In 1992, on the top floor of the Woolworth Building, I took a medical exam for employment with the New York City Housing Authority. The final step was the urine sample. The doctor handed me the cup. It didn't go well.
"Jeez, I hope he hurries." The doctor said to his nurse. "I don't want to miss my train."
"Me, too. I've got to get my kid by five thirty." Her answer tinged with aggravation.
Hearing this exchange through the bathroom door, my bladder shut down. I was on the 60th floor of the Woolworth Building, the world's tallest building from 1914 to 1930. My medical exam for the New York City Housing Authority hiring process was concluding with the mandatory urine sample.
"Everything OK in there?"
He didn't care if everything was OK. He was telling me to get out of there, ASAP, so he could escape his eerie dark office. I stuck my head under the sink's spout and began drinking lots of water. Flushed the bowl a few times, and took off my shirt and pants for good luck.
"I hope he's not pee shy," came loud and clear through the door.
I couldn't believe she said it.
The pressure already peaking, I drank more water and opened the small window, high over the sink to let in fresh air, and started pacing the tiny bathroom in my bare feet on the checkered marble floor. The socks followed my pants.
"For Christ's sake, it's been twenty minutes, did he die in there?" she said. Then one of them fell dramatically into a chair based on the sound I heard of a sizable ass hitting a seat.
I couldn't possibly drink more water, and I couldn't go. My last recourse was sticking my head directly out the window over the sink. I figured I'd rock my bare belly on the ledge, while the rarefied air hit me in the face.
Climbing on the sink, I got most of my upper body through the petite opening. Once I got my arms through, I leaned on my elbows and looked left and saw the beautiful Hudson River all the way up to the Bridge. Then I looked right, and screamed like a girl, "Aaaaaahhhhh!"
Face to face with a stone gargoyle, not a funny gargoyle, a hideous gargoyle that comes to you in a nightmare after eating Mexican food way too late. My scream made me lose my footing and I fell forward. The snug window and my chubby stomach kept me from falling all the way out. The cars below looked like toys. I saw tomorrow’s New York Post's headline, "Boxer Shorts Suicide Dives Off Woolworth Building!"
Hyperventilating, stuck in the window, I heard, "Hey, what the hell is going on?"
"Nothing, nothing..." I lied, pulled myself out of the window, got off the sink, went over to the toilet and peed like a horse. I got dressed and came out of the bathroom with the specimen cup, refused to make eye contact with my medical providers, somehow found one of their hands to pass it off, and ran out the door and down twenty flights of fire stairs before I felt the urge to pee again. Popped the emergency door and took the elevator to the lobby with my legs crossed.