A Life Lesson in Preparedness

By: Shannon Ralph

 

Generally speaking, I am not a big fan of the Boy Scouts of America due to their stance on gay people. I am, however, a firm believer in their motto. “Be prepared.” Like generations of Boy Scouts before me, I pride myself on being prepared for any situation life decides to throw my way. I consider myself a go-with-the-flow kind of girl. Always ready. Always up for an adventure. Always prepared.

That being said, I found myself unprepared in the worst of ways yesterday. I did something that I honestly cannot remember ever doing in my adult life. Imagine my surprise when, out of the blue, my own body turned on me and caught me completely off guard. Imagine the horror I felt standing in front of that shiny silver box hanging on the wall in the women’s restroom buying a….gasp….sanitary napkin from a glorified vending machine.

Yes, you read that right. My own body betrayed me and decided to throw me for a loop a full four days before I expected the arrival of my special friend. I was caught completely and totally off guard with no tampon in my bag. No pad. No Depends undergarment. Nothing that could assist me with the unexpected intruder. Nor did I have a quarter. That’s right. No sanitary supplies and no quarter with which to purchase one. I rummaged through my bag. I rummaged through my desk drawers. I even checked the wee corners of the underside of my desk where change has been known to roll and rest. Nothing. A drawer full of nickels and dimes, but not a quarter in sight. I ended up having to ask a coworker to trade me a quarter for two dimes and a nickel. “Having trouble with the vending machine?” “Ummm….yea. Sure.”

I grabbed the quarter from her and stealthily made my way to the restroom with the shiny coin safely ensconced in the palm of my hand. I did a quick scan of the bathroom. Though there were women occupying the stalls, no one was loitering around the box on the wall. Now was my chance to do this quickly and discreetly. I stood in front of the machine. There were three options. Sanitary Napkin. Shield. Tampon. I was intrigued by the word “shield.” I envisioned Captain American himself swooping in to save the day, shield in hand. Or perhaps this shield was more akin to the Roman gladiators of old. Perhaps if I chose to purchase a shield, Russell Crowe would bust into the bathroom, muscles bulging and oily, and save me from my untimely visitor. After careful deliberation, I decided against the shield. Russell Crow really isn’t my type, anyway.

I briefly considered the tampon, but being unsure of exactly what would emerge from the shiny box, I decided against it. I am a bit of a tampon connoisseur. A bit of a tampon snob, if you will. Let’s just say I am picky about width, breadth, and depth. So I decided against purchasing the unknown brand of tampon with my one and only quarter. It was a gamble I was not willing to take.

I placed my quarter into the slot marked “Sanitary Napkin” and turned the knob. Out popped a box. A large box. As a matter of fact, the box was large enough that I could not conceal it in both hands. And it was not some innocuous, nondescript shade of beige, as one would expect and hope for. No. It was purple. It was screaming purple. Loud, raging, Minnesota Vikings purple. There would be no missing or misplacing that box.

I quickly sprinted to the stalls to dispose of the flashy box. To my horror, all three stalls were occupied. Seriously?! I stood outside the stalls, forming a line of one. Willing the occupants to hurry the hell up. Pleading with them via the same mommy mind meld I use on my children to flush the toilet and get their asses out of the bathroom to allow me some privacy. As with my children, my powers of mental persuasion were pretty much impotent.

Eventually, after sweating it out for longer than I would think any adult female needs to occupy a bathroom stall, one of the stalls opened up. I practically pushed the smiling woman out of the way in my charge toward the toilet. Safely hidden behind a stall wall, I finally allowed myself to look at the box that I just purchased. The brand of sanitary napkin was one I had never heard of. It was large. Long. Quite reminiscent of the preemie diapers my twins wore when they were little. I was a bit leery about putting “Bob’s Pad” near my nether regions. I did, however, voice a quick sigh of relief at my decision not to purchase “Bob’s Tampon.” That would have probably put me over the edge. I placed the preemie diaper into its correct place and quickly left the restroom. I spent the remainder of the day trying to resist the urge to constantly readjust the diaper I was wearing by tugging on my underwear in a most UN-lady-like fashion.

Moral of the story: Be prepared. Like generations of Boy Scouts before you, carry a tampon in your bag. Wait…no. That’s not right. Oh well…something like that.

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