Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Urine: A Fast Track to Frenemies

I used to be in a college a capella group. We liked inviting other groups from all over the country to sing with us at our school and we, in turn, were invited to sing at other colleges. An especially exciting trip was the invitational concert at Drexel University in Philadelphia. We were thrilled because our school was in Storrs, CT, a town made up of mostly farm land that produces an astonishingly powerful aroma of poop during the summer. Philly was going to be like a vacation akin to the Beverly Hillbillies driving to California.

As a novice member of the group, I had a faint awareness that, while these invitationals were tame during the performances, the after parties could get out of hand. During one of our own, I walked outside of the group's house and saw a friend flirting with a stranger, devouring a burrito, and vomiting all at the same time. The miraculous thing was that the stranger didn't mind. He even took a bite out of the burrito. I couldn't help but be a little impressed despite being a little traumatized as well.

At a separate party, my group-mates and I all locked ourselves into the only bathroom and, without prompting, made out with each other for a solid ten minutes. People alternated partners and we all took turns peeing. A particularly modest member disappeared into the closet with whomever he wanted to kiss, and every thirty seconds, the doors would fly open and he'd eject his partner and someone else would disappear with him behind the doors. The people waiting outside were mad at first, but when 8 of us emerged from the bathroom, the angry line of pee-filled aca-bitches shut up exchanged horny glances with their friends. College is essentially a series of sexy rabbit holes that one must navigate carefully. My strategy was to always have one foot in, and one foot out, so I could witness the sexiness without having to explain myself under a heaping cloud of shame. We marched out of that bathroom without a shred of embarrassment, and it felt empowering. I managed to follow this code until we went to Philly.

The people who invited us to sing with them were an all-girls group, named the somethingwhatevers. We left a day early so we could enjoy the city's historical bullshit before we had to perform in order to cultivate our growing minds. We saw the Liberty Bell with the crack in it, some bricks with clues as to where we could find Nicolas Cage, and about 700 phillycheese steak vendors. The city was great, and the nerds in our group had a field day. Later that night, each group sang and the show went great. Everyone was thrilled to be there and the host group even performed a song they wrote with another all-men's group, the singerswithdongs. One lyric was especially cute:
Girl solo to specific Guy: And then you peed on my flooooooooooorr...
I remember nothing else about that song, which proves yet again, sex sells.

After the show, we went to one of the host's apartments for the after party. When we walked in, people were sitting, standing, conversing and drinking a kind of red liquid that smelled like gummy bears. Being used to a little more "activity," we stood still for a second like a group of apes that had wandered into a public forum.

Our music director, Shmenny, turned to us and said, "Remember, this is a private engineering school, so they're not... well-"

"Alcoholics?" Said, Eclara, our token red head.

"Exactly. Let's start drinking now, but let's also avoid the bathroom."

The party was pretty fun. Lots of nice people wobbled this way and that, eyes crossed from all the alcoholic gummy bear juice and upstairs, we learned that our host group sang a song that we also sang regularly. Within seconds 40+ people broke out into harmonized renditions of "The Chain," by Ingrid Michaelson. It was like being in High School Musicals 1 through 43 except the men had less hair on their chests. To say it was magical would be an understatement. Or maybe an overstatement. We were drunk and very loud. Either way, we had a blast and rushed for more alcohol, elated by the harmony now established between the various acapella clans. I had gotten to the point of drunk where I struggled to tell which fingers I could feel and whether or not both of my eyelids were open. I also had to suddenly urinate very badly. I hopped on line for the bathroom and conversed with a couple who revealed they neither sang, nor attended college.

"Howre you in here?" I slurred.

"Oh! We're friends with Marianfadka," the boy told me.

"Thatsth amazshing!" I tossed my hands up in polite surprise, spilling juice on my face.

We talked for a couple minutes and as my bladder swelled to the size of a watermelon, I realized the line was moving around us.

"Are you guys in line?" I asked

"No," the girl said, eyeing me the way you look at someone who is clearly drunk or insane.

"Great, I think I'm going to pee in my pants."

"Don't worry!" the boy said. "You can just come in with me and pee in the shower while I pee in the toilet."

I'm going on record here by saying that since the urine in my bladder overflowed and redirected to my brain, I had no choice but to agree to his proposition. Magically, he entered the line without being in it, and beckoned me to follow him. The party was still buzzing and no one seemed to notice the two of us go in together, and in that moment, I didn't care. He did his business, and I stepped into the shower and did mine. Mid-stream, I heard a voice outside the door say, "Marina, someone's peeing in your shower."

Sobriety is a funny thing. Sometimes, it comes to you suddenly and too late, like energy after the morning alarm has already been going off for hours.

