• Richie Crowley

We Were 27 Minutes Into the Zoom Call and I had to Pee

This is a horror story.

It will never be made into a feature film.

It will never premiere at Sundance.

It will simply exist, as legend.

Of course the call started late. All Zoom calls do, I’ve learned that since we became a completely remote workforce. I also learned Zoom is a video conferencing tool, not just a conference calling tool. Funny story actually.

It was the first call I ever had on Zoom, a one-on-one with my manager, who 7 minutes in politely asked: “You know I can see you, right?” I was flossing my teeth shirtless. I had been seen.

Anyway, on the morning of this dilemma, I had been drinking water all morning. And by morning I mean for the past 45 minutes since waking up at 9:15 am. It was a 10 am call. I was binge drinking water because I read on one of those health blogs that water boosts immunity, and I’ll take all the immunity-boosting I can get right now.

Okay, I actually just read the headline, but sure drinking more water doesn't sound like something that will hurt me so I’m all in.

In the 45 minutes since I woke up, I had finished two liter-sized carafe's of lemon water and was feeling great. Spritely even. I quickly brushed my teeth and logged on to join the call. My bladder hadn’t filled up.


27 minutes into a call is far past an appropriate time to interrupt the momentum and pause the conversation for a bathroom break because “I need to go pee quick.”

To be honest, I’m not even sure there ever is an appropriate time to say “I need to go pee quick” on a Zoom call.

27 minutes into an hour-long call, also means 33 more minutes of the call, which is far too long of a time to hold a now bursting bladder.

This, my friends, is what we calling being in a predicament.

And this, my friends, is when I stopped hearing anything being said on the call.

I mean yes my body was still in the chair, but I was hypnotized by this sensation.

The teapot! No, you cannot use the teapot. Okay, you’re right.

*7 seconds later

The teapot! Dammit, you can’t use the teapot! You just brewed a fresh pot of green tea and you’ll ruin it. Then you’ll go make coffee and didn’t we promise each other you were going to take this time and invest in overcoming your coffee caffeine dependency? Fuck! Okay, you’re right.

This was the conversation in my head during minute 28 of the call. Also known as minute one of my absence from the call.

During minute 29, I pulled it together and started piecing together a plan.

To my immediate left was an empty ceramic bowl, stained orange from the remnants of my breakfast, Papaya, presenting as an option for me to relieve myself into.

Oh, don’t shake your head at me. You’ve been here before, and you’ve had these same thoughts, you’re just too cowardly to admit it. Coward!

How could I pull this off?

I’d go on mute, slide my pants down to my knees with my right hand, slide the bowl to my knees with my left, and be done in less than a minute. I’d then sit the bowl on the ground out of sight until the end of the call.

Shit, I drank both of those liters of lemon water, and if my math is correct, which it probably isn’t, this bowl isn’t going to be big enough. Then what’ll I do?

The math checked out. A fair point.


There’s a printer within reach. I’ll print a photo of my face, tape it to my chair, slide down from my chair to the floor, crawl to the bathroom, pee, flush, no actually not flush because they’ll hear that, crawl back to my chair, and replace the photo.

Hmm, sounds too complicated. Why not just bring the computer with me, keep it on my face, pee sitting down, and then walk back to my desk?

Yes, I actually considered bringing my laptop with me to pee while keeping my video and sound on for a team Zoom call. This is unchartered territory people.

I know, I have aluminum foil!

I used to do this all the time to hang up from phone calls. I’ll tear a piece off, crinkle it near my mic, and end the call. Then, I’ll message into our slack channel “Internet down, brb”, go pee, and then call back in.

Kinda sounding like a genius right now if I’m being honest with you all. But no, that wouldn’t work. That would still totally interrupt the call.

I was running out of ideas.

Despite congratulating myself for my in-the-moment creativity, which was now sparking consideration for a career change, maybe a lateral move into idea generation, I was still bursting and only 3 minutes had passed.

Folks, I kid you not. I was not going to make it.

Then, it happened.

I saw the light.

Like a Dr. Phil guest who has been to heaven, I SAW THE LIGHT!

I found my peace.

At this minute of the call, minute 32, after exhausting all sly options, I, as a 28-year-old, came to terms with the fact that I was simply going to pee my pants on this Zoom call. Now, I hadn’t peed my pants in over 24 years, but I also hadn’t worn exclusively pajamas for 3 weeks straight in over 24 years, so my rationale was checking out.

And once I came to terms with this reality.


Complete, warm, bliss.

Richie. Human