My Child Went Potty in Coach OR Why I Don’t Like Stairs

“I have to go potty! I have to go potty!”, shouts my three-year old.  As she’s going potty.  In the middle of the Coach store.  At the height of holiday shopping season. Horrified, I watch the growing puddle under  her feet…

Later, as I’m in the mall restroom washing out my daughter’s clothing and holding it under the hand dryer while she stands there in a diaper I fashioned out of toilet paper so that she wouldn’t be bare-assed in a public restroom I realize that I may just have a new contender for the “Shan’s Most Embarrassing Moments Top 10 List”.  Not that I actually have a Top 10 list – shocking and hard to believe, I know, I make lists out of everything as any regular reader is well aware of  – but if I had one, that moment would be on it.

I have had a bunch of embarrassing moments in my 34 years, just to give you a small sampling:

– the time the skirt of my pep-squad uniform was tucked into the back of my bloomers (which are basically like underwear) so my ass was on display for all to see for at least three class periods before I realized it (thank goodness I have always had a pretty nice ass… or so I’ve been told, I’ve never really checked out my own ass)

– the time I farted in my office and then a coworker walked in literally right after and I had to pretend that I hadn’t farted and didn’t smell anything even though we could both clearly smell my fart lingering in the air

– the time I knocked myself out cold when I collided with the swimming pool wall doing the backstroke at a swim meet

– the countless times I have put my foot in my mouth

– the even more countless times I have fallen. Anyone who has spent oh, an hour or so with me has seen me fall. Half the time my husband doesn’t even think anything of it anymore unless I look truly injured.  But, there is one fall that has topped them all, and to this day no fall has been as embarrassing as “The Greg Martinez Incident”.

In sixth grade, Greg Martinez was the (unrequited) love of my life. Just like any other rational sixth grade girl who wanted to keep her love a secret, I had his name written over everything; “I love Greg”, “Greg+Shan”, “Shan Martinez” – you get the idea.  I may have well just tattooed it onto my forehead.  One day, as my best friend (who just happened to have a thing for Greg’s best friend – Eric something, I can’t remember his last name, clearly he was no Greg Martinez) and I were walking up the stairs to our last period class that we had together, I tripped.  On the last stair.

Note: Stairs and I have never been friends.  I approach stairs with trepidation and caution because stairs have always had it out for me.  I don’t know what I did to them in this life or a past one to make them hate me so, but it’s clear that they do not like me.  Never have, probably never will.

I was almost home free, I had only one more stair to go, but that bastard last stair reached out and grabbed my foot and I fell.  The interesting thing is that I actually somehow managed to fall backwards, crashing into the person behind me who caught me, then kind of shoved both of us forward so that we didn’t fall backwards and careen down the entire flight of stairs. Books and papers went flying as the person behind me landed on top of me, and in the force of the fall my head crashed into the wretched stair that had tripped me in the first place.  What probably took all of 5 seconds to happen felt like an eternity.  In a daze I struggled to get up and apologize to the stranger who I had almost killed.  “Hey, are you OK?”, the stranger asked. “You hit your head pretty hard.”  I knew that voice, and as I looked up I froze.  Because it was Greg Martinez. Greg Fucking Martinez, who had been walking to class with Eric Something when some girl who apparently was lacking in basic motor skills (me) almost took him out. He helped me gather my books that had “I love Greg Martinez” written all over them while I turned bright red with embarrassment and shame, and offered to walk me to the nurse because “It looked like my head was bleeding” which I turned down, swearing that I was “OK” and then limped off to class, bleeding head and all.

Now, if that had been a John Hughes movie, that was when the dorky girl would have gotten the guy.  I would have bitten my bottom lip and then said “Hi” as he sheepishly handed me a book, and he would have said “Hi” and then picked me up and carried me out of there while the Thompson Twins or Simple Minds played and we would have lived happily ever after.  (Until three months later when we would have broken up. Because this was sixth grade after all, and no relationship in sixth grade lasts longer than three months.)

You know, looking back, while I was mortified when they were happening – I’m glad to have had those embarrassing moments that I can look back on and laugh about.  Everyone has fallen on their ass a time or two, and those moments certainly make for entertaining stories at parties. And honestly, if my three-year old taking a piss in the middle of the Coach store is the worst thing that’s happened, then I’m doing pretty darn good.

Here’s to hoping you can embarrass yourself and live to tell us all about it.  I’ll bring the wine.


*I need to thank my husband who I left behind in the store to clean up the puddle of pee by himself while I cleaned the kid – that had to have been pretty embarrassing.  You’re a trooper and one hell of a Dad and husband.