My coworker and I laughed so hard that we cried. At least three times.
My work day ended with the photo above – me in my hotel bathroom, pantless, hand-washing my lone pair of work bottoms in the sink.
You should probably not keep reading, but if you’re feeling adventurous, then by all means – continue.
Before we delve into the story, I should give you some background. You clicked, and so I feel the need to remind you that you chose this path. I did not force this story on you. You still have time to bail. Please bail. Save yourself. This is my life, and there is no escaping it, but there’s still time for you.
Okay, whatever. You’re here. Hi. Hello. If you are a frequent and active reader of my blog (or participant in my life), you know that I am fairly shameless. You also probably know that I was very recently diagnosed as anemic. My anemia, according to my doctor, is most likely due to a change I noticed in my cycle this year. I have always had a very heavy period (I told you to leave – it’s not too late), but I got my first period over 15 years ago, and I have long since adapted to the idiosyncratic nature of my period. Being average is just not my thing – I have to go above and beyond, always. In the past 6 months or so, though, my period has moved even further from average. Back in January, there was a single night where I lost more blood than the average woman loses in 6 cycles, and my period lasted another 6 days after that. (Seriously, though – why are you still here?)
No wonder I’m anemic, right? Anyway, I chose to wait until my annual physical/exam in order to discuss the matter with my doctor, which was just a couple of weeks ago. She suggested that while my period has always been heavier than the average woman’s, it’s likely that this recent change in my cycle (and subsequent anemia) is due to a hormone imbalance, and a combination of hormonal birth control and iron supplementation should help sort out my issues in the next few cycles.
For anyone who isn’t aware (that likely means any poor dude that may still be reading this), you cannot begin a regimen of oral hormonal contraceptive until the Sunday after your period. Are you following along at home? This means that I cannot start regulating my body’s shitty hormones until after my next period ends.
One more American Pyscho period to go.
Which I got while flying across an ocean.
To a third world country.
In the middle of an early season heat wave.
I make it sound really fucking horrible, and to the uninitiated, it really should be. I would not wish my period upon any other woman. It’s pretty heinous. But I’ve adapted, and it’s more or less my normal now. I know how to read my body and my symptoms to prevent the worst scenarios from coming to fruition. There are three main causes for alarm.
Month. I know that every other cycle it gets really bad. January? Death. February? Tolerable. March? Murder scene. April? Pretty standard. What month is it? OH FUCK. IT’S MAY. I’M GONNA DIE.
Day of cycle. Usually the second and third days are the worst. After that, it’s smooth sailing. I got my period on Friday. Or was it Saturday? I don’t know. Time travel is confusing. I don’t have the hang of that quite yet. Regardless, the second and third days came and went (either Saturday + Sunday or Sunday + Monday), and nothing terrible happened. Maybe I was wrong about May? Maybe my hormones are sorting themselves out? I’m not one to question a gift from the gods.
Cramps. Cramps happen when your uterine muscles contract. When I get cramps, it is typically an indicator that I am about to experience rapid (and massive) blood loss, which, if you think about it, makes total sense. My uterine muscles are contracting, and my useless uterine lining is being shed with increasingly vigorous force. Cramps = floodgates opening. Fucking reproductive systems.
Now that you know as much about my uterus as my PCP, we can start the story in earnest.
Hanoi is not a huge city geographically, but it is very densely populated. The training that we are delivering is being conducted ~13 km from the hotel we’re staying in, but the ride takes about 40 minutes. The traffic here is insane, and I honestly have no idea how it moves at all, but there is such an elegant movement to it – slow, steady, and no sign of an accident anywhere. It’s a living, bbreathing organism made of motorbikes. Every morning, we meet our project liaison in the hotel lobby, get in a cab, and drive over to the forestry center together.
It’s May, so my period is supposed to be heinous, but I made it to Tuesday (day 4?) without any issues. I thought I was in the clear. I have been tracking my symptoms for years. Almost immediately upon sitting down in the cab, my cramps started. Meaning, “I need a bathroom in approximately 15 minutes or else I am doomed. And I am stuck in the most ridiculous traffic with no hope of a bathroom for another 30-40 minutes. So…. doomed.”
I played it cool. My cycle has been atypical for me for the past 6 months, so perhaps I was suddenly wrong about my symptoms. Maybe what had been true for the 15 years preceding that moment was suddenly untrue. Please. Please. Please. But also, I was wearing khaki pants (the only work pants that I brought on this trip), so clearly I was tempting fate. Hanoi has been ridiculously hot + humid, with temperatures well over 100 F. Is that blood? I’m sure it’s just sweat. It’s hot. So hot. It’s got to be sweat. I am a sweaty human. Yes. Sweat.
