So this is a post about tampons. Now I know you boys get all worked up when we girls start talking about our girly issues, so if you have a problem with that, I’d stop here. Seriously. I know you get all “Ugh! Stop it!” when we get on the topic of our periods so if you choose to continue reading your Gross Out Level is your problem. And girls, if we can’t laugh about our period well then God help us.
So this past weekend I flew to Maryland to look at houses. It was a whirlwind trip and I was flying on cheapo stand by tickets. Stand by is great when you get on your flight. It totally sucks when the flight is full and everyone gets on but you and the other loser stand by fliers. Which is of course what happened on Monday morning. I’d gotten up at 5 am just so I could be Left Behind (maybe this will prepare me for the Apocalypse…) so I was tired and grouchy and felt like the kid with the dolphin stuffed animal who immediately started whining and crying when his dad said “We didn’t get on the flight.” Let’s just say that if I had any delusions about being “grown up” or “mature” then my reaction to missing the flight proved otherwise. At least my internal dialogue, and the fact that I went to the bathroom and spent 10 minutes crying in the stall.
Thanks to my terminally patient husband and his terrific friend at Frontier Joanne, I made it on a flight to Omaha and then to Denver…but it was when I was sitting on the Omaha flight that I began to worry about my tampon. See, I had a mom growing up who was queen of the scare tactics…she was great at trying to scare us with dire predictions about say drug use or teen pregnancy and the like. One of the biggies she like to scare us with was Toxic Shock Syndrome. And how if we left our tampons in too long we would Die of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Because I’m pretty sure someone we knew had an aunt who died from Toxic Shock Syndrome. So God help you if you leave your tampon in for too long because you will be a victim of Toxic Shock Syndrome. I know I could abbreviate it as TSS like all the helpful tampon literature, but it sounds way more Toxic and Shocking when you call it by its given name. Like how your parents don’t call you by your nickname or initials when they’re ticked off at you.
So. Tampon. Toxic Shock. The fear of toxic shock had been bred into me since the early days of my young womanhood. Now, it took me a long time to figure out tampons to begin with. No one ever told me that trying to jam one STRAIGHT UP INTO YOUR VAGINA was not going to work. I remember being like 16 and on vacation in Florida and trying desperately to get one of those baby’s in there so my beach and pool time would not be spoiled only to be frustrated by the fact that my body is not at a 90 degree angle. It wasn’t until my 20’s that I finally figured out that it goes in at an angle. I mean, really, Toxic Shock Syndrome, angled vaginas…could you have made it any harder on us God? Seriously. But anyway, I have always been vigilant about keeping that thing in there for a limited time you know, because I didn’t want to get Toxic Shock Syndrome and die. I realize that nowadays people sleep with those bad boys in there. Do they even put that Toxic Shock Literature into the tampon boxes anymore? Well, I just can’t do it. It’s been drilled in to me. Toxic Shock Syndrome. Death. No thanks.
Now here’s a story you’re either going to find awesome or disgusting. To me, it’s just an example of how awesome girls are, you know, like how we can whip off our bras without removing our shirt, or completely change clothes in the car without anyone seeing any of our bits and pieces. Girls are awesome in that way. So back in the day I was out with this guy, we were driving out in the middle of nowhere going somewhere I can’t remember but wherever it was it was no where near any sort of bathroom. And at the time I wasn’t confident enough to say “Hey, I really need to hit a bathroom here pronto.” But I realized I was rapidly approaching Toxic Shock Syndrome with no restroom in sight. So what do I do? Well, I somehow–don’t ask how–managed to um, pull that thing out without anyone’s knowledge and yes, well, just leave it hanging around in there. Gross. Yes…..but Better Than Dying From Toxic Shock!!! Right? I mean, you take a little disgustingness to survive, right? Hell, people drink their own PEE. I just left it floating around in there until I got to a bathroom and could properly dispose of it. No one was the wiser, no one died of Toxic Shock Syndrome.
So. Monday. I’m sitting on the plane and I’m exhausted and coming off of an aggravation high, when I realize that I’m approaching the window for Toxic Shock Syndrome. I hate using the bathroom on planes. But you know, you gotta do what you gotta do. But of course there’s people in and out and in and out of the bathroom, and as soon as you start to make a move out of your seat someone else is in there and of course you can’t stand in line by the bathroom any more because that is DANGEROUS because you might be a terrorist who is trying to take over the plane. And frankly, someone might have taken me for a terrorist because it was as cold as a meat locker in there. Not that I’ve been in a meat locker but everyone uses that euphemism for how cold something is because of course you would want to keep your meat really, really cold because rotting meat is gross. So I had my fleece coat zipped up and pulled up over my nose with the hood pulled down low so that I looked like a cross between the UnaBomber and a woman wearing a weird burqa. Which to a Republican screams “TERRORIST!” right? So there must not have been any Republicans on the plane or my UnaBomber Burqa-d self would probably be rotting away in Gitmo right now if there were. So anyway…bathroom. Waiting for my chance. Which never came. Because then we hit turbulence and I have seen Tommy Boy and I do not want to be sitting in the bathroom during turbulence and go flying out ass over teakettle and land in the aisle with my pants down. And my seatmate had her laptop open so it wasn’t like I could quickly hurdle over her to get to the bathroom next. She had some interesting 80’s like clothes on…black corduroy leggings and these funky white boots with black laces that looked VERY 80’s and I was pretty certain she had a DURAN DURAN PIN on her bag which of course I thought was awesome, it looked like the Nagel painting from the Rio album. Which made me think of my old friend Becki Maslanka from high school who was obsessed with Nagels and had a room full of them. She was also obsessed with Royals and was hell bent on marrying one of the princes–Andrew? Edward? The one everyone thought was gay because he wasn’t married yet. I wonder what she’s been up to. I’m pretty sure she didn’t marry Prince Whoever. And anyway it wasn’t Duran Duran it was Siouxsie and the Banshees which is still cool and definitely 80’s. And then we’re beginning our descent so you are not allowed to go to the bathroom then, it doesn’t matter if you’re about to get Toxic Shock Syndrome.
So I’m sitting there thinking I’m on the verge of Toxic Shock Syndrome which made the fact that I missed the first flight seem totally irrelevant because I was going to die from my festering tampon. And I know that when I get off the plane in Omaha I have to bust my butt to get to the podium so that I can hopefully get right back on the same Meat Locker plane and head for Denver in like 15 minutes so I’m not sure I’m going to have time to go to the airport bathroom in Omaha so what am I going to do I’m going to die from Toxic Shock Syndrome so I’m wondering if I’m going to have to use my Awesome Girl Skills to pull off the same neat trick I did all those years ago riding in that guys car.
And I’m looking out the window at the Nebraska landscape that is VERY BROWN and full of crop circle looking patterns. Some of them look like rabbits. It looks like a very ugly brown quilt.
And then we land. And since I am in the last row with my 80’s girl friend I am the last person off the plane. But HALLELUJAH I get a seat on the next flight (which just so happens to be next to the SAME 80’s girl, ironic) and I also manage to get into the bathroom and remove the offending tampon AND hit the snack bar for a granola, fruit and yogurt parfait since all I’d had all day was an oatmeal raisin granola bar. And I made it home and I didn’t have Toxic Shock Syndrome.
As far as I know anyway….