Likewise, she likes to hold off on the potty until the moment when her bladder is on the very verge of blasting through like a urinary Vesuvius. Her eyes dilate with a look of excitement/horror as she announces with unnatural volume that she has to go RIGHT NOW. This happens regardless of what we are doing or on what god-forsaken stretch of highway we are driving. Countless times, she has proclaimed her imminent explosion in the middle of NASCARville, forcing me to hustle her into those convenience store "restrooms", which offer anything but rest, and are actually just pee-coated closets with a toilet and a machine on the wall that dispenses strawberry-banana flavored glowing prophylactics. I stow a huge canister of bleach wipes under the passenger's seat in order to fight off the hamster-sized bacteria that fester in those cesspools.
Of course, I can understand how she feels. I recall a train ride between Petrozavodsk (a stone's throw from the Arctic Circle) and St. Petersburg when I was forced to make what can only be characterized as a horrible decision. Let me explain.
It was January, when the icy dark of Russia consumes all but two or three hours of every day and oppresses an already generally cranky country. It was weighing my shoulders down as I half stooped inside my lightless, chilly cabin. The train lurched along its 300-mile path at a crawl, carrying me away from the missionary Valhalla, Petrozavodsk...the land of milk and honey...my sweet home Karelia.
It was a 10 hour ride through the deep of night...from 9 to 7. I was sharing the cabin with a member of the Mission Presidency, a quirky 50-ish Russian with a rumbling, Russian-accented snore. I wasn't sleeping well at all, and every time I began to fade off into a sleep-like daze, the train would creak to a halt at yet another nameless forest platform, and I would be shaken back into something resembling consciousness. At 3:40, though, I was jolted violently awake by the call of nature. My bladder was slapping me with its white leather glove, barking in a Kentucky drawl that it demanded satisfaction. I quickly glanced through the creeping frost on the cabin window...the train was at a standstill, but not at any real station. I leapt from by bunk, unlocked the multiple latches on the door and shuffled down the tiny hallway in a potty panic. I finally got to the end of the car, and entered the little antechamber with the bathroom door. I pulled on the handle...the bathroom was locked. Horrified, I shot down the car to the extreme opposite end where the little attendant sits watching Santa Barbara dubbed into Russian...badly. Unmoved by the terror blazing in my eyes, she informs me that the bathrooms are locked while the train isn't moving, and that we would be heading out in 15 minutes. In a dazzling feat of illogic, I convince myself that I can hold out that long, and leave to loiter intensely in the hall.
Three minutes later all that stood between me and the defouling of my jammies was my thumb and forefinger clenched tightly around my business as my urethra puckered and unpuckered, singing a little tragic opera about unfulfilled dreams.
A peek into the attendants chamber...empty...where could she have gone? Wasn't she just there? Was she really just the ghost of a long dead train attendant, doomed forever to deny young passengers access to the urinal? The potty opera reaches a crescendo, with Valkeries circling on flaming horses, great armies clashing in an apocalyptic bloodbath and giant ominous clouds gathering, threatening to unleash a torrential downpour...
Whimpering slightly, I slouch into the antechamber, hoping against hope that the bathroom will have mystically unlocked itself. No such luck. As I prepare to soak myself for the first time since grade school, I glance over to a flap in the wall with the word "Mycop" written on it. Trash. No. I couldn't. I'm a civilized human being. But Brunhilde is inside me with her giant metal brassiere, poking me in my unmentionable with her spear. Almost without realizing it, I slouch down past the windows in the antechamber where nobody milling about at the platform across the way could spy my descent out of dignity. I open the little flap, pull down my pajamas just far enough and let loose the fury of biology scorned. It keeps going and going...I'm afraid I will overflow the garbage pail with my...byproduct...I think with regret about the poor underpaid railroad employee that would find a very unwelcome gift the next morning...but mostly I am relieved. Ever so effing relieved.
Not nearly as much ashamed as peaceful, I pull up my pajama pants and go back to my cabin. The fat lady had sung, and it was glorious.