Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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Shit Happens

What I'm about to tell you could drastically alter your opinion of me. What I mean is you may never again be able to view me in the same light as you do now, before you've read this. Which could be a good thing, I don't know what kind of light you were using to see me in the first place. I'll tell you you this though; if it was warm, glowy candlelight the story I'm about to tell you will shine huge, fluorescent kliegs right on my blackheads. I probably shouldn't share it but it is, above all other things, funny. Humiliating, check. Disgusting, yes that too. But, my God, it's funny and seeing the humor in the situation as it was happening made all the difference.

At ten o'clock this morning I punched his name on my phone and waited for Serge to answer.
"You busy?"
"Kinda yeah. I'm painting."
"I have to tell you something."
"I probably shouldn't tell you."
"It could change how you feel about me."
"What happened?"
I pause, take a deep breath. "I just shit myself."
"At the dog park. I just shit myself."

Wait. Let me go back to the beginning.

I've had a pretty intense case of, oh, shall we say, intestinal distress for the past week. I know, TMI. But if that's too much information for you than trust me, you should go elsewhere immediately. This is not ideal reading material for you.

Today, as we do every day, Violet and I saddled up in her stroller and strapped our Max and Milo to the sides. We traipse down the street, some bizarre version of a chariot straight from the set of Ben Hurr. Our destination is the local dog park about two miles away. It's a giant stretch of fenced-in lawn and wood chips where the fellas can roam free, sniff ass and slurp down water before we begin our return trip.

Everything was going as it usually does, which is to say we had made it to the park without any kind of crisis. Violet was happily chirping at nothing, Max and Milo were importantly marking their territory; benches, torn up frisbees and the like. That's when it happened.


That there is the sound of percolating innards. My percolating innards. Now this was no red alarmer. I'd put it at about a five of ten on the scale of get-thee-to-a-restroom-immediately! But it did give me cause to case the joint for the nearest restroom. Just to know it was there should I need to avail myself of the facilities as my innards were politely insinuating.

The dog park sits on the edge of a baseball field. There's a block of squat, red brick buildings on the corner of the lot that I could only assume house the necessary facilities. I mentally clocked it at about a five minute walk from the bench on which I sat. I wasn't actually inspired to head to the restrooms, just note their proximity. I hoped the uncomfortable feeling would go away as it often does.

The morning progressed, they always do, you know, whether you like it or not. I sat with my daughter watching our dogs, oblivious to the horror that was but ten minutes into my future. Vampire Weekend's Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa had just kicked in on my iPod when it happened.

BLUP BLUP BLUP BLUP BLUP BLUP. BLUP! Someone had switched the ol' percolator to high. I knew immediately, as one generally does, that this was no false alarmer.
"MAX! MILO! LET'S GO!" I stood up and started maneuvering the stroller toward the gate. Max and Milo, God love 'em, came to me right away. By now I've realized there is no time to leash the boys up, I just need to make for the restroom.


Think of all the close calls you've had. During the worst of it your mind has to begin contemplating the What Ifs. What if I don't make it? What if I just piss myself here in the car? As the situation worsens the mind slowly opens to accept those possibilities and begins justification. So what if I piss myself here in the car? I can wash it. Maybe I have to puke here in the back seat of my friend's car, but I'm really fucking drunk! We've all been there but generally we all come out the other side relatively unscathed, aside from perhaps a sore bladder or a slightly bruised ego. Maybe some of us haven't come out the other side unscathed but it isn't exactly the kind of incident one broadcasts unless it involves some manly one-upmanship involving stories of the drunk variety.

I'm fast-walking, stiff-legged, shoulders up around my ears, clenching the handle of the stroller so tight it looks as if my knuckle bones may tear through the skin at any time. All of this to the Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa, perhaps the happiest soundtrack EVER to accompany the possible messing of one's pants. The music strikes me as highly humorous in conjunction with my Charlie Chaplin maneuvering across the parking lot and I grin in spite of my desperate circumstance.

Thirty feet from the restrooms: I'm going to make it, this is fine. The Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa happily bleats on. Who just shits themselves on a sunny, August morning at the park, while the Kwassa Kwassa's playing, no less?

