This week: Form a support group
My family covered roughly 11,000 total miles in rented conversion vans during our yearly road trips when I was growing up. We always took along the same things:
- a Game Boy
- several economy-sized bags of Funyuns
- our homemade “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon” cardboard sign that we hung out the window when cars passed
- masking tape, so my brother and I could divide the van right down the middle and hit each other if we crossed the line
And my tiny little bladder.
My dad meticulously planned the trip for months. He bought duplicate Rand-McNally maps, charting a main route on one map, and several alternate routes on another map. He liked to be prepared. I didn’t volunteer, but he always made me his sidekick.
At the beginning of each trip, he would hand me a blank notebook. I was in charge of writing down the gas mileage we got with each tank and the exact time we crossed state lines. I nodded my head each time he told me to write down new information. I pretended to be equally intrigued by the gas mileage, but really, the only thing that was going through my head was, “This Is Some Bullshit.”
On one trip, we drove from Texas to Niagara Falls, with a pit stop at the Smithsonian.
Somewhere outside Washington, D.C., my bladder failed me. I purposely didn’t drink more than two sips of soda during our lunch at Crystal’s so I wouldn’t have to use the restroom.
I started complaining. I threatened to pee in my pants if my parents didn’t find a restroom. My impending disaster didn’t move my dad. He had a schedule, and he was going to stick to it.
My mom tried to be helpful. She suggested I pee in the McDonald’s Happy Meal plastic pail I had in the car.
Even as a 7-year-old, I had standards. There was just no way I was going to ruin a perfectly good trick-or-treat pail by peeing in it.
I started crying. I told my parents that Jesus was watching and that He would send my parents to Hell. The threat of eternal damnation did the trick. My dad agreed to pull over at the next rest stop, but not before giving my mom the “why didn’t we just use birth control” look. Then we got stuck in traffic.
Half an hour later, when we got to the rest stop, I carried my pee-filled bucket to the garbage can. Just as I was about to throw it in, my mom shouted, “WAIT, it’ll be good as new once I wash it out for you.”
I’m starting a support group- Frequent Urinator Club for Kids or F.U.C.K. for short.
It could be a bi-monthly shindig, offering support for the bladder-challenged younger folks. We could exchange gas station bathroom reviews, watch instructional videos on how to construct makeshift restrooms, and collaborate on a short pamphlet for our loved ones about our special needs.
Road trip stories, y’all?
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photo via marthastewart.com