Sarnia to Stratford, Ontario, Canada
People have them all the time. The urge to pee. Usually it’s no big deal. You go to the restroom and relieve yourself. No more urge. But it becomes quite a different dilemma when you’re stuck traveling in a car on what appears to be an endless highway. And pulling over to the side of the road is not an option considered lightly by two young women attempting to protect their decency.
The urge first became apparent as the car idled in line at the toll-booth for the Blue Water Bridge. My anxiety levels surged a little in anticipation of crossing over the St. Clair River. But once upon the bridge, I relaxed and drove the car with ease from Port Huron, Michigan, United States to Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. While in line for customs I deemed it appropriate to reveal to my travel buddy, Jessie, my urge.
“I sorta have to go pee.”
“Sorta? You don’t know?” Jessie sarcastically questioned me.
“Well, I’m just starting to get the urge. I can hold it.” I took a big gulp of my Sunkist.
“Come to think of it, I sorta have to go, too.”
“Sorta? You don’t know?” I batted my eyelashes and shot Jessie a big, teeth-filled, Cheshire Cat smile.
“Shut up!” Jessie glared at me. “I DEFINITELY have to go, but I can hold it.”
“Maybe we should pull over after we get by this customs guy. There’s the duty-free shop and it should have restrooms.”
“You’re driving. You decide. But you’ll have to shoot across all those lanes for the duty-free.” Jessie’s finger pointed at rows of cars coming toward us as they waited to cross the bridge. “I don’t have to go that bad. I’m sure there’ll be somewhere we can stop on the way to Stratford.”
While contemplating the difficult tactics necessary to make it safely to the duty-free shop, we completely overlooked the large, tourist rest area on the right-hand side equipped with several suitable toilets. A fact we became aware of the next year on a subsequent trip to the Shakespeare Festival in Stratford. A big mistake.
“Maneuver through five lanes of oncoming traffic or wait? I think we’ll wait.”
“Good idea, Jodie. I don’t want you to bang up my car. We’ll be fine.” Jessie unknowingly replied with regretful words.
I merged Jessie’s little, gold, four-door Saturn onto the 402, confident that an uneventful journey lay ahead of us. We drove by several fast-food restaurants on our way out of Sarnia. But we both erroneously agreed that the little, nagging urge did not justify the trouble of getting off and back on the busy 402 at that time. Another big mistake.
The city of Sarnia soon gave way to ceaseless crop fields already harvested for the season. As we drove on, an occasional farmhouse, sheep, horse, or cow appeared. Along with the not-so-wonderful fragrance that accompanied these animals. Two-lane highways surrounded by more farmland awaited us once we exited the 402.
“I really have to go pee now.” I stated matter-of-factly.
“Me, too.” Jessie looked out the window frantically. “I can’t believe there hasn’t been anywhere to stop this whole time. You’d think there’d be a store or something.”
“You’d think. Normally I like driving through the country. But this is ridiculous.”
We turned onto another highway, and approached the town of Nairn. Sparse foliage adorned this highway, but Jessie and I decided the urge did not yet warrant the side of the road. Besides with a town nearing, the possibility of a toilet now presented itself. Our anticipation of discovering a place to properly relieve our urge increased as we passed by the sign marking Nairn’s outer border. A small church sat on one side of the road, a tractor outlet on the other, and then no more Nairn.
“Where’s the rest of it?” Jessie looked wide-eyed over the backseat.
“I think that was it.” Disbelief encompassed me. “Talk about driving through the set of Children of the Corn.”
Jessie glared at me. “Oh my God. What are we gonna do?”
I kept driving, turning onto yet another highway. Again, nothing but a sea of farmland. The wind started to pick up, and the bare fields offered little shelter from its rage. Gusts of air, filled with dried sand from the plowed land, pelted the driver’s side of the car pushing it fiercely toward the graveled edge. I yanked the Saturn back in an effort to keep it on the pavement. Jessie and I clenched our teeth together as the contents in our bladders sloshed around with every bounce of the car. I almost regretted being the driver when I noticed Jessie’s legs tightly crossed under the dashboard of the passenger side. An option unavailable to me as I pushed down on the gas pedal. Memories of her scary driving, however, reassured my decision to pilot this trip.
