It started at a friend’s 20th birthday, pre-drinking perhaps a little more than usual, and celebrating meeting an important deadline for my course. As the house party wore on (and I became more and more inebriated) I joined in on a movement to take the party to the Lizard for some dancing, cheesy music, and general shenanigans. In a typical display of poor judgment, I decided I wasn’t NEARLY drunk enough to properly enjoy the Lizard, and poured about a quarter litre of vodka into a bottle of lemonade and took it to enjoy en route.
I strolled down the street, happily gulping my 50/50 vodka-lemonade and chatting with a friend about how sober we were.
My memory from the night ends about fifteen minutes after entering the Lizard.
Waking up the next morning, I wandered downstairs to see if my flatmates could shed any light on the rest of my night. I had a vague inkling that I had walked home with a friend of mine, James*, a student who had done a year abroad in St. Andrews and had come back for a visit. Why wasn’t he in our flat now? Why, I wondered, had he braved the walk out to the badlands to take me home and then disappeared without a trace?
My flatmates weren’t much help, besides confirming to me that I had made out with James, rather publicly in the Lizard. Further pressing led them to admit that they had seen James on his way out of our house upon their return, but he offered no reason for his hasty departure. Ashamed at this very public PDA, I tried to shrug it off and make myself some breakfast, thinking that this would be the most embarrassing thing I had done the previous night. As I stepped into the kitchen, I immediately noticed that I had stepped in something wet. When asked, my flatmates claimed that the floor had been wet when they returned, shortly after James and I. My flatmate Sarah* cleaned the water off the floor with a dishcloth, and threw some laundry in the machine while I set about making scrambled eggs. Once I had satiated my hangover-induced hunger, I headed over to the flat where James was staying, hoping he would tell me why he left in such a hurry the previous night. However, upon being questioned, James played dumb, saying only that he thought leaving was the right thing to do at the time. I asked about the flooding in the kitchen – wondering if I’d left a tap on, but his only reply was “you don’t want to know”. Terrified, but knowing that he was probably right that in this case ignorance would truly be bliss, I departed, confused and concerned that I had done something even more embarrassing than a public makeout session in the Lizard.
Later that night, while out with some girlfriends, I got a call from James’ friend who revealed that he had finally cracked and told them the story of the previous evening. It turns out that just after getting back to my flat, I was just showing James around when, all of a sudden, with no warning whatsoever, I wrenched open the door to the washing machine, pulled down my trousers and pants, and proceeded to squat down, stumbling backwards in an attempt to “back in” to the open washing machine. Then I peed. Unsurprisingly, my drunken maneuvering hadn’t worked out as well as I presumably would have liked, because urine sprayed everywhere, all over me, my clothes, the washing machine and the kitchen floor. James stared in disbelief as a night’s worth of alcohol and mixer came streaming out of me, pooling on the floor, as I stared blithely up at him from my undignified position, not seeing any reason for an explanation or apology at this juncture. James left, preferring the fifteen-minute walk to sleep on his friends couch than to have to inform me of my ill-conceived bathroom break in the morning.
I had a difficult few minutes breaking the news to Sarah, knowing that she’d cleaned up the mess herself, and then washed her clothes in the appliance in question. She took it surprisingly well, her glee at the absolute hilarity of my humiliation outweighing her disgust about having traipsed around barefoot on a floor covered in my urine.
To this day, I have no idea what was running through my mind in that moment. I lay in bed that night, staring at the ceiling, and wondering: did I think the washing machine was a toilet? Or simply that it would be a good idea to use it as one? The answers, I have long accepted, I will never know, but looking back on the incident now, I am at least able to find the humour in the situation, even if it is tinged with soul-crushing humiliation.
*names have been changed.
Images compilated by Kerri P.