My thighs were sticking together.
I am sure a rash was happening.
The friction of skin upon skin, creating a burn like Sin.
Being in one of the most social of lady places; the bathroom, I queried another female patron.
“Do you have any powder, by chance?”
Answering the question with an action, she pulled a large zip-loc bag out of her purse.
“I need just enough to dry out my lack of thigh gap.” I respond with more dryness than my pasty but saturated Vaginal neighbors.
“Ohhh, hunny.. this aint’t talc… It’s coke.”
Immediately, I imagine the options of relief.
“Too expensive for my needs, but I bet the numbing sensation is worth it;” imagining the potential, I add ” I need four miles worth of ‘numb’ dryness.”
She queries, “Four miles?”
I am pretty sure at this point she is already coked out and her brain is having a hard time equivocating.
“Yeah… four miles home. I think by cab that is about fifteen bucks… and that just seems too much to me, for this podunk town….. too much, even though, I… Even though I am having this issue.” At this point I am attempting to handle the pain with a smile… I am a liar, and this shit hurts.
Eyebrows cocked, head tilted, she questions, ” An issue?”
“A woman’s issue…”
She looks incredulous for a moment until a spark of understanding, spreads over her already tightened facial muscles.
“OOOoooohhh, Auntie Flo!”
I see she is now slightly softened by compassion and understanding.
“Uhmm… No.” I can’t help but pause, acknowledging that if that WAS the case, it would be the least of my concerns; and that is why God made toilet paper.
“No?” She repeats, but with a sense of fear… like maybe I will tell her I just found breast cancer, or one of my ovarian cysts just escaped.
“No. I have heinous thigh sweat, and…uhm… massive chaffing.” I don’t know why I am so ashamed of saying this in front of a person carrying enough cocaine to be indicted on a felony, but it is how I respond, nonetheless.
“oh. OH. OooooOOHHHHhhh!” Images percolate in her mind and her eyes get big. I like that she seems to REALLY “get it”.
“Oh, hunny… that’s rough!”
Without losing a beat… I say,
“No, it’s RAW!”
I have pulled her into coke induced empathy, and she nods knowingly. “Yeah… whew, them’s the pits.”
On a roll, I say “More like the crevasses.”
Still feeling a bit desperate and despondent about returning to the bar, I ask ” So, do you have anything else in that big, magic bag that might help me?”
She begins the notorious “Puffy Purse Scavenger Hunt.” Digging deep in its depths for something significant or (in her mind) useful.
” Uhm, well, how about…Preparation H? err… uh.. Advil?”
By the looks of it, she has a whole different set of ‘women’s issues’; the pain, numbing my verbal filter, causes me to outwardly express as much.
I am disappointed AND defeated, but she is quick to respond, “Damn straight! I do! And I don’t leave my house ill prepared.”
God Jeebus, she must be a Virgo… I know what she is talking about, because USUALLY, I AM that lady (minus large zip-lock bags filled with illegal substances).
Agitated with my observations, I add in a whisper of “apparently…” with far too much judgement and sarcasm.
An awkward silence ensues, and I find this to be prime time to exit stage left. Besides, she doesn’t have what I need, anyway.
Betcha if I needed a safety pin, there would be one floating around in there.
Maybe, just maybe, this is my fault.
Maybe, if I was at a family restaurant, instead of this dark bar, I would have better luck with my needs.
Maybe under other circumstances I could find a nice overweight and sympathetic mother… with a small baby, and an overstuffed baby bag.
And I would ask for her help… and she would reach deep into that well stocked baby bag of hers, and pull out just ONE of ten travel size baby powder bottles; and she would hand it over with loving care, and say “Keep it. You know you’re going to need a reapplication some where down the road.”
And she would wink at me, maybe even squeeze my hand or my shoulder and I would feel safe, protected and loved.
I would respond with a smile and a humble “Thank you”; thinking my good Karma must be returning in the form of self preservation, and I would walk home properly powdered.
Instead of looking for a family restaurant, with a responsible mother carrying a plentiful baby bag; I walked back into the bar intent on the only legal numbing I know… whiskey.
They know me here and the bartender asks if I will take another double Jameson on the rocks. I say “yes and add on a pint of Fat Tire.”
My favorite short order Cook sits to my right, and says “I’ve got those, put ’em on my tab.”
“Oh you don’t have to do that… I’ve got it.” I respond with a shyness.
“Nah, you gave that warm knit hat that you made, to my friend who was sick… and that hat kept her head and ears warm all winter.”
I can’t argue with such kind logic, and thank him for the drinks.
My good Karma is not in fact going to self preservation right now; or maybe it is, it’s just my momentary perspective…. I do need these drinks right now, if only to distract my brain from the chub rub forming on my inner thighs.
“Well, thanks again. I really appreciate it.”
And I do appreciate it as I slip out the back door to the patio; to go think some more about perspective.
The Zen Buddhists say to “judge nothing.” To see all as life, without duality.
So I adopt this perspective for the moment and take a long swig of whiskey. I hold it in my mouth for a while, letting the alcohol drench all of my taste buds. Slowly, I swallow it’s gentle burn down my throat.
I let the alcohol sit in my mouth like a tincture; letting the medicinal properties seep into the porous membrane of my mouth, allowing the liquid to cross the blood brain barrier and stimulate an exquisite release of dopamine.
Anyone observing may think I am contemplating the “swallow.” Wondering why my process is less smooth and desperate as their own, as they urgently suckle the heads of bottles containing weak watery beer. They drink it like they need water, like a hungry baby at the nipple.
I am outside, and no one is here. No one to watch or judge.
The air is thick with humidity and the clouds compound into a thick grayness above; growing heavy with precipitation, the thunder begins to take over.
I smile at the age old vision of God and his army of angels rolling bowling balls down an infinite bowling lane. Each roll of thunder, a ball. Each strike of lightening, the strike of all ten pins. After some time, it begins to hail. Perhaps this is a sign of a Heavenly game of 300, and the hail is celestial confetti falling to Earths floor.
The hoots and hollers, vibrating clouds, reverberate the cheers of a job well done. The Heavenly Team has won the League Championship.
Unbeknownst to them, we sit below like ants; watching as our flowers are beat free of their petals and our cars become dented with new geography.
A few people now have gathered beneath the rain shelter. We chat about the weather, avoiding conversations that dig much deeper. It’s okay… I didn’t come for more than distraction from my physical malady; which I have almost successfully mastered, until I again remind myself of the impending four miles. Four Miles… for miles.
I take the last drink of whiskey, and chew on a couple of ice cubes as I stand to take my first apprehensive steps toward home.