It isn’t a secret that I have the world’s tiniest bladder.
Anyone who knows me well knows that within my wheelhouse of weird knowledge, there is a mental Rolodex of the closest and nicest public restrooms.
It’s the reason I’m bad on road trips, and half the reason I want an aisle seat on planes (the other half being I feel trapped and claustrophobic by the window, or worse, in the middle seat). I am convinced it’s just me being my normal anxiety ridden mess of a self that contributes to the cause of always having to pee. But I pride myself on knowing where the closest bathrooms are when I’m out and about in the city.
I’ve been cramming dinners and drinks into my schedule each day in order to make sure that I can see everyone before I leave for Australia.
I act like I’m never coming back every time I take a trip overseas. It’s yet another one of my weird, neurotic, and possibly endearing traits depending on how you look at it. I have to get as many of my relationships in order before I jet out the door, and pacify as many friends and family members as I can.
Maybe this is because part of me wants to stay every time I go somewhere. Maybe it’s because I’m always keeping my eyes open for new opportunities and new places to live. I’ve found that traveling has made me realize that I have a deep need to stay on the move, but juggling relationships with people all over the world and keeping up with them is something that takes effort, and I want to make sure I stay as connected as possible to people.
It’s a ridiculous sentiment though, never coming back. I’d obviously have to come back to Seattle to get my things before I move anywhere, stateside or overseas. Plus I’m too old for the work visas I used to be able to get relatively easily, so the chances of me qualifying for something like that would be insanely slim.
But I digress. I was returning from yet another “see you when I see you” dinner. I was downtown and decided to walk to the bus stop even though it was a bit of a hike because it was a gorgeous evening.
I walked through the downtown area, and watched as the stores were all closing for the evening, when it hit me: I really had to pee.
I walked past Nordstrom’s, my go-to clean bathroom, as they were locking the doors for the evening.
I detoured to Starbucks and all the lights were off. And then I googled Starbucks in the area to see if any were open, and they were all closed.
I wondered what happened to the concept of a 24 hour Starbucks. We had one in Greenfield, Indiana for a while, so surely in a major city like Seattle they could surely support a 24 hour Starbucks. Particularly when I needed to pee at 10pm.
I cursed the fact that everything closed so early in Seattle. I started to feel like I was in actual pain walking through the streets, every step hurting my bladder.
I walked to the market to see if their bathrooms were open, and there were cops guarding the door. I was striking out all over the place.
Target was my final stop, but they had door codes and both had “out of order” signs on the door.
“Really?” I thought. “Both the men’s and women’s restrooms happen to be out of order at the exact same time? This feels like bullshit.”
I had now spent so much time walking around looking for a restroom that I probably could have taken a Lyft home and been using my own bathroom. But no. I had to go “enjoy the evening” and it was now turning into a nightmare.
I glanced down an alley, wondering if I should just pee behind a trashcan even though I knew that was sketchy. I weighed in my mind the thought of if I was likely to pee my pants as an adult in a Lyft or if it was better to stop seeing yellow and pee in an alley like the class act that I am. These are the hard life choices.
I thought of a story I was told growing up about a woman who held her bladder for so long that it burst and she died. I was in some serious pain, and wondered if this is what she felt like before death took her. Also, I wondered how she didn’t manage to just piss herself on accident. I think I’d take that route over death, though to be fair it would be a hard decision to make.
Right as I started leaning toward peeing in an alley, a man came out adjusting his pants, and I glanced over to see another man hanging out by the trash cans. My mind went immediately to assuming that there was obviously a deal swapping sexual favors for cocaine back there, and I decided then and there to risk pissing my pants or dying in the back of a Lyft.
If I passed out because of the pain, I figured my driver would likely be courteous enough to drive me to the hospital, and at least if I peed myself while unconscious someone might take more pity on me.
I got a decent driver who got me home fast and distracted me with Seattle “fun facts.” I was glad for the conversation to keep my mind off of my bladder.
I walked into my apartment and relieved myself, thinking that I obviously needed to be like a child and use the restroom before I leave any public place, whether I have to go or not, just to be safe.