There is a gate at the entrance to the center. On Monday, we drove straight up to the building. On Wednesday, we drove straight up to the building. On Tuesday, we were stopped at the gate. “I’m very sorry – I know it’s hot, but we’ll have to walk from here.”
At this point, I knew what horrors awaited me. I was afraid to stand up let alone walk the 200 m from the cab into the center. Maybe if I walk with my legs closed super tightly together, it will all stay in…? Much like dropping into a black diamond run or jumping off a cliff into the ocean, it’s the anticipation of doing the thing that makes me more nervous than the thing itself. Just stand up, I told myself. Just stand up and get yourself to the bathroom. You can fix this in the bathroom.
Let me tell you something about standard water closets in Vietnam. Toilet paper is rarely present. Instead, water closets have hoses adjacent to the toilet for washing. This grosses some people out, but I’ve experienced worse (cockroach- and scorpion-infested latrines in Nicaragua, for one) – more than anything, this is just a cultural difference. I’m mindful enough, so it doesn’t present a problem. I either carry toilet paper or grab tissues/napkins before using the bathroom.
Back to the story. After standing up, I immediately beelined for the building. I dropped off my bag in the room we’re training in before grabbing some tissues and heading to the water closet (hashtag: daredevil). The detour was important, because I not only wanted to drop my bag, but I needed to grab some tissues. Because no thank you, butt hose. Detour aside, I refused to allow myself even the shortest moment to stop and assess the damage, because if I stopped for any amount of time, it would just make it that much worse.
I made it to the bathroom, shut the door, and took a deep breath. A bloodstain would be obvious, but I needed to know how bad it was. What am I working with here? I looked down at what was literally the worst period stain of my life, and I rolled my eyes, because OF COURSE IT FUCKING WAS. Khaki pants. My only pants. The beginning of my second work day of five. A third world country.
WHAT IS MY LIFE.
I looked around and assessed my options. I had to think and act quickly, because I was 13 km from all of my clothes, I have no other work clothes anyway, I am about twice the size of the average Vietnamese woman, and I was expected to teach 20 people in just a few minutes. My eye landed on the butt-cleaning hose, and I realized that I had two options:
1. Spend the rest of the day training a group of people (82% male) while sporting a six inch diameter bloodstain across my pants (indicating that I don’t have control over a basic bodily function I should have mastered about 15 years ago)
2. Take off my pants, attempt to wash them with the butt hose, and let people assume that I peed myself (indicating that I don’t have control over a basic bodily function I should have mastered about 20 years ago)
A true Sophie’s Choice, eh?
I sat down on the toilet, took off my pants, and set to washing. Time was of the essence, and I had a seemingly insurmountable task before me.
Rinse. Wring. Rinse. Wring. Rinse. Wring.
Every time I rinsed anew, capillary action took hold of my precious cotton khakis, and the waterline spread further and further out. My pee problem was becoming increasingly apparent.
I’m sitting on a toilet in Hanoi half naked. There is a window on the bathroom door. and someone could walk by at any moment. I am washing blood out of khakis with a butt hose.
At this point, I’d completely committed to the goal of blood-free pants. No matter how wet they got, stopping wasn’t an option, because if I did, I would have had to walk back into the training looking like a drenched stabbing victim. I could not explain that. I’m pretty fucking shameless, and I can handle a lot, but that would have been beyond even me.
After about 15 minutes of work, I was pleased with the outcome. There was still some residual staining, but it wasn’t obvious that it had been caused by blood. I silently beamed with pride.
I beamed with pride, that is, for approximately 30 seconds. After those 30 seconds, the pants were back on my body, and I realized that the water spot stretched halfway down my thighs. It definitely looked like I had peed myself.
My blouse was a little long, so I briskly walked like the hunchback of Notre Dame from the water closet back to the training room, where I promptly sat down, breathed deeply again, and tried to get myself sorted to work.
I looked over at my coworker, and completely deadpan, I told her, “I hate my life right now.”
I think I scared her a wee bit with that, because I’m not often serious. I quickly explained to her what had happened, and in an attempt to lighten the mood a bit, I showed her my “pee” stain. You probably need to be either very comfortable and familiar with me or a completely horrible person to laugh at something like this. Coworker is neither of these things, so all she could do was look me in the eye and offer me the sincerest, “I’m so sorry,” I think I’ve ever heard.
