My sister is a clinical germophobe. More on that in the future, but what it means for this post, is that she won’t use bathrooms that don’t reside in her home or a family member’s. (Even then she’s selective.) I’ve always admired this about her–not because it makes her exceptionally clean, though it does, and not because it creates less mess to be cleaned by hardworking folk in restaurants, shopping centers, and other public places, which I’m sure it does as well.
No, I admire this habit of hers because it means she frequently goes hours, and hours, and HOURS without relieving herself. Once, while visiting my work, she sat, subtly bouncing her leg, for over three hours. I asked many times if she’d like to use the employee bathroom. Each time she responded, “No, thank you.” Now, don’t misread what can easily be perceived from text as a pleasant tone. This “No, thank you” was more like, sigh, eye-roll, demonic noise deep in throat. “No…” Long pause, temple massage, earnest disgust. Then with disdain, a whispered, “Thank you.”
At long last, she did finally agree to use the employee bathroom. One step in, she performed her ceremonial “spider scan” and stepped right back out with a disappointed yet determined, “Nevermind.” (One of only three times I’ve ever seen a spider in that bathroom.) She went another two hours before experiencing the sweet release.
On other occasions, I’ve witnessed my sister visit multiple shopping centers in the same afternoon, never once stepping foot in the bathroom. I’ve even seen her do a cross-legged gallop through parking lots to her car, and even more frequently from her car into her house.
To some, this may not seem like a big thing. I’ve had friends say they went days without pooping while camping. Others tell brave tales of holding their liquids during long stretches of road trip.
Well, let me tell you why I find this practice amazing…
Some people suffer heart attacks. You know, tight pain in the chest, fatigue, lightheadedness, abnormal pulse, clammy skin from cold sweat, dizziness, anxiety, etc.
I suffer from something I affectionlessly call “Bladder Attacks”.
Much like heart attacks, bladder attacks manifest through tight pain in the groin, fatigue from strenuous effort, lightheadedness, abnormal pulsating in the bladder and surrounding region, clammy skin from cold sweat caused by the desperate clenching of the entire muscular system, dizziness, and anxiety at the thought of wetting myself.
These warning signs mean I have exactly nine seconds to locate, run to, and sit bare-tooshied on, a toilet.
While the average bladder behaves like Bruce Banner, a calm, logical scientist informing its host’s brain of an approaching drizzle, my bladder behaves like The Hulk, growling and slobbering in a furious attempt to communicate that Hurricane Urine has arrived.
Hurricane Urine is not so much a storm as it is a vivacious race between the waistline of my pants, and the first few drops of pee. You’ll be glad to know I’ve mastered the art of pushing my pants past their finish line (the front edge of the toilet seat) milliseconds before the pee crosses its own line. The “point of no return”, if you will.
I’d like to tell you these bladder attacks occur irregularly, or that they’re few and far between, but that would be a blatant lie. Every time my bladder needs relief, it attacks me. There’s no friendly back-and-forth with us. No, “Hey, it’s time to find a bathroom.” “Give me just a few minutes–I’m on it.” “Great, but don’t wait too long, cause things are getting pretty tight around here.” “I hear ya, buddy. Thanks for all you do.” “Listen, man, you’ve got about ten minutes. After that, I can’t help you.” “No need to worry, we’re three minutes away.” “Good to hear. Thanks for helping out.” “You got it, little buddy.”
If there is an exchange between my bladder and me, it goes something like, “Rrrrruuuuunnnnn!!!!!”
Then, ah… sweet release. Whether I’ve made it to a toilet or not.