There she blows
Don’t call me Ishmael.
This is not an epic story, and there are no tattooed cannibals or white whales in this yarn. The only connection this story has to Herman Melville’s great work is the importance of Starbuck, but I’m getting ahead of myself.
Some days, the arbitrary universe and modern existence align against a person and create a moment when one must make an unsatisfying choice. I made my choice. My actions are nothing to be proud of, but I ask you, gentle reader, what would you have done?
DISCLAIMER: If you are a member of the California Highway Patrol or local law enforcement who loathes those who drive while distracted, the following is PURE FICTION, and by “pure fiction” I mean, “This totally happened so long as the statute of limitations has expired.”
Like many stories, this one started innocently enough. I needed to get to Davis. I was in Sacramento. I needed to be on time. My brain was on autopilot. “Must. Get. To. Car,” my reptilian medulla oblongata told me.
So I raced to the car, jumped in, and drove.
I glanced at the speedometer. GOOD SPEED! I glanced at the road. NO ACCIDENTS! I glanced at the clock. ON TIME. Everything was going swimmingly.
And then, my cursed ‘blongata called.
Blongata: Brrrring! (as if making a phone call to my more-developed self)
Blongata: We have a situation.
Me: No we don’t. I will be ON TIME!
Blongata: That’s not what I was talking about.
Me: So? What’s the prob?
Blongata: We need to evacuate.
Me: Evacuate the car? Really? The terroristic threat in my Prius has gone to Yellow?
Blongata: I’m talking about a different kind of evacuation—but also of the yellow variety.
Blongata: I thought you were supposed to be the evolved one. Bro, you gotta’ pee!
Blongata: No, just number one.
My excessive liquid consumption earlier in the day had come back to haunt me.
This wasn’t an “I’ll just find a bathroom when I get to my destination” kind of pee. This was a micturition of the flash-flood variety: one minute you’re dry and the next, you’re knee deep.
Immediately, I wished I had worn Depends. Or had a driver-side chamber pot. I almost wished I had catheterized myself earlier in the day. So I sat there, my bladder wall as helpless as the New Orleans levees were against Katrina-formed pressure.
I was doomed. I was going to wet myself.
Then I saw it. There, in the cup holder, was something better than a first mate: a Starbuck’s grande-sized coffee cup—complete with lid.
Nonono, I told myself. That’s the stuff of fiction, something that Nancy Botwin or the moron from “Dumb & Dumber” does. Also, it’s gross. Furthermore, what if someone sees me in action!
Blongata: Yeah, all those scenarios are bad bad bad. But here’s another scenario—urine all over you, the car seat, your pants. How ‘ya gonna’ explain that to friends and family?
I grabbed the cup. I glanced at the road—no cars in sight. I caaarefulllly unbuttoned my pants (I was compromising the levee strength, you know). I maneuvered the unsuspecting urinal.
It was wonderful
It was sublime
It was still going
Two-thirds full. Still going.
Three-quarters full. Still going.
I was fast running out of fractions.
Why didn’t I get the venti?!?
Me: Medula oblongata!
Me: How do I turn it off? I’m 42 and my fast-expanding prostate doesn’t allow for abrupt stops!
Blongata: Sorry, Noah. You’re on your own.
Incredibly, the rain stopped right around the nine-tenths level. I capped the cup. I zipped myself up. And I made it to my appointment on time.
And I only am escaped the flood to tell thee.
David Weinshilboum would like to pull a Jenny Lawson and pretend this never happened. He can be reached at email@example.com