Appliance Malfunction

I just got up to Cleveland, where I’m spending the weekend before my ileostomy reversal surgery on Monday. Tomorrow (Friday) I have a few appointments, but otherwise I’m planning to just relax, read, and maybe tie up a few loose ends from work. Alexis and Addie didn’t come with me — cases are spiking in Ohio and there’s not much they’d have been able to do up here other than sit around the Airbnb (not much fun for a two-year-old).

I’ve been meaning to share a somewhat hilarious story from a few weeks ago. I’ll admit, when it happened I was fairly mortified — but it was only a matter of minutes afterward that I was laughing.

It was a Saturday afternoon, and the three of us were at the park near our house. Addie was on the swings, among her favorite places in the world, and I was pushing her. Another kid was on the swing set next to ours, his mom pushing him. I noticed her glancing over in my direction a few times, like she saw something odd, but I didn’t think much of it. I’ve gotten used to having the bottom of my bag peeking out from under my shirt, or a bulge from it showing, and having it catch someone’s eye. I figured that must be it.

A few minutes later, however, I happened to glance down at the ground, and in the process I caught a glimpse of my legs and feet. I’ll spare you the imagery, but let’s just say that a bag malfunction had occurred, and it was a really bad day to be wearing light gray sweatpants and gray shoes. No wonder the poor woman next to us was giving me funny looks.

Horrified, I spun around to face away from the swings and called Alexis over. Her face was pretty priceless when she saw my disaster. The funniest part? At our park, the swings are located at the back of the playground area, farthest from the entrance. I had no choice but to walk through a dozen families in order to exit the playground and traipse across the rest of the park (a wave and a heart sign from Alexis got me through that part) and up the half block to our house. “Maybe they didn’t notice; people don’t pay as much attention as you think they do, when you’re feeling self-conscious,” you might say. While I appreciate the sentiment, my situation in this particular case was un-missable.

Anyway, I made it home and walked behind our house to our back patio area. I took off all my clothes, chucked most of them, and then went downstairs and threw my Patagonia jacket (salvageable, thankfully) into the washer. I took a quick shower, collapsed on the couch, and finally laughed my ass off.

I’m not sure this post has much of a point, so I apologize if you were hoping for something insightful. How’s this: Sometimes in life, you just have to walk through a crowd, covered in shit, doing your best to smile, hold your head high, and remember that you’ll laugh about it after.

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