Wednesday, December 10, 2008

When Nature Calls

Yep, you guessed it.  This entry is about what to do "when nature calls" and you are the only one working.  Frankly, before I worked at the bookstore, I never really considered this dilemma for employees of small shops.  When working alone, what do you do when you have to use the facilities?  Do you say, "Pardon me Madam, but I have to excuse myself for a moment." Or do you deny nature, ending up uncomfortable and with a possible bladder infection?  Or do you do what I did?  Make a break for it when no one's around and hope for the best.

I was working alone one evening.  It was quiet.  No customers.  I checked outside the window. No one was approaching on the sidewalk.  So I ran.  Quick as I could, I took care of nature's call. Then, after quickly washing up, I jumped back into the store to see if anyone had appeared while I was indisposed.  It was quiet.  I had not heard the bell on the door jingle.  I was alone.

I breathed a sigh of relief.  I had accomplished my goal without any problem.  I felt a bit leisurely for a moment.  I brushed my hair.  I put on chap stick.  As I was rubbing on hand lotion, I heard a small "ahem."  My heart clenched.  I was NOT alone!   Someone had come in while I was in the bathroom and was waiting for me as I primped and preened.

I ran back into the store.  "Oh.  I'm so sorry!  I didn't realize anyone was here.  How can I help you?"  I felt embarrassed.  This woman so obviously knew what I was up to and was probably embarrassed herself to interrupt me.  But, fortunately her universal sound for "excuse me" had gotten my attention.

I helped her find the book she was looking for and she left happy with her purchase.  I laughed to myself (and at myself) when she was gone.  What a goofy thing.  But such is life in a small store.  You do what you have to do.  And I did.  

I just hope next time, I realize someone is there right away.  Or better yet, I make it back out before anyone even knows.  Or I could always make a little sign that says "Back in 3 minutes" and lock the door.  

Whatever I decide to do, I'll remind myself to not feel embarrassed.  Life happens.  Nature calls and you have to respond.