A good conversation starter is the question: “What is your most embarrassing moment?”
My trouble, when asked this question, is narrowing it down to one. I have had numerous humiliating moments over the last 29 years. Some are due to klutzy phases and others are well…just me. Ranking in my top five would be the traumatic Friday night, junior year of high school.
I was a cheerleader for Hamilton High, and we were at an “away” football game. Fourth quarter came to a close with our boys taking the win. It was time to pack up and load the buses for home. I knew it was a distance and should use the restroom before we left. But they didn’t have proper toilet facilities.
They had Port-O-Johns.
Stepping inside, two things automatically greeted me. Stench and Darkness. Only a little ray of moonlight peeked inside through a vent at the top. Nevertheless, I sucked it up and got the job done. I wanted to get out as quick as possible. Turning the lever to unlock, I pushed the door. It didn’t open. I shoved harder. Still, it didn’t budge.
My heart rate increased. I turned the lock the other way, wondering if I had done it wrong. Giving the door the old heave ho, I slammed my weight into it. It didn’t open…not even a crack.
Sweat formed on my brow. I listened to see if anyone was around. I didn’t hear voices. My mind speed-dialed panic. I’m trapped! Everyone is getting on the bus, and they won’t notice me missing. Between the horrid smell and the bitter taste of dread, a wire tripped inside my brain and the craziness kicked in. At the top of my lungs, I yelled, “Help! Help Me! I’m stuck in here! Please, help me!” I didn’t hear anyone coming. My heart chugged like a locomotive. Tears edged to the surface. Merciful heavens, no one is coming. I’m stuck in this disgusting hole and nobody is coming to my rescue! I kicked the door, pounded it with my fists, and screamed for help.
My eyes darted around the John, looking for another way out. I studied the vent. It was small, but maybe I could push it out and stick my head through it. Then, I could see if anyone was still here. Standing on the toilet lid, I prepared to punch the screen when the door clicked and swung open.
There stood Angie, a fellow cheerleader, and the other members of my cheer squad.
I scrambled out of the Port-O-Prison. “Oh Angie, thank you for getting the door open.”
“It wasn’t hard.” She crossed her arms and grinned. “How did you manage to lock yourself in there?”
My eyes were wide from the horror. “I don’t know. It wouldn’t budge and I thought you guys were going to leave me.”
The girls broke out into heaps of laughter. “No, we didn’t leave. Everyone heard you screaming.”
…That was the day I became known as…the “Port-O-Captive.”