This is where a string of emojis would come in handy or all caps OMG across this page. I reached back and could feel the Charmin streamer.
“Thank you,” I managed to say as I slid my chair back and almost knocked her over in my rush. “You were very brave, and I am very grateful.” I grabbed my purse (no laptops either back then) and headed for the restroom, past the girls who were about to explode with laughter, but also searching my face to see if indeed I was mad. The good news is that there was nothing on the paper and even better news—there was no one else in the café to witness my humiliation. When I came out of the bathroom, the girls had had another round of laughs; one was wiping the tears from her face with her sleeve.
Unknown girls but you get the picture!I admit to having a hard time concentrating on my writing after that, reliving the what ifs: What if I’d walked down Main Street with my “flag flying?” What if the streamer wasn’t pristine? What if I see these girls again and they collapse in laughter? I waited until the café was completely empty, put my notebook and file back in my bag, and departed with my dignity nearly intact. It would be years before leaving a restroom I didn’t take one final glance back in the mirror to make sure I was without a streamer. And want to give a decades-late shout out to the nice teen who either drew the short straw of who is going to tell her or was ready to be brave and kind. Why am I telling you this? I believe that there is an unspoken social contract we make with our fellow humanoids. We either tell them that—their pants are unzipped, they have a bit of spinach in their teeth, or a toilet paper streamer is waving in the breeze. Or, we don’t mention it. We, the social contract keepers are a noble bunch, even fearless. Who knows how someone will react? Those who don’t keep up the social contract, should suffer spinach in their teeth or sit on a barstool with their fly unzipped! There are even books about the social contract and spinach.