Scott's Bright Idea

I fancy myself a well-educated guy.  Hell… at times, I have even been called “smart.”  I earned a 3.9 in grad school at Oklahoma State University.  I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Tulsa.   I even graduated 10th in a high school class of 362.  Granted, it was Yukon High School in Yukon, Oklahoma, where not sucking directly on the bunsen burner tube as it’s attached to an open gas source gets you a minimum of a B-minus in chemistry.  Still, not too shabby.  Overall, my brain has had a decent workout during my 29 years on the planet.

So, one might think that a simple decision of whether or not to take a leak before leaving the office today would be a walk in the park.  Not so, says this studious fellow!

 I have spent this past week in L.A. attending a class for the company I work for.  It was rather enlightening, and I feel like I actually earned my salary as my brain crunched away from 8-5.  Throughout the day, we spent most of our time seated on our keesters.  This tends to make the joints get a bit stiff due to some mild arthritis I am fortunate enough to have inherited.  The good news is, I have found a remedy.  If I just drink gallons of water, I’m fine!  However, what is normally just a mild case of “tiny tank” syndrome in my bladder turns into a colossal urge to wet myself about every 30 minutes or so.

 Today, class finished up a bit early.  I sat around gabbing with my coworkers for a good 30 minutes when I finally realized that I had better head to the airport so I could make my 5:55pm flight back home.  The thought of arriving late and missing my flight did not excite me.  Even though I had ample time to make the trek from Thousand Oaks to LAX, one can never be sure about LA traffic. 

 Still, because of my arthritis issue, I figured I should make a pit stop and load up on fluids.  Besides, Gabby is always telling me how traveling on planes dehydrates you.  This is VERY true.  I know this, because  1)  on last weekend’s bachelor party, having only 3-4 beers en route from Austin to New Orleans made my mouth feel like I just tried to down a box of saltines topped with baby powder, and  2) if I don’t drink enough fluids before and during a flight, my arthritis gets horrendous and I walk around like a retired NFL offensive lineman for a day or two.  For these reasons, I downed the last of my current water supply, and stopped by the Spirent cafeteria for a refill.  I loaded my 20 oz. Styrofoam cup with ice and about 4-5 lemon wedges, then filled it to the brim with water.  I didn’t have an immediate urge to pee at this time, so I loaded up the car and headed out on the 101 Freeway toward LAX. 

 The drive started smoothly, and by my astute calculations, it looked like I would get to the airport in PLENTY of time.  I really wanted an exit row seat, so this would be an added bonus.  The idea is that if I beat everyone else to the ticket counter, I have my choice of spots on the plane.  NICE!  I dialed up my good pal Marty on the phone to help pass the time.  He wasn’t there, so I left a message.  When I hung up, I felt a slight urge to relieve myself, but nothing major.  At the rate I was traveling I would be able to get to the car rental place in plenty of time and have the Avis shuttle drop me at the airport.  THEN I could hit the "Little Cowboy's Room" before check-in.  PERFECT!

 Two miles later, the traffic STOPPED!  I sat motionless on the freeway while a 65 mile per hour speed limit sign mocked me on the shoulder.  I can’t be too sure, but out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of a three-toed sloth passing me in the HOV lane… pulling a trailer loaded with anvils.  Maybe this was a hallucination from all of the So/ Cal pollution, but it was still a bad omen.

I figured that there must be an accident up ahead.  I was right.  I passed it about 5 miles and 25 minutes later.  I was hardly any closer to the airport, and had burned up nearly a half an hour!  The good news was, the traffic was moving at about a 30-40mph clip.  I had a pretty heavy urge to pee now, but nothing to write home about.

 As I hopped off the 101 onto the 405 freeway, I got a call.  It was Marty.  We yakked for a good 10 minutes, and I appreciated the distraction.  My bladder was filling, but listening to Marty making fun of some of the dolts he works with took my mind off the pressure.

