Be prepared or you might cry in a bathroom

I highly debated posting about this because it was so long ago, but in thinking it through I thought I might have a good bit of advice for other women and with the move, I don’t have much time to blog. So here’s how I ended up crying in a bathroom on Capitol Hill without any pants. (Note: greatest response to this post on FB from a friend: “I think John Boehner hacker your Facebook account.” )

I had been sick for about a week. I’m new to my job in the sense that I haven’t accrued any sick leave, not to mention, I always feel really guilty about calling in sick. This probably goes back to my mother’s policy that if you missed school, you weren’t allowed to do anything fun that night. So I only missed one day before going in to the office and promptly being sent home.

About a week later, I developed a killer migraine. I get these fairly often, but this was probably the worst I’ve ever had and it lasted three days. THREE DAYS! The first day was Saturday evening and then all through Sunday, so when Monday rolled around, I was out of my mind. I went to work anyway.

I’d already missed a day the week before and I was new. Not to mention, my guilt. (This might also have something to do with the husband giving me a hard time about taking off work for being sick because he never gets sick. men.)

Work was painful, excruciating. Oh the pressure. But I knew I had to go to a hearing on the Hill about 2 p.m.

At some point during the day, my skirt broke. The zipper unzipped from the bottom, leaving it hooked still at the top of the zip track. I started flipping out.

I was supposed to leave for the Hill any minute, my head hurt, I’m exhausted and I have no pants.

In the bathroom stall at work, I fiddled with the zipper for about 15 minutes before I got it to go back down and zip back up. I hopped in a cab and zipped over to the Rayburn building.

As soon as I went to step out of the cab, my zipper unzipped again. Now, I’m standing in front of the Rayburn building with half my side hanging out of my skirt. I didn’t know what to do. Obviously, I had to go inside to find a bathroom.

To get in the House office building, however, I had to go through security. You know, where you have to have your hands down by your side and you can’t hold your skirt up. The security guard just gave me a look like he understood.

Then I rushed to the first bathroom, holding my skirt up and trying to figure out what to do. The hearing started in 30 minutes. In the bathroom, I had to take the skirt off to fiddle with the broken zipper because twisting to your side really starts to hurt after five minutes.

This time, 15 minutes wouldn’t cut it. That zipper wasn’t budging. My head pain wasn’t budging. I just couldn’t do it. So I cried. I texted people I knew on the Hill to see if anyone could help me. Alas, no one could. I cried some more.

Finally about 25 minutes later, the zipper worked, but I was still afraid of a repeat performance in the middle of a Congressional hearing. I stuck it out. Painfully took my notes throughout the throbbing pain and then, I just couldn’t do it anymore.

That was it. I was done. My brain was pounding for three full days! I had to go to a doctor. I called my editor and said I had an emergency, I had to go home. I’d write the story the next day. I rushed to the CVS minute clinic for help.

I had another breakdown in CVS, crying so hard on the phone to my parents that my dad couldn’t understand what was going on. I had a sinus infection (I’ve never had one of those buggers before). The rest of the week wasn’t any easier. This job likes to kick me a lot, but I guess every job does that.

The point isn’t really about being sick or having miserable job experiences, it’s more about being prepared.

I was a girl scout for years. You think I would have learned this very well by now. Always be prepared, for anything. One recent morning, I rushed off to a conference without a recorder or a notebook. I’m a terrible reporter, too, apparently. But I found an App for that, no problem. (Note: In my defense, I did pull a MacGyver when we made one last run to our old apartment and realized our wine rack was still screwed into the wall but we had no screw. Key to the rescue!)  There is no App to hold your skirt up, though.

I pretty much always carry an emergency kit with me. Plenty of other people do this too. Maybe you do. But I’m going to recommend you add a paper clip and a saftey pin to that collection. Trust me on this.

What’s in my little bag anyway?

  • hand sanitizer– WMATA is really gross after all
  • Compact/eye shadow/ blush / concealer / mascara — you never know when you’ll have to go from day to night quickly and unplanned
  • hairbrush
  • Contact drops
  • Midol & Tylenol
  • Blotting papers
  • feminine products
  • Fingernail clippers
  • batteries — for my recorder
  • gum or breath mints
  • and of course, a saftey pin and paper clip
Also I always carry a pen and paper with me. Just smart.
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