It was a sunny Tuesday afternoon and my work friends and I settled on lunch plans before lunchtime. We decided to meet in the lobby at 11:45 to beat the noon Chipotle rush, but just as we were walking out the door, it all fell apart: Michelle said that she had to pee.
For a moment, no one really absorbed what was happening. Shannon had even pressed the down button at the elevator when the news broke.
“I’m actually gonna pee real quick!” Michelle said, her words echoing across the lobby.
We stared at each other—some in disbelief and all in anger, except for Kristen, who didn’t totally hear because she was on her phone. Was this really happening? And how could we break the news to Kristen? I felt light-headed. I didn’t know what to do.
As Michelle ran away from us toward the bathroom, the rest of us shared our own harrowing experiences with Michelle’s need to “pee real quick.” It had happened to me at dinner last weekend. It happened to Shannon at her fiancée Jeff’s birthday party. It always happened at happy hour just as we were about to leave. We all agreed that even Susan, who’s eight months pregnant, has better control of her bladder.
We looked at the clock: 30 seconds had passed. We all wondered, should leave without her?
But with Michelle’s departure, everything changed: Shannon ran back to her desk to “grab something.” Kristen decided she needed to pee, too. Susan sat down and straight-up started cleaning out her purse. Even I sat down and returned a call from my landlord.
When Michelle returned, she uttered a quick and breathless “Sorry!” when she returned, but it was too late. By then, it took sixteen minutes for us to finish our various tasks and make our way out the door.
“I was only gone for a minute,” Michelle said, clearly annoyed. But she had opened a door and we couldn’t help but walk through it.
It was only after we made it to Chipotle that Michelle realized that she forgot her phone in the bathroom and quickly bee-lined to the office. The line at Chipotle was around the block, and then there was a sale at Nordstrom Rack, and then we saw a really cute dog on the sidewalk and Susan cried for some reason.
None of us made it back to work that day. I can only hope that other women read this and think twice about having to pee before other people’s lives are ruined.