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Ants in My Pants

Many years ago, I had my first shoulder surgery. I lived over two hours from the orthopedic surgeon’s office, so a friend drove me to my two-week follow-up appointment. As we got close, maybe three exits away, I was thinking about how badly I needed to pee. “Playing chicken with my bladder,” as it were.

“Thank goodness we are almost there,” I said, “I really need to pee.”

“Uh oh,” she said, “can you hold it?”

“Sure,” I replied, “we are almost there.”

Just then, a small explosive POP came from the left rear tire, followed by a stomach-curdling “thumpa thumpa thumpa” sound. My friend pulled us over to the side of the road.

She hopped out and said, “yep, we blew a tire!”

Not to be flustered by such a thing, I pulled out my AAA card and my cell phone and set to work getting a tow truck to come change the tire for us. They said he was “close” and could be there in “15-40 minutes.”

The tire emergency would be taken care of, but MY emergency was only getting more urgent by the second. I looked at where we were. The road curved inward just where we had pulled over. There was a series of rather large bushes, with a small alcove between a couple of them. Beyond the bushes was a chain link fence, and beyond the fence was an empty river. I realized that, like real estate, my need to pee was becoming about location, location, location. It wouldn’t be a matter of when, but merely a matter of where. Finding a napkin in the glove box, I set out, dominant arm in a sling and strapped to my body, waddling carefully to the alcove, where I had figured I would not be seen by oncoming traffic. I was pleased with myself as I dropped my yoga pants and could not see the oncoming cars as I began to relieve myself. What a relief it was…at least at the start.

About halfway into it, I felt something brush my bottom and brushed away what I assumed was tall grass with seeds budding at the top, which surrounded the spot I had chosen. A moment later, however, I felt a horrible sharp sting on my nether region. Then another, and another! All of a sudden, my sensitive parts were on fire! I looked down and saw that I had apparently squatted to pee directly on top of a fire ant mound and, in defense of their home, they were mounting an all out attack. My yoga pants and underwear were filled with scurrying fire ants, they were crawling up my legs and all over my “hoo ha!” I screamed and tried to brush them, off, but in the craziness of the moment, and because I only had my non-dominant hand to work with, my brain neglected to tell my bladder to stop peeing, so I peed all over my hand, which bothered me on a level one would not expect. I needed to get back to the van, to get baby wipes for my hand, but I knew I couldn’t pull up my ant-filled pants.

By this point, my friend had heard me yelp and looked up from her phone to see me, pants around my ankles, “good” arm flailing, dripping with pee soaked ants, loping toward the van like some deranged video game character with a horrible glitch. I flung open the side door to the van

and sat my bare bottom on the edge while trying, unsuccessfully, with my non-dominant hand to remove my yoga pants, which were catching on my snuggly tied sneakers.


My friend started throwing baby wipes at me, but by now, the ridiculousness of the situation had her laughing so hard she’s having an asthma attack. She was trying to help me with one hand, while wiping her eyes and hitting her inhaler with the other.

I finally remembered I could use one foot to push off the other sneaker and I sent them flying into the grass between me and the home of my now sworn enemies.

As I finally got my yoga pants and underwear off, I was lying half on my back, naked from the waist down, legs spread in a wide V as I frantically tried to wipe pee off my “good” hand and removed ants from all my parts. It was, of course, at that very moment that I looked out across the grass and realized, much to my chagrin, that on the other side of the chain link fence, just this side of the empty river, was a walking path. And there he was, a poor unsuspecting man, walking his dog. We locked eyes, and a look of confusion spread across his face, followed by a look of terror as he proceeded to make direct eye contact with my crotch, which, although covered in ants, was looking straight back at him.

I screamed at him loudly, and frantically “ANTS! ANTS! I’M NOT CRAZY!!! I JUST HAVE ANTS IN MY PANTS!” because that is sure to be helpful. He looked away quickly and hastened his step. By now, my friend was making a sound that made me worry that she may die of laughter, or by choking on her tongue.

I groped around and finally found a baby blanket large enough to cover my pelvis as I stood, in urine soaked socks, beside the van and turned my yoga pants inside out and shook them vigorously to get the ants out. Ants and baby wipes flew everywhere. My friend could not stop making that sound, but she might have also been praying, because she kept croaking “oh my god!” in between puffs of her inhaler.

I found my shoes and beat them together to get the ants out. I turned my pants right side in and shook them again. My underwear were a lost cause, filled with crushed, pee-soaked ants. I tucked them into an old happy meal box in the back seat and made the bold decision to go command

o, hoping that I didn’t smell too much like pee. By the time I finished lacing my shoes up, sans socks, I heard the diesel motor of the AAA tow truck pulling up. Boy did he miss a great show!

I explained the tire situation. He asked if I tried to change it myself, because I was sweating and flushed and breathing heavily. I said, “um, no…”

While waiting for him to change the tire, I realized we were going to be late to my appointment. This office had a no late appointments policy I had to sign in blood when becoming a patient. I called the office to explain. About halfway into my explanation, the sound coming from the other end of the line sounded different. I continued my tale, to the sound of snickers and giggles. I begged them to please not make all of that be in vain, please see me even though I was late. The office erupted into laughter, and the woman I had spoken to confessed to turning it on speaker phone a few moments into my story. She thanked me for the laugh and agreed that yes, they would see me. My friend was telling the story to the tow truck driver, and still wiping tears from her eyes as I got off the phone. He was chuckling deep hearty laughs and looked at me, eyebrows raised. “Sounds like I missed all the fun,” he asked good naturedly. “Sure, if you can call it that,” I muttered. My friend broke into hysterical laughter, again, steadying herself on my van and grabbing her sides.

30 minutes later, as I made my way from the van into the doctor’s office, several of the workers started clapping. I did my best pee soaked, ant-bitten curtsy, trying to make the best out of a pissy situation. As I was waiting for the doctor in the exam room, I decided I only smelled a little bit like pee, and it could have been worse. I’m not sure how, but I’m sure it could have been.

I also learned an important lesson – if I can’t laugh at myself, YOU still can.



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