Do you ever get a sudden and terrifying feeling when your lower intestine starts rumbling with a sound similar to a Harley-Davidson motorcycle and you have exactly seven minutes to find a bathroom? This usually happens to me when I’m in the center seat on a crowded airplane, or in a foreign country on a bus with no water closet, or being introduced to give a keynote speech.
It’s obvious that mischievous gremlins have invaded and sabotaged my body. They meet weekly in the Rumpus Room at the far corner of my brain. Gimlet, the Grand Supreme Potentate of the Gremlins, gleefully distributes the assignments:
“Winkie, she’s got an important meeting on Tuesday. Cause her to trip and fall down in front of everyone.”
“Chuckles, it’s your turn to give her uncontrollable flatulence during Friday’s funeral.”
“Hullabaloo, she’s planning to travel Monday so fire up that irritable bowel syndrome.”
The gremlins giggle and give each other high-five salutes before they scatter to accomplish their duties. I am pressured but helpless to change their agenda. My only recourse is to know the location of every public bathroom within a 50 mile radius, carry the medications necessary to quell raging indigestion, and know how to conclude a presentation that leaves the audience laughing while I dash to the nearest exit.
Over the years, I’ve grown accustomed to the random assaults by my personal Gremlin Gang. The naughty rascals moved in when I was around ten years old and have progressively enhanced their devious activities. Sometimes I manage to fool them. “Oh, dear,” I moan. “Looks like my trip was canceled.” Then I rush to the airport and arrive at my destination before they realize they have been tricked. Then they unleash a volatile venue of vile and vengeful maladies. But by then I’ve already found a comfortable chair near the bar and within running distance to the bathroom. Ha!
Occasionally I’ll see another frantic middle-aged woman with that distraught look on her face that says move out of the way or die. I nod in sympathy and let her pass. We all have our own gremlins to endure. I wonder what Gimlet, Winkie, Chuckles, and Hullabaloo have schemed for me next week.