“No big deal, I only lost like four quarts of blood. It’s not like I needed them, but if I pass out, you know in advance what caused it. Anyway, I’m gonna keep sitting for a while. Like until my pants dry a bit. Because it looks like I peed myself.”
Paranoid about the state of my uterus, I think I went to the bathroom every 30 minutes or so for the rest of the day. Upon returning to the hotel, coworker gave me some powdered laundry detergent, and I set to work in the sink. It was nice not using a butt hose to do the job.
i think the important thing to note about dashcon is that it’s not the fault of the attendees or other users who supported and donated to the con
yes of course there are literally a million ways that money could have been spent better but it’s their money and they’re allowed to do whatever with it
HOWEVER the fault and the criticism should really be drawn to the con itself and the people who are “running” it and i use that term very loosely because i’ve been to goddamn brony meetups that were organized better
if you want to go to an event like that and enjoy yourself fine all power to you, but there are points in time that you need to stop for a second and actively question what it is that is going on
dashcon stated that they needed $17,000 or else the con would outright be cancelled and this is from claims that the agreement was for payment AFTER the con, not BEFORE. any con head worth their title would have known this WEEKS before the event, not DURING it. any competent staff members would have actually read the agreement and known what was needed in order for the event to run without a hitch. hell nearly ALL conventions have a hotel liaison for that very reason
but okay, let’s just run with the silly idea of them being blindsided. if they had planned to pay the hotel after the con well… where’s that $17,000? if they’re being honest (which i very much doubt) then the money raised would have been more of an advance that an outright donation. in which case, what will happen with the money they are going to eventually raise?
what about the money raised from donations, ticket sales, vendors renting out tables, and the initial fundraiser? did any of that factor into the $17,000? not only that but they have guests like the welcome to nightvale crew and gingerhaze but have they been paid yet? where did all this money go and how did it get this bad?
yeah you could make fun of the folks who fell for this and for how (incredibly) embarrassing a lot of the panels are, but yo there’s some serious extortion going on here with too few answers from any reputable staff members that are closely involved with the matter
Sometimes you touch a body and it awakens
spending the night by opening a
pulsation sensitive marine arm .
and as we love the sea
like a naked song
as its the only summer
. We say light as they say now
tell him it was yesterday’s and other parties .
so filled with corpses and bodies
Gulls are our gulls .
We’ll climb tip to tip
with banks and ceilings and door handles .
and liaison with hotels and memories and
landscape and weather and asteroids
. it filled him with us and our soul
necklace of islands and soul .
Sorry, everyday life is
beautiful but a sorry shade.
Alright everyone, the time has come for us to start accepting volunteer applications! If you’d like to volunteer over the convention weekend (though certain positions ie. the Hotel Liaison would require more time leading up to the convention weekend) and are over the age of 21 (by the time of the convention), please read through the following departments and positions and see where you think you’d likely fit and work well. :)
REGISTRATION (2-3 Volunteers): -work under Lottie, the registration head -check people in -distribute badges -(if applicable) sell photo op, autograph, and meet & greet tickets -previous cash handling experience preferred -must be available Thursday-Sunday
SECURITY (15 Volunteers) -need: a second in command (must have 1+ year experience) -code of conduct enforcement -available to address attendee concerns -crowd control outside the ballroom
EVENTS/PROGRAMMING (10-15 Volunteers) -one photographer’s assistant -ushers/crowd control inside the ballroom -queue control for photo ops/autographs
VENDORS/MERCH (Volunteer quantity will depend on number of vendors) -assist with set up/take down of the vendor room -help vendors with the sale of their merchandise
GUEST OF HONOR LIAISONS -MUST HAVE PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE AS A GUEST OF HONOR LIAISON -will be assigned to a guest of honor for the duration of the weekend -will act as a go-between for the actor and the convention
VOLUNTEER COORDINATOR (1 Volunteer) -need: a second in command (must have 1+ year experience) -will work with Cassandra, our Volunteer Coordinator, for the weekend
HOTEL LIAISON (2 Volunteers) (MUST LIVE IN LA) -must have 1+ year experience in this position -be in contact with the hotel both prior to and throughout the convention weekend
Please note that if you are accepted as a volunteer, you will receive a discounted ticket to the convention as a thank you for your service.