It felt like I was wetting my pants. Standing in front of the cosmetics display in a local store, I could feel an undeniable warm, wet spot developing in the crotch of my jeans. The longer I stood there, the warmer and wetter it got. No ladies, I was not having some kind of fantasy inside Walmart and no ladies, I was not having a “ho ho ho” while sitting on Santa’s lap!
What was it? I know that as we “mature”, we sometimes lose a bit of control over our bladders….but it didn’t feel like I was leaking, and if I was indeed wetting my pants, why was the pee running uphill!!??
Then it hit me – earlier in the day, while out on a photo shoot, my girlfriend (you know who you are!!) had given me a hand warmer pack to wrap around my camera, thus preserving the life of the battery during cold weather. When you shake the pack, the chemicals inside are supposed to activate and heat is released – but in spite of shaking, thumping and pounding the little white pack, it didn’t seem to produce much warmth.
Rather than litter, I stuffed the pack down the front of my pants and promptly forgot about it. That is, until I was standing in the store with the pack gradually increasing in temperature. The hotter the pack got, the more I was sweating – and the wetter my pants got.
Looking over my shoulder to see if anybody was watching, I shoved my hand down my jeans, fishing around to find and remove the offending hot pack. But I stopped abruptly when I glanced up and saw a sign that said, “You are being watched by an in-store security camera. All shoplifters will be prosecuted”
Great. Now it not only looked like I was wetting my pants, it looked like I was playing the light fantastic all by myself. I could just imagine what the security personnel in the store were thinking right about then, and it probably wasn’t about the colour of lipstick I had been trying.
What to do? Now flustered as well as sweaty, I decided to wiggle my hips around to see if I could shift the hot pack away from my crotch. Hoping it would help, I walked away from the security camera, hoping and praying that gravity would succeed where my hand had not. Admittedly, my gyrating hips could draw attention but in a race against time and scrutiny, I was mildly confident that one good hip jerk to the right would dislodge the source of my discomfort.
Aha – yes. That last hip snap moved the pack a little. So I tried another and yet another. By this time, it looked as if John Travolta and I were “Staying Alive” with the Bee Gees and we were doing a a disco dance down the shampoo aisle.
But it was working. Gradually the hot pack migrated to the left and worked its way down my thigh where, unfortunately due to tight jeans, it stayed for a while. Relief – my crotch was no longer burning – but my thigh was now on fire. And even if the security camera was zoomed in on me, I would have gladly abandoned any aspirations of decorum and plunged my hand down my pants. But now the pack was down so low, I needed to drop my jeans to reach it. In a packed Walmart at 7:00 in the evening at Christmas time – that was NOT an option if I wanted to get home that night without a police record.
With no washroom in sight, and no hope of immediate relief, I tried stamping my foot in an effort to drive the pack down. No luck. So I switched to more aggressive action and began to jump up and down. A kid at the back of the crowd at the Santa Clause parade couldn’t have put more vigor into the effort – and just like our mamas taught us – perseverance counted for something.
Gradually, ever so gradually, I could feel the heat shuffling southward towards my left boot. One final “leap and land” and at last, the darned pack was within reach. Quickly unzipping my boot, I shook my leg one last time and out popped the pack. Anyone watching might have thought I just laid an egg and the satisfied look on my face would have confirmed the worst.
The strangest thing about this whole episode, is that no one in the store even gave me a second look while I was gyrating, jerking, stamping and jumping. Perhaps if I were stuffing an unpaid item down my pants I would have attracted some attention, but it appears that eccentric behaviour is weird but not noteworthy.
What a relief. Next time I have to stick my hands down my pants to remove a hot pack, I’ll just smile at the camera and go about my business. As long as I am not stealing it, nobody really cares.