Last summer my husband and I were invited to a barbecue with two other couples. These couples are nice couples, upstanding citizens, god-fearing couples (unlike my heathen husband and I) who are the kind of people who, if they accidentally didn’t get charged for beer at the grocery store, would go back and pay for it, unlike myself who went “Free beer!” and drank some even though I don’t like beer that much.
So maybe I shouldn’t have expected to fit in. In retrospect, this makes everything pretty much my fault.
When we first arrived to the barbecue, our hostess informed us that, should we need to use the bathroom, we should turn right at the end of the hall. Use the bathroom on the right, not on the left, she very clearly said, and you better believe I listened carefully because when it comes to bathrooms, I am a rule follower.
There were no problems at first except for the fact that I didn’t consume any carbs with dinner but did drink the heck out of the “grown-up” lemonade. I had been craving lemonade. I hadn’t had any all summer so I immediately drank a whole cup of it before I ate anything, even though I wasn’t aware of quite how MUCH vodka was in it.
Obviously, when I needed to use the bathroom after everyone was finished with dinner, I turned right at the end of the hall and headed down it.
That’s when I got a weird feeling. I could see the bathroom door was open, but called out anyway just on the off chance that something bad might be happening, which it was. From the hallway I could see the reflection of our host in the shower doors. He was sitting on the toilet with his pants around his ankles. When he heard me call out he, of course, yelled “Occupied!” and pulled the sliding door closed, at which point I was already tripping over my feet backing down the hallway with the kind of urgency that only a person who has just seen another person they just met that night sitting on the pot can feel.
I then broke the only rule of the night and used the bathroom at the other end of the hallway. I was pretty much in shock at that point. As soon as I sat down, I leaned forward and put my face in my hands to take a moment to compose myself, and that’s when I saw the eye. The one eye. One eye staring directly into my face.
The reason we had been warned not to use this bathroom was apparently because a chihuahua with one eye was nesting in the bathtub for the evening, and now that it saw me sitting on the toilet, decided to check me out through the shower door. It watched me as I finished peeing, which you can bet I did pretty quickly.
When I got back to the dining area, all five adults were at the table, happily dealing out cards. At this point I figure the host and I have some kind of special bond because we both had an awkward encounter and now we would have to fudge our way through a pleasant evening. It would be equally hard for both of us but we would both be willing to make the sacrifice because we were ultimately good people who cared about the well-being of the group. However, when I looked at him, he made no sign that anything weird had happened.
That was when I realized that I had seen his reflection but he hadn’t seen mine, and he didn’t even know I had seen his at all. This awkwardness was mine alone to bear.
In desperation I looked at my husband and attempted to communicate a whole sentence to him via facial expressions, which has never once worked with my husband like it always did with my sister.
What I tried to say with my facial expression was: I saw Sam pooping!
Apparently my face just looked weird. So my husband communicated that back to me.
Husband’s face: Your face looks weird.
My face: I saw Sam pooping!
Husband’s face: You know I can’t read facial expression language.
My face: I saw Sam pooping by accident. Well, he wasn’t accidentally pooping; I accidentally saw him pooping! *pause* And I saw a one-eyed dog! Staring at me from the bathtub!
By then my husband whispered “What’s wrong?” but everyone was done dealing the cards and explaining the rules of the game and I decided to just barrel ahead with the evening. I had another glass of lemonade.
As you can guess, I did not behave in any kind of normal way that night; I became increasingly socially awkward, at one point illustrating an anecdote with an honest-to-god Jerry Lewis dancing impression. For this little venture I actually stood up and executed the dance in as Lewis-esque a manner as possible, the way my siblings and I has always done for fun. When I finished the little dance, every other adult was staring at me with their jaws dropped. No one had found it funny, no one had even seen that movie, no one else would have done that dance and THANK GOD AT LEAST I DIDN’T SING.
Obviously, they all had to conclude that I was just a crazy drunk lady, not, in fact, in a social situation that was very hard for me to survive in. For the next several weeks I lived in humiliation, and that is the story of how I saw a guy pooping and a one-eyed dog and gained a reputation as the increasingly socially awkward lady who doesn’t get invited back to barbecues although, if I did, I wouldn’t drink any lemonade because then I probably would not have had to pee.
P.S. This is not even the first time I’ve seen a guy I didn’t really know sitting on the toilet. In 7th grade my friend and I were playing hide-and-seek indoors and I walked in on her dad sitting on the toilet with the newspaper all a-spread in front of him. At least in that instance he was aware that he had been spied, and we both avoided each other in mutually earned shame for the rest of our lives. Like you do.