Monday, November 21, 2011

3 Cups of Pee

I've always been slightly critical of people who can't hold their liquid.

I don't mean liquor. I can get pleasantly buzzed and ready to sing ABBA medleys after one beer, and consider this a great talent. I mean liquids, as in the kind that come gushing out of you after you've had enough alcohol to consider ABBA medleys a good idea.

I have the ability to hold it through the unabridged editions of Lord of the Rings and consider it a lack of personal will when others are always getting up and tripping over my legs because nature has called with the frequency of an underquota telemarketer.

My steel bladder is the result of intensive training dating back to kindergarten. I was mortally afraid of the school bathroom stalls because someone, probably an overzealous PTA member, thought it would  be a great idea to make the stalls in the child bathroom child-sized. I'm not sure what I was more afraid of: someone looking over and seeing me do my business, or, being on the tall side even then, that I might inadvertently witness some little girl in my class taking a number two.

The thought of this was so traumatic that I refused to go in the school bathrooms and ended up wetting myself in the classroom. But, and this is important, no one could see my hoo-ha, so this was still less mortifying than the alternative.

Yes, I thought that having been in training all these years I was invincible to the common prodding of the bladder suffered by ordinary people, until last Wednesday when I nearly crashed my car to relieve the agony of an angry urethra.

I blame my boss, the editor-in-chief of a green magazine, who believes in saving the earth by never turning on the heat in the house where we work. At lunch I sipped own several cups of hot tea to try and regain some feeling in my extremities, then proceeded to drive the 30 minutes from Boulder to Denver. I had to pee as soon as I left the restaurant, but unwisely trusted my steely digestive system to remain dormant until I arrived home.

10 minutes on the road and I started getting bladder cramps. 15 minutes and my jeans were unzipped. 20 minutes and I was recounting the scene from Major Payne (where the Major says "You want me to show you a little trick to take your mind off that pain? then breaks the guy's finger) and biting my hands. I whipped into a parking spot in front of my house, too blinded by pain to notice that I parked illegally, and too in agony to care if I had, and then was faced with a dilemma.

I am a stubborn one-tripper. I take everything into the house in one trip. When unloading groceries I will saddle my arms with ten bags, tucking the laundry detergent and milk under my armpits, rather than come back outside for a second venture. My one-tripping policy is deeply rooted, even when I should clearly make exceptions. For instance when my bladder is seconds from explosion.

I reached down to grab my backpack and suddenly realized I couldn't lift it. Lifting the bag required ab muscles, which were currently busy spasming uncontrollably. I sat there a moment, paralyzed by indecision and a lack of core mobility. Leaving the backpack behind violated my one-trip conviction. I managed to roll slightly to the side and hooked my arm under the strap, then roll back upright.

I triumphantly got the bag and still had a few seconds before my ticking time-bomb of a bladder went off. Then I tried to get out of the van. Apparently exiting vehicles also requires the use of abdominal muscles. I was stuck. I did not have to time to think of the irony of making it all the way home only to wet myself in the car outside. I could only think.


I half-slid, half-rolled out of the car, slammed the door and sprinted in short, waddling steps to the house. I threw my bag, phone and keys to the ground, and raced to the bathroom, praying that no one was inside.

I sat down, half-crying from relief, as the 3 cups of tea turned to 3 cups of pee and thought to myself that I was sure glad no one could peek over the edge of a stall and see me now.

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