I entered the restroom on the first floor because I was on crutches. Normally, I take the stairs to burn a few calories and use the second floor bathroom. But today I went into the first floor bathroom. I mention this because I kind of wish I'd taken the elevator upstairs. I wish I'd followed my sense of adventure and done something different because I could have avoided this whole thing.
There was a girl I'd never seen before standing at the mirror fussing with her hair and her clothes. Since that's not an unusual scenario for a women's restroom, I just crutched on by her minding my own business. In fact I was so much minding my own business, when she spoke to me it took a second for me to realize that she was directing her panicky question to me.
"You know how sometimes you put on a pair of pants and you don't realize that you can see the underwear line until it's too late and you've already left the house?"
I was, understandably I think, taken aback by this question from a stranger. I mustered up all my friendliness and tried smile.
"Um...well....I guess. That sounds rough."
And I tried to avert my gaze from her tight, salmon-colored pants and the very obvious underwear line.
"Yeah, I just totally didn't notice. That's so awful..."
I tried to sympathize, but the truth is that I don't have any such pants in my wardrobe.
So I said, unhelpfully I'm sure, "Well....at that point I usually just get rid of them...."
"Yeah..hahaha...I know...." She laughed awkwardly.
At this point I'm thinking, "No, you don't know. You don't know me. You don't know about my pants. And I don't really want to know about yours. I don't want to continue this conversation." But I just ducked into the handicapped stall thinking that this would cut off the conversation.
When I came out to wash my hands she was still there fussing and jabbering to me about her underwear. I was trapped and stressed about the layers of social awkwardness, and these feelings were exacerbated by my inability to make an efficient escape. Clearly her insecurity was driving her to extremes. I didn't know how to help and I needed to get back to work, a feat that would take a few more minutes than usual because of the crutches.
I must not have been hiding it very well that I wanted to politely exit because she made jokes about how weird it was to be talking to a stranger about this sort of thing. I couldn't disagree. Not knowing what to say but thinking she probably just wanted some reassurance I said,
"Well, there's no judgment from me anyway."
And I left to return to my office to get ready for an interview at 11:30.
The candidate for the position didn't show up until 11:50.
And who was that candidate?
A girl wearing salmon-colored pants. Only somehow magically now without an underwear line.
When I crutched into the office to join my supervisor for the interview the girl turned a very bright red and started laughing.
"So you've met before?" my supervisor asked.
"Yes. Briefly. No pun intended." I replied.