Tuesday, November 22, 2011

From Your Lips...

That’s it. There’s no question, anymore. I’m completely and totally unsuited for polite society. Maybe even Society, as a whole.

I simply don’t—can’t seem to—fit in comfortably with others. Oh, my family appears to be at ease in my company… as long as there are no strangers hanging about so that they have to ‘explain’ me. Take me off The F.A.R.M., though?

It’s not recommended.

I was in the State House last week. The Capitol. It’s one of the most majestic and impressive buildings in Maine. Marble floors and sweeping stairways. High ceilings and heavy wooden doors. Lining the walls are portraits of our past leaders and other influential individuals who played vital roles in our state’s history.

The Dome. The Chambers. The Governor’s Office. Definitely “Polite Society”.

I was there in Augusta to record a press conference in the Hall of Flags. Before ascending the stairs to set up my cameras, I used the ladies’ room just down the hall from the Security Officer’s desk.

Some of you may remember my initial encounter with automatically flushing toilets. Ever since that first episode in the Farmington Wal-Mart, I’ve had an aversion towards the things. I take it as a personal insult that the decision of when-to-flush has been taken from me. Who decided that I wasn’t capable of making that judgment all by myself? Who dares claim to be so ‘in tune’ to my washroom habits that they deem themselves a better judge than I?

Having the commode rush and roar without my permission irritates me, to no end—and usually jumps the stuffing out of me, as well.

A friend accompanied me to the washroom since she, too, had been in the car for an hour and a half. We each entered a stall. I have no idea how any other stalls were occupied. It’s never really mattered. After all, I go in… and I come out. Wash my hands, dry them, pick up my bag, and leave.

I stood up, cringing slightly as I waited to see whether the toilet was programmed to mind my business for me, or not.



I tried to button my pants. Yes, I said ‘tried’. They were brand-new gray wool slacks and they’d fit me that very morning when I put them on. Of course, at that time I’d stretched out across my bed to button them. I’d forgotten that small detail.

Apparently, I was going to have to exert some effort to make button meet hole. I sucked in my breath and grabbed each side of the waistband…and the toilet flushed! I turned around in surprise. Yes, it was my toilet. Wasn’t it triggered by weight? I’d presumed it was like a land-mine. Assumed that sitting on the seat depressed some activating mechanism…and then--when the weight was removed--it blew.

I scowled at the sparkling clean bowl. I didn’t have time for such foolishness. My friend was out, washed and ready to roll. I gulped in another lungful of air and pulled in my tummy…and the toilet did its gurgitation routine again!

Okay. This was embarrassing. Everyone in the ladies room had heard my toilet flush three times! Did they think I’d plugged it? That I was playing with it? Wasting water? What??

I gave a nervous giggle. I had to get out of there, but I couldn’t leave the stall unless and until I’d zipped and buttoned my pants! Could I? I contemplated the length of my sweater, and decided it was too risky. I had to do up that which had been undone.

I gave a mighty heave. The toilet accompanied my motions by giving a mighty—but resonant--roar. Followed by a rather pathetic gurgle. I chortled… just moments away from full-fledged panic. I sweated and tugged, and tugged once more. I wasn’t going to let that toilet—or my pants—get the best of me!

My friend snickered from over by the sinks.

“Four flushes, Karen!” Like I needed a narrator! Jeepers! “Everything all right in there?”

There are no limits to what a desperate woman can do when terror sets it. The button slipped into the hole, and the zipper was zipped. Breathless, I bent to lift my big carry-all off the tiled floor.

The toilet flushed. Idiot thing! Our tax dollars at work... I glowered at it and left the stall.

Linda grinned at me. She was enjoying herself way too much. I hoped that no one else was witness to my boneheadedness from the other bathroom stalls, but I wasn’t going to embarrass myself any further by waiting around to find out. I quickly washed and exited the restroom.

“REST”? Not hardly!

A couple of days later, I found myself in a business meeting with some friendly acquaintances. The restaurant where we were having the luncheon was somewhat classy, as was the company I was keeping. We strategized, made plans, set goals.

At one point, one of the gentlemen in my party said, “This time next year, we can do twice as much with half the effort!”

That sounded good to me! I said, “From your lips to my beard!”

Five people turned to look at me, which automatically caused my ears to hear what my mouth had just uttered.

What the hell???

“Wait!! I meant ‘From your lips to God’s ears!!’”

Oh, my God! Oh. My. God. What were they thinking of me? Why did those words come out of my mouth when that is NOT what I was thinking??

I don’t even have a beard! Not so’s you’d notice, anyway! Not in classy, ambient lighting!

Arrrghhh! Sometimes, I can’t bear having to lay claim to knowing myself.

But...lucky for me, it looks like this time next year—I’ll only have to enter polite society half as often.

Oh, my God.

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