Friday, September 30, 2011

Peeing in a Cup

I am a woman. I am happy being a woman. Despite the whole menstrual cycle and cramps and bloating and childbirth thing, I can still confidently say that I am thrilled to have been born a woman. Despite the glass ceiling and sexism and sharing a gender with Michelle Bachmann, I am still happy I am a women. Seldom do I wish I was man. Actually, almost never do I wish I had been born a man. Never, that is, with one small exception. Drug tests. When I am spread eagle precariously balanced on a toilet with a cup in my hand trying desperately to navigate my stream into the cup rather than all over my hand, then—and only then—do I wish I had been born a man. Men are custom-built for peeing in a cup. Their nozzles are designed for that exact purpose—to get liquid into a small vessel. My lady parts, on the other hand, are spewers. I haven't spent years perfecting my aim as men have. I, and women the world over, are really at an unfair disadvantage when it comes to urine collection.

So why the urine talk? I had to go in to get a drug test for my new job this week. I naively thought it would be a quick in and out experience. I made my way to Edina to the lab, only to find a tiny waiting room crammed full with about twenty-five people also waiting to pee in a cup. It's amazing the diversity of the human experience you will encounter in a waiting-to-pee waiting room. All walks of life are represented. Every nationality. Every race. From the impeccably-dressed African American man to my right to the freckle-faced teenager across from me who texted the entire time she was there to the construction worker who was there with his manager—who, by the way, had no qualms about announcing loudly that his worker was there for a blood alcohol level. We were all there for a singular purpose. To pee.

I was surprised when I only had to wait thirty minutes before my name as called. I expected it to be much longer from the looks of the waiting room. I was taken back to a room where I was asked to lock up my purse and wash my hands. I chose my own pee cup that the attendant—I'm not really sure what the term is for the pee collector—opened for me. I was then taken to the bathroom where the attendant put a tablet in the toilet to turn the water bright blue. I was informed I could put toilet paper in the toilet but, under no circumstances, could I flush. I felt like a druggie. A suspected felon.

The attendant left me to my task and I attempted my awkward and uncomfortable balancing act. Nothing happened. I sat there. Nothing happened. I sat there longer than I suspect is normal, thereby perpetuating my guilty felon feeling. I couldn't do it. Mere droplets landed on my hand—my hand I had been informed I was not allowed to wash until the urine had been measured and packaged for delivery. I had performance anxiety. Rather, my bladder had a bad case of performance anxiety. I simply cannot pee on demand. In my defense, I have a tiny urethra. Twice in my life—once as a child and once as an adult—I have had to have a balloon procedure performed to widen my urethra. That's probably too much information. Sorry. But considering that my urethra is one of the only “tiny” parts of my body, I am proud of it. I will sing to the mountaintops about my tiny urethra. I may have a big ass, but I have a slender and sexy urethra. But I digress. Suffice it to say that peeing on demand is not one of my strong suits.

The attendant informed me that I would have to wait thirty minutes before trying again. I took the walk of shame back to the waiting room and was pointed in the direction of the water cooler. I was informed to drink 4-5 cups of water and wait. So I did just that. I waited. I drank. I watched the young couple to the left of me kiss and flirt and giggle and nuzzle noses. For God's sake—this is a pee room, not a hotel room! I listened to the obviously drunk construction worker telling his boss he hadn't had a sip. I watched as new people joined our happy little group as everyone else was called back only to emerge a few minutes later and leave. I was obviously the only one working on my second try. And I drank. I drank five cups full of icy cold water.

Finally, thirty minutes had passed and I got a second shot at it. We went through the same routine. Lock purse up. Wash hands. Pick a cup. Blue dye in toilet. Shut the door. The attendant needed me to fill the cup to the 45 mark. 45 milliliters? 45 cc? Isn't a milliliter and a cc the same thing? I don't know. I just know I needed to hit the line marked 45. The second time, I filled it to a paltry 40. Then my bladder panicked. It went into hiding. It had nothing left to give me.

A second embarrassing time, I was walked to the waiting room. This time, I was informed to wait 45 minutes. And to drink. More water. I felt as though I was going to float away. I was informed that if I left the waiting room, it would be considered a refusal of the drug test. So I hung out with my drinking friends. As I was drinking the water and enjoying the pitying glances of my peeing cohorts, I looked down and noticed that my fingers were blue. Apparently, during my last balancing act on the toilet, my fingers had come in contact with the blue dye in the toilet. So there I sat, looking like a disgraced Smurf chugging water like I was at a keg party. Not my finest moment.

Eventually, I did pee. On the third try. As a matter of fact, after a total of nine cups of water, I peed enough to fill four cups. And my urine was crystal clear. Like the finest bottled spring water. After two solid hours at the lab, I was finally free to leave. Free at last. Free at last. Thank God Almighty, I was free at last.

Moral of the story: Fight your urge to be jealous of me. A slender, sexy urethra is not all it's cracked up to be.


Madgew said...

Shannon, this is one of the funniest stories I have read in a while. I am like you and can't pee on demand so I drink so much before I leave that if I had to wait 30 minutes I would bust. I too have awful aim and on some occasions I have missed the cup altogether and had to start over. Or I get such a paltry amount that it is hard to even dip the stick in for the test. Me and peeing in a cup are not simpatico. I loved your story today and can imagine it all right to the blue fingers.

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