the block and one by one my other options’ lights start turning off. Library, closed. East West University admissions office, closed. Dunkin’ Donuts, “no bathroom.” I’m not gulping just yet though, I’m in downtown Chicago with an array of public shitter options. Not great options, but options. 5 minutes remaining in the grace period.
While I’m making my way down the wrong side of Madison St., I sneeze out of nowhere and nearly explode. I’ve never sneezed while simultaneously clenching so I didn’t realize I would automatically un-clench, but that’s what happened and luckily God was on our side for it. However, my sneezes travel in pairs so we’re not in the clear yet. I start saying “watermelon”—an old trick used to get rid of sneezes that this kid named Byron who used to go to the pool I worked at told me about—before sneeze #2 enters the arena. Didn’t work but still managed to come out unscathed through the aftershock. 4 minutes remaining in the grace period, still not a toilet in sight.
Another 2 minutes go by of searching high and low and I still can’t find a bathroom in downtown Chicago. Preposterous. Surely enough panic starts to set in and shortly after come the sweats – the 2 minute warning signal. Wow. Am I really gonna have to shit outside right now?
Potential Witnesses: Everyone going south on Dearborn, 2 guys smoking cigarettes walking in my direction.
Pants situation: Jeans, replaceable.
Current form of transit: Walking. I could hail a cab if I had to but, and we’ve been over this before, it’s better to not get other people involved.
Nearest restroom: All of a sudden the 2 guys smoking cigarettes walk into a place about a block ahead of me with a neon sign in its window. A bar. That’s what we like to call a bathroom by law. LFG.
I’m pacing towards this bar, breathing through the contractions, then the unexpected happens. I feel a third sneeze brewing. If I sneeze right now I’ll shit my pants no questions asked. I can already tell it’s gonna be a big Ah..Ahh..Achoo production too. I clench for my life—Ah..ahh..WATERMELON…Ah..ahh…FUCKIN WATERMELON. I did it. Sneeze: averted. Shout out: Byron. No time for a victory dance though, we still need to make it in the end zone. 1 minute of grace remains.
I slam the bar door open and see a men’s sign in the flesh with a Sunday Funday crowd on their last leg that I have to make it past first. ‘Scuse me. Pardon Me. Fucking move. I can see from a distance that the bathroom door has a doorknob. This is often a sign of a single-person restroom. If someone’s in there I’m gonna have to give them a warning knock every 10 seconds until they come out. Emergency protocol. 30 seconds on the clock.
As I’m reaching for the door I feel a hand on my shoulder. It’s the bouncer asking for my I.D. I’m 23 so I shouldn’t be nervous, but I’m also a second away from a shart sneaking past security so I am. I give it to him and he looks back and forth from my ID picture to my face THREE times–fairly identical images mind you—just toying with my fate. I tell him to hurry or the busboy is gonna be home late tonight and he returns it with 0 seconds in the grace period left. We are now in Operation: prairie dog.
I turn the door knob and by the good of all that is holy it’s unlocked. I was so relieved I almost accidentally released right there. I jump on the toilet in the knick of a time and do what I came here to do. I see there’s only about 10 inches of TP available but we’ll cross that bridge when it’s time. Mission successful, but a close one as always.
I walk out of the bathroom after, look at the bar’s specials board as if I was about to buy something (pro move), then leave and trek it 4 blocks back to my train stop to go home. Another day in the life. Until tomorrow IBS.
Do you or a loved one have a story about taking a poo in their pants or almost taking a poo in their pants? Send in your IBS diaries to firstname.lastname@example.org.