Twenty feet from the restrooms: This isn't funny. I mean, what if I don't make it. I'm going to make it. "MAX! MILO! STAY CLOSE!"

Ten feet from the restrooms: Oh. My. God. Did that just happen? That did not just happen. Did it?

It did.

Only a little bit but I subscribe to the theory, and I think you should too, that ANYTHING, in this particular situation, is too much.

Twenty seconds later all four of us are jammed into this dank, little restroom of the scummy, park restroom variety. Max and Milo have dropped to the floor to pant. I look at Violet. She stares back, in sympathy I imagine. A compassionate, wise expression that says pants-shitting, I've so been there.

I do what I can with what I have. I'm a different person now, I think as I sort out how to get home without someone calling The Department of Child and Family Services to come take custody of the dirty lady who shits herself's child. I've done gone and stepped across some imaginary line. I am no longer the dutiful, young mother out for a morning stroll with the cutest kid ever, I am the creepy fat ass who shits herself on a dime.

I think of a popular story among immediate family members about the time I got lost at a mall in Arizona when I was around four years old. My grandma was so horrified at what might have happened to me she apparently shit her pants. This is a story passed fondly from family member to family member and generation to generation as we all remember grandma. Erma, her name was, affectionately known to us as The Erminator. A wooden-spoon wielding pants-shitter who was just about the best grandma ever. But she was an old lady. The elderly and the mentally infirm have a Get Out Of Jail Free Card when it comes to pants-shitting. Drug users too. What's my excuse? I'm relatively young, in good shape, kind of. If a skinny frame with loose skin draped over it is considered good shape.

I bang out of the restroom, lasso the dogs and get the hell out of there. I scurry away from the scene of the crime and don't pause until I'm a good ten minutes away. By then the horror of what has just transpired is pumping throughout my faulty pants-shitting system and I simply must tell someone and spread the pain. So I call the person I am most comfortable spreading pain to as I do it on a regular basis.

God bless Serge, he laughs and proceeds to share his own anecdote. A story on par with my own little episode, a story that is for him to share not me. I'm holding my phone to my left ear, pushing the stroller with my right when I realize there's something on the back of my forearm. Holy Christ. HOLY CHRIST. My eyes nearly cross and my vision blurs as the smear on my arm takes over the world. Serge is still prattling on but I don't hear a word. I see my arm and I see a biker, one of these Serious (ON YOUR LEFT!) Cyclists heading my way and I'm certain he knows I've just shit myself, can see evidence of the crime on my arm.

As he gets closer I kind of cringe into myself and hope he roars by at his Serious Cyclist Top Speed leaving me to my shame spiral.
"HEY!" He yells as he's about ten feet in front of me. Is he really about to point out the shit on my forearm? My system freezes, even my roiling, boiling percolating innards go ice cold.
"YOUR DOGS ARE TIRED!" I am too stunned to offer my usual Fuck You response. I hate when people tell me this. As if I'm some kind of whip-cracking douchebag who devotes hours every morning to mindlessly driving my dogs to the brink of exhaustion. They're leashed to a stroller for chrissake. How fast can we really be moving here? And also? I've shit my pants, sir, I've no time to run the dogs to death. Milo froths and pants at the slightest provocation. It's not as if I'm out plowing the fields, whipping Max and Milo into submission as I lollygag on the plow dowsing myself with ladels of water. They just had a drink at the park, we're headed home, Serious Cyclist, because I've just shit myself... shit myself... shit myself. That's an echo, in case you were wondering.

After raging to Serge about pants-shitting, arm shit and Serious Cyclist I hang up and narrow my focus to getting home. Home. Home. Home-home-home-home. It seems to take forever. The Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa is long over. I've turned down the iPod to focus on walking home. We all know one can't focus and listen to music simultaneously. Have you ever tried to find an address with music blaring? Even though it only involves eyesight, it can't be done. Next time you're looking for an address just you try it. You'll find yourself turning down the radio as you near your destination.

Twenty excruciating minutes later we are finally, FINALLY home and I make an interesting discovery. My beloved daughter has shit herself. In solidarity, I like to think.