 When I got off the phone with Marty, I had the “maybe if I clench my buttcheeks it’ll be better” urge to pee.  I thought, “Well… perhaps I won’t wait ‘till I get to the airport to shake the dew off my lilly.  I should just risk missing the first Avis bus back to LAX and use their restroom instead.”

 SCREECH!  The traffic came to a standstill again.  “This is not looking good,” I thought.  All lanes of traffic, including the HOV lane, were crawling.  I still had a LONG way to go to the airport, too.  As I crested a small hill, I could see a mile or two in front of me, and not much was happening.  My bladder immediately shrunk upon seeing this.  Now, I was at the “if I keep taking these deep breaths and exhaling loudly, maybe the urine in my body will magically evaporate” stage.  My bladder was a virtual powder keg now.  This is when I made the decision that would change the course of history.

 I reasoned with myself.  “First off, it will take me FOREVER to get from the ‘fast lane’ over to a place I can exit.  Second, This is a fairly “residential/nature preserve-ish” stretch of the highway, and I see ABSOLUTELY NO ESTABLISHMENT THAT WILL LET ME PEE nearby. Third, if I drive around to find a place, I will likely get lost.  Four, if I drive around to find a place, I will likely be late to the airport and lose that coveted exit row seat, or worse yet, miss my flight.”

 You may be asking, “Scott, what was the alternative?”

 I noticed my 20 oz. stryrofoam container perched in the armrest cup holder, now empty.  Again, my critical thinking skills kicked in.  “That’s a pretty sturdy lookin’ cup there! It’s like the ‘circle of life’ in Elton John’s song!  I just took 20 ounces from the cup for nourishment, it’s only natural that I give it back at some point, right?!   My brother has even told me a story about one of his college buddies who took an emergency leak in a coffee cup while stranded in a winter snowstorm traffic jam.  Hell, I have MUCH MORE than a simple coffee cup here!  This is a 20-ouncer!” 

My choice was made.  Arrival at the airport, making my flight, and exit row seating took precedence over decorum.  Now… how to do this?  I assessed the situation.

 I was driving a rented, golden beige-colored Oldsmobile Alero.  It rides pretty low to the ground.  Traffic was still crawling.  I looked to my left and right.  Sure enough, there were SUV’s on both sides of me. Their high vantage point gave them a prime “crotch viewing” angle into the Alero!  Noticing this I now wish I had rented “Truckzilla” for this trip.  However, when making car reservations, I never forecasted that “tall enough so that no one driving a normal-sized vehicle will be able to check out your ‘franks and beans’ on the 405” would have been my highest priority vehicle feature.  Fuel economy seems like such a wasted benefit right now.  Lesson learned #1:  Olds Alero is a poor vehicle choice for peeing into a cup while driving.

 My plan of attack changed a bit.  I shuffled over to the HOV lane.  From this lane, I only had to worry about vehicles to my right.  On my immediate left was a thin shoulder and a big concrete barricade.  This was only interrupted by the occasional homeless straggler, who himself has probably peed into many forms of cup or canister.  He won’t care!  I figured that the chance of being pulled over for driving/peeing solo in the High Occupancy Vehicle lane was worth the risk.

 So, I was driving about 3-5 miles per hour in the HOV lane, considering dropping trou and taking care of business.  The problem was that I still had plenty of trucks and SUVs to my right.  I quickly reached into the back seat, unzipped my backpack, and pulled out an old T-Shirt.  The thought was that I could lay the T-Shirt in my lap to cover myself up while I unzip and “reveal Mr. Happy.”  I positioned the T-shirt like a napkin at a fine dining establishment, then I unzipped.

 Soon after unzipping, I realized something I was never taught at Yukon High School, Tulsa University, or even in graduate school.  When seated in driving position, it is difficult to obtain the “downward angle/dangle” necessary to fill an upright cup.  Since it would be impossible to change the laws of physics and defy gravity, I had my work cut out for me.  You see… proper seat adjustment is critical when peeing into a cup in an Olds Alero.

