A few days ago, I had the pleasure of going on a quick road trip to Las Vegas, New Mexico. My travel companions were three people who are family of the non-blood related kind – Samaria, another Sarah, and Liz – and I loved spending time with them. It was a huge trip with lots of memorable moments squeezed into not quite three days. To quote the Wayne’s World poster: we all laughed, Sarah cried, and I hurled. I really did. It was in a hotel room at 4 am, and despite the fact that I was in the bathroom with the sink faucet running and the stink fan going, my yakking woke everyone up. But that is a story for another time.
Brent and the pugs did not go on the trip and the idea of leaving them and leaving home, even for just a couple days, made me a little sad. Silly, I know, but we are a co-dependent lot. As I write this, the four of us are snuggled together on our love seat.
Perhaps it was the sorrow of losing me for a few days that caused Brent to lose his senses as I was getting ready for the trip.
He offered to let me borrow his best overnight bag.
Brent knows better than anyone that I should never be allowed to borrow anything. When in my possession, borrowed objects become the victims of acts of God. When I was 16, I borrowed my friend Lori’s sweater vest, and that night, my house burned down. A few years ago, I borrowed Teufel’s graphing calculator and it was stolen from my car. The one time I drove my mother-in-law’s car, the engine light came on and never shut off. And I also include my own carelessness in the ‘acts of God’ category. If God hadn’t wanted me to scratch up Brent’s CDs, he wouldn’t have made Brent and I have similar taste in music, right? If God hadn’t wanted me to accidentally return Teufel’s brand new Spiderman video game to Dillons grocery store along with a movie I’d rented, God wouldn’t have had Dillons do their Dollar Day promotion, where all rentals, including new releases, were just one dollar.
When I was getting ready to go to New Mexico, I couldn’t find any of my backpacks. We have suitcases, but they are currently blocked in by some giant pieces of wood in the basement. I had all my clothes and toiletries ready, but nothing to put them in. I couldn’t even find a reusable grocery bag around the house. That’s when Brent said all casually, “Why don’t you just take my Spiderman bag?”
This is the Spiderman bag. The pictures aren’t great, but isn’t it cool? Brent got it at Universal Studios, as a special (and very expensive) souvenir. Knowing my history of destroying borrowed goods, I was not eager to take the bag.
“Uh, I don’t think so. What if it gets ruined?”
He shrugged. “It’s just a bag.”
Just a bag, my butt. He’d be so annoyed with me if something happened to it. I told him thanks anyway and went looking again for my backpack, but that sucker just didn’t want to be found. So I had to take Brent’s bag. I told myself that I would be very, very careful with it. I said, “Self, you will treat this Spiderman bag as carefully as if there is a newborn baby inside of it. You will not throw the bag around in a rough manner. You will not drop it on the urine-soaked floor of a rest stop bathroom. You will honor and respect this bag. You will bring it back to Brent in pristine condition. He will say, ‘Wow, Sarah, you are so trustworthy!”
Fast-forwarding a ways, I found myself in Liz’s bathroom in Las Vegas, New Mexico. The reason we were there was to help Liz move back to Kansas and when we got there, most of her belongings were already packed in the Uhaul. In particular, her bathroom was down to the essentials: toilet paper, soap, tooth brush and tooth paste. I didn’t realize this was going to be a problem for me until I was using the bathroom.
FACT: During the trip, I was experiencing my moon’s blood. Menstruation, that is. Red gold. Texas tea.
FACT: I prefer pads to tampons.
FACT: There was no trash can in the bathroom.
FACT: There is no such thing as “tmi”.
I didn’t have a disposable bag of any sort on me, and had I asked Liz for a bag to use as bathroom trash, she would have happily supplied one. But then there would be the question of where to keep the trash. Plus, I wasn’t even sure that Liz had a spare bag, considering that everything was packed up. I didn’t want her to have to go to the trouble of emptying a bag for me to use for my pads. The idea of having my period trash hanging out in a plastic bag on the door jamb or on the bathroom floor was horrifying. My friends should not have to endure that.
I contemplated the pickle I was in and while I can write about all this now with very little shame, at the time I felt Old Testament-unclean. There was no winning in this game. Although, in retrospect, why didn’t I just ask for a trash bag? For pete’s sake, sometimes I have to wonder about myself.
After I finally decided on a course of action that seemed the most logical (it really wasn’t), I remembered a joke that Liz herself told me a long time ago. The gist is that there is a reclusive lady who never leaves her house. When it is her time of the month, she throws her used pads in a closet. One day, she has to call a plumber to her house. The pipes he needs are in the closet with the used feminine products. For some reason, the lady locks him in and he doesn’t get out until the next month, when her time comes. When she opens the closet door, out he comes and says that he never would have survived the ordeal if it hadn’t been for all the delicious cherry rolls in her closet.
“Cherry rolls,” I thought grimly as I wrapped the used pad in the wrapping paper of the new one. I made the bundle as small as possible and slipped it into…Brent’s nice Spiderman bag. By the time I got home, I had quite the collection in there.
To be honest, after that first night, we left Las Vegas and stayed in a hotel where there were opportunities for me to take out the trash if you know what I mean, but I forgot.
I felt obligated to tell Brent about this over the phone, when I was on the way home. Unsure of how he would react, I made sure to tell him it wasn’t an easy decision for me and that I was sorry events had to go down this way. I promised him I would air out the bag and that it would be as good as new. Lastly, I apologized for being so absurd. I waited for him to speak, but there was only silence. “Uh, hello? Are you mad?” I asked him. More silence. I realized my phone had dropped the call. When I was able to get through again, he picked up and immediately asked, “So what did you do with the pad?” I had to go through the end of the story again. He just laughed and said, “That’s just great. Now whenever I go out of town and use that bag, my clothes are going to smell like menstruation and I’m going to be chased by bears!”
Aesop wants me to tell you that there is a moral to this story:
Don’t misplace your backpack, ever. Just don’t, even if it means you can’t prepare for winter like that dumb fiddle fuck grasshopper. I don’t mean to come off sounding judgmental all the time but I know a lot of things.