How do I get myself into these situations? Is there a secret world plot against me, do I have my head in the clouds, or do these things happen to everyone else and I’m the only one talking about them? Each time I see this photo in my cloud server it makes me laugh, so on this dark dreary day in Poland I thought I would share a laugh with you as well.
The year is 2001, just ten years after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and freedom in Poland. It was a time of rapid growth yet the infrastructure struggled to keep pace. I had just expanded my business, opening a second location in Lodz, Poland. I know, sounds kind of crazy, but Lodz is the birthplace of my husband. One of his long time school friends was interested in a joint venture so we agreed and opened a replica of my Portland, Maine store in Poland.
It was pretty exciting, I felt pretty international, and certainly was proud of myself. It was something I had always dreamt of. The timing was perfect. The international trade show was upon us so I was able to fly over to Germany (where the trade show was taking place) and meet up with one of the partners (a husband and wife team).
The show, was of course gorgeous, and it was a lovely few days spent getting to know my counterpart in a foreign country. We decided to take the bus back to Poland as we were able to get a better connection. It was a long distance to go by bus but it seemed like a good idea at the time. I can’t for the life of me figure out what the hell we were thinking but we made it in one piece, well not really.
The bus was full. My partner and I sat together. She spoke no English, nor did anyone else on the bus. Now that I think about, I find my most precious or precarious stories are the ones where I am the “token American.” Everything seemed to be going great. The movie that was playing on the tv screens was Shrek, but it was in Polish and the bus, full of all adults, was in a roar of laughter. The movie screens were real tvs and not video screens, you know the ones, small and fat bodied? Remember it’s 2001.
It was pitch black outside and it was the middle of January. There was snow on the ground and it was bitter cold. The road was filled with pot holes and there was not a light or another car, bus or truck to be seen. At one time the pot hole was so big that my body went flying out of my seat and my head actually touched the ceiling of the bus and one of the tvs fell from the ceiling crashing to the floor.
The passengers got up and started screaming at the bus driver. I was frightened. I thought for sure someone was going to start to throw punches but thankfully everyone contained themselves. It was over a ten hour ride with several stops along the way.
The first of which was at a restaurant. Everyone was told to leave the bus and go inside. My partner and I ordered some food and quickly ate it, not really knowing when we were leaving. Soon after the bus driver motioned us to go to the bus. So off we went, filing in and sitting back down in our seats.
A few miles down the road, one of the passengers started screaming. I had no idea what was going on. Finally, I figured out that at our last stop the bus driver left someone behind. I thought that stuff only happened in the movies, well now I know where they get their ideas from. Mind you we are on a two lane road, pitch black in the middle of absolutley no where. The driver slams on the breaks and proceeds to turn the bus around, screaming his head off.
Half an hour later we arrive back at the restaurant and the passenger gets on the bus and he and the driver have a big arguement. Tension overload. My nerves were shot. But shortly after, everyone settled down and off we went. With full bellies most people fell asleep while others sat chatting like it was two in the afternoon.
Several hours past and the bus begins to slow down and pulls off the road. No lights anywhere. Where are we, what is going on? The door to the bus opens and my partner motions me to get off the bus. I am lead down a path where a brick building sits. It has one light on inside. We all stand outside in the pitch dark. Being the “token American” everyone pushes me to go first. I’m still not sure if they were being polite or they knew what was about to happen.
As I mentioned earlier, it was in the middle of winter. There certainly was no heat in the brick (pardon the expression) shit-house. I enter, freaking scared to death, turn and lock the door behind me. Everything looks good. It’s clean and there is toilet paper. Things are looking up.
I proceed to pull down my pants and have a seat. A full bottom seat, you know the kind where your whole ass is touching the seat. I know many of you won’t sit down in a public restroom but…I did. It was stainless steel. Do I have to go any further?
Have you ever tried to lick an ice cube and your tongue stuck to it? Or maybe you did a dare as a kid to stick your tongue onto a piece of metal and you couldn’t release it? Hmmmmmm…well you get the picture. That was my lovely little bottom. I was stuck. Totally and completely stuck. I couldn’t move. Each time I tried, I ripped off another piece of skin. I couldn’t yell because no one could understand me or even get in through the steel door.
I sat there trying to move my bottom back and forth. Around and around to dislodge myself. It was horrific. What was supposed to be a quick little pee, turned into a ten minute skin mutilating experience. By the time I stood up, there was a layer of skin on the seat that I attempted to remove before the next person arrived. I had to dip my hand in the toilet to be able to wet the seat and scrape off the skin. As I pulled my pants back on I could feel the raw skin brushing up against my underwear and pants. It was excrusiating.
Yet, I pulled my act together, cleaned up by body parts and left the building. Everyone was standing in a line looking as though they were about to rip me to shreds. Afterall, it was freezing outside. I was mortified and now everyone hated me. My ass was sore and ached everytime I made the least little movement. All I wanted to do was cry and was hoping that Scotty (from Starship Enterprise) could just beam me up and make this all go away.
I was never so happy to see the sun rise as the buss pulled into the station in Warsaw, where I knew I would have a nice hotel accommodation to soothe my raw skin. Oh my gosh, I can certainly laugh about this now. And yes, the skin on my derriere has all grown back.
Is there a silver lining to my experience? Sometimes laughter is all you can do. Never sit on a stainless steel toilet seat, ever. Maybe think of flying instead of the overnight bus….
Laughter is the key,
P.S. You’ve just got to share this. My ass will thank you!
Want to have these life altering experiences just like me??? I know you do??? Get going on setting your intention of living a joy filled life with my FREE on-line, self-guided program on How To Set An Intention.