 First. I straightened the seat back so that I resemble a guy wearing a back brace. Next, I grab the electronic seat control that raises my butt, and lowers my legs & thighs.  Needless to say, NASCAR drivers would never attempt such a posture.  I am essentially eating the steering wheel, and my hindside is now in the lap of a “virtual backseat passenger.”  Let’s put a visual on this.

 Imagine, if you will, that commercial for those robotic recliners they used to try to sell on infomercials to old people.  Similar to the Craft-Matic adjustable bed, these are the chairs that basically move you from a seated position to a “crouched-standing position” for $699 and the push of a button.  Well, I am now in the “nearly crouched standing” position.  Good if you’re watching the big game on TV, and need to be righted so you can go to the fridge for another cold one.  Bad if you’re driving on the 405 in LA.  From this position, I “re-cover” myself with the T-shirt, sit up high to get some leverage, then position the cup. 

 As helpful and awkward as it is, I found that this seat position only allowed me to get a 60-70 degree tilt on the cup.  Translation?… I must be careful.  As I positioned myself near the lip of the cup, I took a deep breath.  I tried to block out the fact that guys on motorcycles are “riding the line” between lanes of traffic and nearly clipping my side view mirrors.  I have BUSINESS to attend to!  Finally… the moment of truth – sort of.

 You guys probably know the term “pee shy.”  Well… for any ladies reading this, “pee shy” is what sometimes happens to guys when they are forced to pee while standing next to a bunch of guys at a urinal.  I still don’t know the exact cause of this disorder that affects 99.8% of the urinating public of males.  Maybe there’s something about standing there with your privates hanging out while a bunch of other guys are around.  Maybe it’s the fear that when you release your contents, you’ll have the weakest stream in the group… more of a trickle really.  Subconsciously, this says something about your level of manliness, much like the size of your truck tires or your ability to pick a Buffalo Wing clean to the bone.   

Whatever the case, when the “pee shy” fairy overtakes a guy, it means that he may go to the can, and walk away unfulfilled.  Sure… he may try to mask it all by making a lot of noise (coughing, flatulence, belching) to cover up the fact that there is no “splashing” sound at his urinal.  He may even finish with a hearty flush to try and fool the rest of the happy pissers.  Still, the truth is out. 

 Back on the 405, I learned that “pee shyness” is magnified when you’re surrounded by a slew of 4X4s, Ford Excursions, and Hum Vees.  I probably sat for 60 seconds with nary a drop.  I’m just sittin’ there with my wanger perched on the lip of a Solo cup, covered by a Lyle Lovett concert T-Shirt, driving at a snail’s pace on one of the busiest freeways in the country.  Not your everyday situation, to be sure.  Needless to say, my “twig & berries” were out of their element.  It was gonna’ take a while to adjust.  Finally, somewhere before the Marina Del Rey interchange, I felt a rush of sweet release. 

 Whether you know this or not, using the bathroom in the driver’s seat can be just as rewarding as taking a leak anywhere else.  I was feeling like I had made the right decision… that is… until I realized another sinister biological phenomenon had taken hold.  I felt warmth on my inner thigh.  Taking my left hand off the wheel, I lifted the T-Shirt to peek at the goings-on down below.  Sure enough, I had fallen victim to the cruelest random joke in the male universe.  That’s right… it was a “split stream”. 

 Again, guys know what I’m talking about.  For you girls, it may take a little explaining.  For centuries, women have complained about “bad aim”. 

 “My little boy pees all over the floor!” 

“My husband always leaves droplets on the rim!” 

“How hard is it to pee in something as big as a toilet?!” 

 Well ladies…

 I promise you that, unless dry-heaving drunk, a man ALWAYS aims true.  We line up dead center and then let it go!  But sometimes, when the moon is full and Saturn aligns with Pluto, our primary stream is diverted.  To use a plant-watering analogy, it’s like you were letting the hose just pour into the flower bed, and then suddenly, you capped your thumb over the end.  Next thing we boys know, our primary stream is hittin’ the Tidy Bowl Man right between the eyes, but this secondary trickle is splashing into your jewelry box on the night stand.  We have no control over this.  It just happens.  So (an aside here) next time you catch yourself complaining about bad aim, you should just be happy that the majority of the primary stream hit its mark.  It coulda’ been much worse.  Trust me.  Anyhow, back to the 405. 