This was a bad idea. This was real dumb. I remembered that not all schools are used to people running amuck in their private bathrooms and I had done just that. With a stranger! Shmenny's words of caution rang in my ears like a disappointed mother. Oh clarity! You elusive bitch. I was nowhere near my group mates so I had to think of how to get out of this on my own. I looked down at my feet and saw that I had tracked mud into Marina's formerly pristine bathtub. This is why I shouldn't be left alone, I thought. I silently scorned my friends for forgetting that I need adult supervision at all times.

I finished peeing the 3 gallons of urine in me and got on my hands and knees and started rinsing the tub with the removable shower head. The door opened and the deceitful, horrible, DOESN'T-EVEN-GO-HERE boy fled to his equally treacherous girlfriend. As I washed the mud and pee away, Marina and several of her own group-mates burned holes into my hunched back with their eyes. I got up and exited. Marina stormed away and everyone stared. Even the music got quieter. One girl remained ten inches from my face and asked "Who pees in the shower?" 

In an attempt to calm her down, I reminded her that urine is sterile, and I was very good at aiming toward the drain. This did not work, so she gave me a second chance and said, "Who pees in the shower??" I spotted the treacherous couple I had mistakenly trusted in line and said "They told me to!!" The girl and the couple all looked at me in pity. You can get away with barf-eating a burrito in college, but you can't blame others on where you urinate, like a dog that isn't house trained. I was hot with embarrassment. The girl shook her head and walked over to Marina, who was fuming in the corner. I walked over to the delinquent couple and the girl said, "Dude... never admit to peeing in the shower!" I don't think she realized that the door somehow flew open while I was doing it so lying would only have made things worse. Not to mention, even under the sobering gaze of everyone, I was still too drunk to fake amnesia, which I have done.

I left them and walked over to Marina, who was flanked by two of her group-mates/bodyguards. "Marina, I'm sorry," I said. "I know this can't make up for the fact of how gross that was, but I want you to know it was a stupid, drunk mistake and it's not how my group behaves. Please don't let this be a reflection on them." As I said this, I mentally asked myself what the flying fuck I was thinking while physically shaking like an abused puppy.

"Thank you for owning up," Marina said. "That's cool of you to do." Her entourage eyed me with death stares as I backed away to search for my group. I found Shmenny, our fearless and wise music director and said, "Hi, we have to leave."


"I did something gross."

Shmenny's such a good sport. Instead of getting angry, she smiled and asked for the details. "What did you do??" She asked excitedly.

"I peed in Marina's bathtub."

"Let's go."

Minutes later Shmenny rounded up the troops along with Chrystina, one of the host group members that was letting us sleep in her apartment. Fortunately, Chrystina shared Shmenny's humor and found the whole thing hilarious.

"I'm so humiliated!!" I wailed on the street.

"It's not a big deal," she assured me.

"No," I insisted. "I have to make it right. I'll get them candy. Where's the drug store?"

Chrystina told us it was only a few blocks away and that they served phillycheese steaks (of course they fucking did). This sent everyone into a drunk munchies-fever and we bolted. Shmenny clipped her boot on a raised cobblestone and lurched into a full tap dance routine and cartwheeled through the drugstore entrance.

We followed her in like a troupe of lit circus clowns and grabbed anything that looked edible. I loaded up as much of the best candy I could find and Chrystina bought me a blue blowpop the size of a microphone. "I got him a lollipop," she said to Shmenny. "Maybe that will calm him down."

"That's so nice of you," Shmenny said. Shmenny is one of my hundreds of guardians.

We exited with our loots and Eclara mouthed a cheese-steak. She offered a bite to our group-mate, Pandy, who was a vegetarian at the time. For some reason, she took a bite thinking the drug store offered vegan cheese-steak option.

"I'M A VESHEEFAARIAAN," she screamed, and spat the steak back into Eclarah's open mouth.

Chrystina maintained her Herculean sense of humor and laughed with us (at us). We were a mess--especially me. I had fallen down a bad rabbit hole and was still shaken by my shameful climb out. I wrote a long apology to Marina and the group and stole saran wrap from Chrystina's kitchen to make a little bag for the candy. The next morning, Chrystina bid us farewell and promised me she would deliver my penance to her friends. She and Marina friended me on Facebook three days later. Marina even wrote to me saying how sweet I was for buying them candy.

Some people might see urinating in the wrong place as an irrevocable mistake, but I learned in Philly that really, it's an opportunity to force people into awkward confrontations and be friends.

Me and my army of babysitters who left me unsupervised near a bathroom.

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