Caught With My Pants Down (Le Pee Pee)
In 1989 I was teaching large clinics and performing exhibitions in many different cities throughout France. Being young and naïve, I had not yet set touring guidelines or boundaries. I was obliging to every request presented; which resulted in many absurd scenarios and outlandish adventures . . .
I was in the far north of France where I had just concluded a ten hour clinic and quirky exhibition of my most recent performance freestyle. I was exhausted, famished and freezing.
As I layered on my 2 sweatshirts, coat, extra pair of socks and 2 warm-up pants I was approached by the events organizer.
She had a thick accent and tried to sound jovial about the news she was delivering. “OK! Great work. And now you will go with this nice man and his wife. They will drive you to the next city for your clinic tomorrow. It is unfortunate, but they speak no English.”
“That’s alright.” I responded. “Are we going to get something to eat now?”
She continued enthusiastically, “Oh yes, yes. Oui, of course, we have packed you some good things to eat in the car.”
I thought maybe I misunderstood. “Did you say I’m eating in the car?”
She cleared her throat and looked a bit guilty. “Uh, yes, the next clinic begins at 8:00am in the south of France. It is already past 11:00pm and it is a nine hour drive.”
WHAT!!! I needed no more explanation. Obviously it had been decided that it was more cost efficient to drive nine hours than to purchase an airline ticket.
As I squeezed in to the back of the European micro-car I groaned. Under my many layers of outerwear I still had on my leotard and tights. My hair was pulled up in a taut bun with scores of bobby pins jabbing my skull, and I had performance make-up caked on top of a full days worth of sweat.
Not one to complain, I settled in and prepared to make the best of things. I unraveled my bun and used napkins and hand lotion to remove the gunk from my face. I peered into my dinner bag and discovered 2 boiled eggs, a piece of bread and a large bottle of water.
As the little car sped down the highway I devoured my rations and guzzled down the entire bottle of water. After licking up every last drop I curled into a ball on the miniscule back seat and tried to sleep.
A few hours had passed and I abruptly woke to an uncomfortable situation. My legs had cramped, my neck was aching from being bent to the side and I really, REALLY needed to urinate.
“Ex-cu-say moi”, I began, “I’m sorry to bother you, but I really need to use the bathroom!” Both of my escorts looked at me, clueless as to what I was requesting. “Uuuuhhh . . . Je need to le pee pee NOW!” I stated urgently.
“Oh! Le Pee Pee”, they repeated. “Oui! Le Pee Pee”, I confirmed.
We drove and searched in the blackness for any signs of accommodations, but it was 3:00am and we were in the middle of nowhere. The little car moved on and my situation became more urgent. I couldn’t wait another moment when I spotted what appeared to be a rest stop with a lone semi-truck parked in the darkness. Frantically, I gestured for my hosts to pull over.
They parked near the semi-truck and I popped out of the car, into the freezing, black night to seek a toilet. As I searched I began disrobing under my thick clothing. I took my arms out of the sleeves of the 2 sweatshirts and peeled the top of my leotard down to my waist. To my dismay, there was no structure and I quickly made the best decision I could under the dire circumstances.
Looking about nervously I tugged down my 2 pair of sweatpants, the cumbersome tights and leotard and then I squatted, precariously balanced, behind the rear wheel of the semi-truck.
My ass stung in the frigid air.
The many pants restrained my movement and my arms were tucked in, crossed over my chest, while my sleeves hung limp to the ground. I had pulled my sweatshirt over my legs, creating a constraining tent for warmth. As my teeth chattered uncontrollably, my eyes darted back and forth like a trapped animal, hoping my chauffer and his wife were not witnessing this embarrassment.
It felt like an eternity before my body cooperated and I, at last, began to relieve my aching bladder. I was very focused on trying not to get myself wet when I was stunned by the roar of an ignition and choked by a huge cloud of exhaust.
A bright red taillight blinded me. I tilted my head, diligently scrutinizing my situation. When the breaks hissed I had no more time for contemplation and my flight instincts kicked in. Still squatted, with the many pants shackling my legs and my arms tightly crossed inside my shirts, I began frantically shuffling sideways, away from the rear wheel in to the open parking area.
I watched in horror as the truck backed up.
Feeling like a hunted, mutant rabbit I began to hop as fast as I could. My legs cramped and I couldn’t stand up. I was squealing, whimpering, and scurrying in a frenzied attempt to escape the ultimate embarrassment . . . becoming road-kill with my pants down.
The truck continued to maneuver around the lot as I sustained my crazed and futile hopping, unable to find refuge. I pondered my fate and hoped that it would be painless when the truck made its final turn.
As it rounded the corner the headlights illuminated the parking area. I could see the confusion on the drivers face as I opened my mouth and screamed louder than I ever had before . . . or since.
Unable to identify the object blocking his way, he instantly hit the floodlights.
Emblazoned on the front of my sweatshirt was a giant “A” with the phrase, American Dream, proudly scrolled across the middle of it.
The shocking visual of my squatty, tented body and screaming head, illuminated in the spotlight, frightened the trucker beyond measure. Through the windshield I heard him emit a horrified yelp and he began screaming with fervor.
At this point, my spectators frantically emerged from the tiny car and joined the shrieking chorus.
There is no graceful end to this story.
The wife ran to my aid, still screeching.
I stood up, pants at my ankles.
The trucker honked his giant horn unabashedly in our faces, as a large puddle gleamed brilliantly in the spotlight, steam rising in the frigid night air.
The teeny car pulled silently back on to the highway. I didn’t sleep a wink for the rest of the trip. About five minutes after leaving the scene, I started to laugh. It didn’t take long before my hosts joined in.
Although we did not share a language, we had the most intimate and hilarious conversation imaginable. For nearly 5 hours we intermittently howled as we kept repeating to one another . . . “Le Pee Pee!”