 When I looked down, I saw my secondary trickle bouncing off the edge of the cup and draining into my lap.  “Great!  I’m pissing myself!”  I yelled.  With all the strength I could muster, I shut off the stream and rethought my strategy.  This minimized the damage to my inner thigh, but didn’t quell the fire in my bladder.  I reasoned, “Well… there’s no turning back now.”  So I re-positioned myself and prayed.  Again, once the “pee shyness” subsided, I could see that the split-stream event had fixed itself, and I was feeling better.  Total relief was in sight.  Except… wait… wait just a minute…

 “How big can a bladder be?”  I wondered.  I saw the cup filling rapidly.  Logic told me that a 20 oz. cup should be more than enough to hold all my pee.  What I didn’t figure on was the “tilt factor”, which greatly reduced the capacity of the cup.  Then my morning flashed before my eyes. 

 Happily sipping two 12 oz. cups of hot tea… 

Joyously gulping down two 20 oz. cups of water…

A couple of trips to the drinking fountain! 

 OH MY GOD!  She cannot take much more Captain Kirk!  I coulda’ filled a swimming pool! 

 I peeked at the cup again and realized the root cause of my misfortune.  Well… I take that back.  The ROOT cause of my misfortune is that I thought it would be a good idea to void myself while driving on the 405.  My problem now was that there wasn’t much ice left in the cup, but the 4 lemon wedges were taking their toll.  I would never go the distance.  The solid objects were displacing the liquids, and I had to make a rapid decision.  Damn my love of citrus!

 I cut off the stream again.  Just in time!  Again, let’s assess the current situation.

 As if this picture wasn’t odd enough to begin with, now it’s even worse.  I am now driving 10-15 miles per hour on the 405 (things are picking up), I have my “bits & pieces” hanging out… covered by a Lyle Lovett concert T-Shirt, I have a pee spot the size of the Exxon Valdez oil spill on my jeans, and in my right hand I now hold a steaming 20 oz. cup of lemon-flavored urine.  Now what do I do? 

 The good news is that even though I wasn’t able to empty my bladder, the idiocy of what I had just done has taken away all urges I had.  Heavy doses of personal shame and embarrassment apparently overtake any feelings one has to expel waste from his/her body.  Good to know! 

 I placed my cup of pee ever-so-carefully into the cup holder beside me, and use my free hand to zip up.  I reached back to put the T-shirt into my backpack.  I looked right and left to see if anyone noticed what I had just done.  Luckily, I was driving in the most superficial town on earth, so the women were busy considering their breast implants while the men were wondering if they have enough vacation time left to get a butt lift.  They didn’t even notice me.  Thank God!

 We (me and my hot cup o’ pee) crept along for another 7 minutes, then traffic started to pick up to 20 miles per hour.  I am still laughing at my poor planning, when I realize that my rental car now smells like the men’s room at a Dodger’s game.  I think, “This isn’t good.  I have to get rid of this pee before I return this car.”  The light aroma is starting to nag at me like the “thunmp-thump… thump-thump” from Edgar Allen Poe’s “Tell Tale Heart.”  I am thinking, “Leave me alone, pee cup!  Leave me be!”  I must rid this car of the evidence… and FAST! 

