When you've got an open road ahead of you, wind blowing through your fingertips, and a full tank of gas in the tank the last thing you want to do is halt your momentum for a pee break. Unfortunately, this detour is almost always necessary for the enjoyment of the road ahead. It's hard to breathe in the landscape when every breath threatens to mess your clean pair of underwear.
I found myself in this situation recently.
On past road trips, I've managed to discreetly relieve myself into an empty bottle of some kind without the notice of any of my fellow passengers. I've never done this on public transportation mind you, only in the comfort and unconditionally loving acceptance of close friends and family. They rarely know what I am doing until the deed is done. At which point, I hold my golden trophy up in victorious fashion.
My traveling companions, on this recent road trip, were fairly new acquaintances. We had climbed Yosemite Falls together, as well as Half Dome. We had slept out under the stars together-hiding under our sleeping bags at the sound of bear's growling. We had made food together, broke bread together, and sang dumb songs together, but peeing in their presence would take our friendship to a whole new level and I didn't think we were ready for that kind of commitment just yet.
Politely, I asked my new friends if we could pull over at the next gas station. A few moments later, we found an outdated fill-up spot outside the small mining town of Mariposa. I ran inside the store as quick as a flash. The clerk was an older gentleman, on the phone, and preoccupied. So I began looking in every corner of this place for a door that would lead to some form of porcelain, at this point a sink would do just fine. The clerk continued chatting on the phone as I searched. After finding nothing, I decided to go scout out the local landscape for a private shrub of some kind.
I ran passed my friend's car. They looked confused as I ran for the nearby hedge. I jumped a ditch, looked around quickly, and dropped my shorts. My relief was short-lived as a voice boomed through the trees yelling, "you'll be shot!" The last scene of my life flashed through my mind as I imagined being gunned down on the side of the road by a territorial hick. Upon discovering my body, my friends would see me covered in blood and urine. The embarrassment of dying that way would have been worse than the burn of shutting off my relief valve mid-flow. So I grimaced, pulled up my shorts, and walked out slowly from behind the foliage with my hands in the air.
The old gentleman from the store looked down on me from his porch. "You'll get shot for that 'round here." My cheeks turned red with shame. At this point, I wish I would've peed in the car.
"Just last week the sheriff put a man in jail for indecent exposure and registered him as a sex offender for doing what you were about to do. Now do you need a key to the bathroom?"
"Yes sir." I replied.
"Well why didn't you just say so."
I thought about why I didn't just say so. Maybe it's because I was being polite and didn't want to interrupt his phone call. Maybe it's because I don't mind peeing in the outdoors. Maybe because I didn't think that death would be the penalty for taking a leak behind a bush.
Without explanation, I took a crusty old bathroom key from his hand. Around the store and to the left sat a dirty outhouse. This is where I could relieve myself in peace. I would've been overjoyed at the sight of this streaked-brown toilet had it been just a few moments earlier. You see, I'd mostly finished going before hearing the warning of gunshots to come. After hearing this warning, the urine seemed to flow much faster and much more uncontrolled. The damage was done. I took advantage of the outhouse for washing my hands and to look at my shame-covered face in the mirror.
I returned the key to the old gentleman. With bruised pride and wet pants I returned to the car. I was greeted with laughter from my new friends. The whole experience bonded us closer than we were before. I think we're close enough now that I'll pee in a bottle on our next road trip.