Key to the rest room?
What do you mean it’s out of order!?!?
A small animal, lodged somewhere in my lower intestine, was angry. He wanted to get out. Perhaps he heard the mating call of a similar-specied female somewhere in the distance. Whatever his reason, he needed to exit my digestive system immediately if not sooner. It didn’t matter that I was on the parkway, sitting still in construction traffic on the hottest day this year. When you have to go, as the man once said, you have to go.
I’ve been using the bathroom all on my own, without the aid of my Mommy, without using a diaper, since I was about nine or ten. You would think I’d have it down by now, that my tract would be like a finely tuned Swiss watch. Every once in a while, just to mess with me, the Swiss watch that is my stomach decides to bust a spring. All these years, all these evacuations, all these flushes later, a day will roll around when the little creature hears a far off signal that tells it to leave the women and children behind. It’s all hands for themselves.
I don’t know how long it’s been since you’ve been in this sort of situation, but if you can’t recall the last time right off the top of your head, you’d better prepare yourself. You’re probably due. It might start as a slightly uncomfortable warning twinge that alerts you to look for shelter. It might hit suddenly, a full blown cramp that tells you you’d better just pull it over to the side and look for a tree.
As I loosened my belt and assessed the situation, I realized that I had roughly ten minutes before full impact – it was a guess, but an educated one – and about four miles before the nearest possible rest room. Normally, this would not be a reason to panic. Ten minutes to travel four miles on a highway? No problem. However, this being the construction season, I quickly surmised that four miles could not be done in ten minutes. Alarms sounded. My brain began the countdown, so well known to James Bond fans. Whenever James had to save the world, it was usually from a villain whose plan of destruction included a weapon of some sort that was equipped with a timer. The red numbers clicked away. The traffic stood still. The little animal in my lower intestine began to poke his head out to take a look around.
Without going into too much detail, I must admit that there has been a time or two when James Bond did not disarm the weapon in time, when the world was not saved and when I had to toss away a pair of underwear, a pair of pants, or an entire car.
I know the heartbreak of being too late.
Those of you who have not been there, done that, those without shame, may go ahead and cast the first pair of chocolate-souped britches.
I call these infrequent episodes “Small Cokes to Go”, as in “I’m sorry I’m a little late for the wedding, but I had to stop and get a small Coke to go.”
I’m not picky when it comes to commodes in public restrooms, especially in a time of need, when the little creature is trying to escape. Gas stations, porta johns, fast food restaurants, even an unsuspecting house in a nondescript neighborhood just off the highway will do. “Excuse me. You don’t know me, but I sure would like to use your bathroom. Here. Have my car keys for collateral. Do you have anything to read?”
On those rare occasions when nature calls, using a bullhorn, and I am forced to walk briskly into the nearest burger joint, skipping past the counter and into the men’s room, I always return sometime after the crime and spend money. It’s a trade, I figure. I owe it to them. They were there when I needed them. I always buy a small soda. After the creature has been sent to the underground river system, I don’t often feel like eating. So I just order a small Coke.
That’s why I call these encounters with the animal in my intestine, the times when James Bond has to save the world just in the nick of time “Small Cokes to Go”. Walking up to the counter at, say, a Taco Bell and ordering just a small Coke to go is akin to holding up a giant sign that says, “I had an animal in my intestine! I feel better now! Thank you for your rest room! Bless you! Here! Have a dollar! And here’s my card! If there’s anything I can ever do for you…”
As the nice counter girl filled my drink order and handed me some change, she smiled and said, “Thank you for choosing Taco Bell. Would you like a bag for your underwear or will you just be carrying them out?”