One of my company's Vice Presidents was urinating in the space next to me today. I have no problem when a stranger or a peer is standing next to me, but I've noticed I generally have a hard time going to the bathroom when a superior is next to me. It's a mental block. In an instant my confidence is shaken, and I'm made to look like unsure little boy.
I'm aware of this limitation, and oftentimes I challenge myself. It's true, I've managed a weak stream while conversating with the CEO. My sporatic piddle was a big step, but didn't merit celebration. I'm sure that my manhood has been questioned throughout upper-management because of this very issue.
Today I had my chance for redemption. Today I was destroyed. It was the sports equivalent of getting blown out by the third string in the Super Bowl, but instead of going home, being forced to go with the team to Disneyland.
First of all, I really had to go. This wasn't a time wasting move. My mid-morning water binge had just ended, and I had between 72 and 84 ounces ready to roll. I walked in to the empty bathroom, and chose the taller of the two urinals.
Just as I unclasped my belt, I heard the door swing open and the confident steps of a man that had flanked someone in the men's room hundreds, if not thousands of times. I'd been here before, I'd overcome bigger demons, but I never could have prepared for what came next.
My stare was fixated on the grout between the off white tiles, but it was clear that both of his hands were busy doing something, and it was above the belt. I had been standing above the urinal for thirty seconds now, and nothing was coming.
My embarrassment would have been worse, but it was clouded by astonishment. He was writing an email on his blackberry, while peeing. I was looking, but I wasn't. I'd already pushed bathroom etiquete far enough, I was standing idly next to another man while he used the restroom.
He finished - I hadn't started.
I knew the second he walked away I would be back to normal, but he didn't walk away. He glanced at me, and then back to his blackberry. If I were to smile at this point, out of the absurdity of the situation, I'm certain I would have been escorted out of the building for sexual harassment. He had finished using the restroom, with no hands, but he hadn't finished his email.
I waited, shifting my focus to the recently polished stainless steel plumbing, but it didn't matter. I was devastated. I sensed the cold sweat of embarassment coming, and I had to leave. He was fully aware that I'd stood next to him, urineless, for probably two minutes. I turned around, washed my hands and returned to my cubicle.
I'm all for career advancement, but if this is what it takes to become a Vice President - I'll pass.