I was 18 when I landed a summer job as a waitress at a swanky, nautical-themed restaurant. The only problem was it was out on the edge of town. With 4 teenage drivers in the house I often had to ride my bike to work. On that fateful day I had been having a little trouble “going”, if you know what I mean, so I took ½ of a little square of Ex-Lax. ½ a square, mind you.
I was in the dining room, taking an order from a nice, older couple. I had just got the drink orders (martini; dry with a twist and an old fashioned; extra cherries) and was recommending the filet mignon when it happened. The Ex-Lax kicked in without my prior knowledge or consent. Right down my legs.
I froze, just for a second. Then I dropped my pad and pen on the table and sprinted for the bathroom. The squalid hellhole of a bathroom that the employees were allowed to use was through the kitchen, clear on the other side of the place. We were strictly forbidden to use the customer washroom, but at this point I needed the nearest port in the poop storm. I dashed in there and bolted the door.
A few minutes later my tough old boss, Gail, was banging on the door. By this time the immediate crisis had passed and I was desperately trying to wash my pants in the sink. Thank God the jaunty, nautical uniform we had to wear was navy blue on the bottom and white on the top and not the other way around. “I’m sorry, but I’m sick!” I wailed through the door.
Eventually I had to leave the bathroom. Since this was the pre-cell phone era, I had to go back through the lobby, through the dining room and into the kitchen to use the phone. I’ve blocked most details of the Bataan Poop March from my memory, but I suppose the patrons dining experience was not enhanced by the breeze kicked up as I passed by. This WOULD be a day I rode my bike, so I had to call home for someone to pick me up. Riding a bike in my condition did not seem advisable.
Dad showed up in the old, green station wagon. He’d brought along my 15-year-old brother Pat, nominally to help with the bike, but I suspect he volunteered so he could bear witness to my shame.
My brother kept up a running commentary (who could blame him?) as they loaded my bike into the car. He would insist he exercised admirable restraint. The cherry on top of my misery sundae came when Dad suggested I sit in the back. He had the whole bench seat covered with industrial-strength, black garbage bags.
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