 I rolled down the window and considered chucking the cup.  Then, an idea hit me. “I should just DUMP the cup!  That-a way, I could ‘refill’ it if another traffic jam comes and I’m desperate.”  So… I reached my left arm WAAAAAAAY out the window, and gave the cup a hard flicking motion.  I soon realized that, essentially, what I just did  was toss a cup of urine and lemon wedges into a 20 mile per hour wind.  I might as well have just strapped a playful elephant on the back dash of my car spraying wildly with a trunk full o’ pee!  It would have the same effect.  The end result is a crop of shiny urine droplets dancing across the side of the Olds!  I didn’t even bother to check the rear-view mirror to see if my other road warriors got a shower, too.  The good news is, my car was already the color of stale pee to begin with, so now it merely looked like it was “sweating.”  The bad news was, my wellspring of poor choices now seemed endless.

 I changed lanes and got WAAAAAAY over to the right.  I hoped that the wind rush of the quick lane change would help to dry the side of my car. Looking up, I felt relieved that I was a mere two miles from the exit that takes me to Avis.  The bad news, I realized, was that I still had a gargantuous pee spot on my pants.  Sure, most guys can overlook a little pee spot.  One little dribble can easily be covered up by an untucked shirt, well-placed laptop case or jacket.  With larger splatters, you can often just blame it on a sink that has a bad spraying faucet.  However, the spot I have looks like I had an exploding water balloon in my pocket.  Even worse is the fact that the checkout guy at Avis knows that there aren’t any wild spraying sinks in an Olds Alero.  At this point, I just wished I had a medical ID bracelet diagnosing me with Overactive Bladder Syndrome.  At least that way I would have had something to blame it on.

 Again, my brain kicked into gear and I try to figure out what to do.  A quick fix I have often used for a small drip is to just rub the spot vigorously with a dry cloth or paper towel.  The friction causes heat, which dries the spot.  Looking at my spot, I knew I had my work cut out for me.  I reached into my backpack.  This time, I extracted a pair of clean boxer-briefs.  I exited the highway to head for Avis.  “I must work quickly, ‘cuz I am not far from the car lot.”

 At the intersection at the end of the exit, the light was red.  I decided to seize the opportunity.  I feverishly got to work on the spot.  I rubbed back and forth as fast I could trying to generate some heat and get rid of that darn spot.  Once I started, I realized that this may take a LOT of effort.  I kept looking down, then looking up to see if the light was green yet – still working feverishly. My mouth was contorting into all sorts of unnatural expressions.  I worked on the spot for a good 45 seconds. After that time, I went zig when I shoulda’ gone zag, and lost my grip on the boxers.   I held the boxers up to get a better handle on ‘em before I got to workin’ again.  When I did this, I realized another really bad idea had come to fruition.

 A guy in a Toyota Camry was idling next to me at the light.  I glanced at him.  For the last 45 seconds, he had apparently been watching me “go to town” on something in my crotch region.  As I glanced back at my hand on the steering wheel, I saw why his eyes were open so wide.  He had just watched me “work on my spot” for a while, and then my hand made its way up to the steering wheel to reveal me holding a pair of underpants.  I can only imagine what he must have been thinking.  If only I could have been shot right then and put out of my misery.  I stared straight ahead, and drove as FAST AS I COULD to get out of there once the light turned green.  Yes, Olds Aleros CAN peel out.

 Thankfully, that was the last of my truly big mistakes.  I arrived at Avis about 5 minutes later to return the car.  I quickly deposited the cup while the guy was ringing up my final total.  As I grabbed my receipt, I looked at the side of the car.  It still showed signs of my “cup dumping”.  Even though the guy probably wouldn’t have thought anything of it… and DEFINITELY wouldn’t have thought that he was staring at drops of pee on this nice new rental car, I mumbled, “Yeah… I drove through a little puddle at the edge of the parking lot.”  Red-faced, I quickly grabbed my receipt and jumped on the bus, using my laptop case to cover the evidence on my pants.

 Now… here I sit on a plane bound for Austin.  My arthritis isn’t acting up, so that’s a good thing!  Another positive is that I have learned a valuable lesson.  I hope each of you have as well.  Enjoy this story, gents.  Pass it on if you must.  But please… please… I beg of you…  next time you’re in LA… keep your windows rolled up, and stay out of the HOV lane.

 ‘Till next time!