“Man, this wind is something else. Listen to that sand hitting your car.” I attempted to draw the focus away from the urge. “It can’t be good for your paint job.”
“I hope it doesn’t leave any marks on my baby.” Jessie looked over with a plea of desperation. A plea for her car’s paint job or a plea relating to her next statement, I’ll never know. “I’ve really, really gotta go pee.”
“Well, so do I. But there’s nowhere to go.”
“There’s the side of the road.” Jessie pointed out the window.
“There’s no trees. Not even a bush. What about the other cars? What about our decency?”
“What decency?” Jessie snidely asked. “You want me to believe that you actually care what the other driver’s think about you?”
“Okay. Fine. What about the sand?”
“What does the sand have to do with it?” Jessie questioned.
“Can you not hear it pelting your car to death?”
“Yeah. My poor car. But how does that affect us peeing?”
“Can you just imagine what that sand would do to our naked butts?” I began to snicker.
“Ow!” Jessie began to laugh. “Like being sandblasted.”
“Hee, hee, hee.”
Jessie and I tend to have bouts of uncontrollable laughter. The idea of our butts chafed raw by flying dirt as we squatted to pee by the roadside started one of these spells. Laughing is not something you want to do when you have the urge as bad as we did.
“Stop it. Hee, hee, hee. Stop laughing, Jodie. I’m going to wet my pants. Hee, hee, hee.”
“You’re going to WET YOUR pants? Hee, hee, hee. I think I’m leaking around the edges.” I pointed out followed by an abrupt snort.
“Did you just snort? Hee, hee, hee.” Jessie attempted to get control. “This is killing me.”
“Okay. Okay. I’m calm.” I took in some deep breaths and my laugh turned into a small snicker.
“Me, too.” Jessie stopped laughing. “But now I really have to go. We’re not going to make it. We are going to wet our pants.”
The thought had crossed my mind more than once. But two things consoled me if an accident occurred. This being an overnight trip, a change of clothes rested neatly packed in my suitcase. And safe from the urge ï¿½ my beautiful, pewter truck parked at home. This car belonged to Jessie.
These facts brought no physical comfort, however. My side throbbed with pain as I attempted not to mess myself. The effort caused my breathing to grow heavy. The urge had become unbearable. I stared out the windshield scanning the horizon for any possible spot to go pee. And there it sat at the intersection of two major highways. Well, as major as a highway can get in the middle of nowhere.
“JESSIE! LOOK! LOOK, JESSIE, LOOK!” My hands leapt from the steering wheel and flailed about the vehicle compartment.
Our eyes grew big as they fixated on it. With awe, we gazed upon what we deemed to be the eighth wonder of the world. The most magnificent gas station on the planet gleamed with radiance under the afternoon sun.
I hit that driveway at speeds comparable to a NASCAR Driver pulling in for a pit stop. The Saturn skidded to a halt as I whipped it into a parking spot. Unfortunately, I had to park about 100 feet from the entrance. Making our way to the building proved difficult in the strong wind.
As soon as I attempted to stand up, I felt the pee slowly leaking out. The Saturn being very low to the ground didn’t help either. I grabbed the roof of the car, crossed my legs, and pulled myself up trying to contain as much of the liquid in my bladder as possible. I then hopped across the parking lot with my legs crossed. The wind almost pushed me over a few times.
“I’m not going to make it.” Jessie’s desperate voice came from behind. Apparently, similar problems plagued her.
Jessie and I busted through the door leading into the gas station. I rushed to the back knowing restrooms are usually situated there. I saw the small, blue sign with a person outlined on it.
“It’s here Jessie! It’s here.”
I stumbled into the restroom containing one toilet and a laundry-room tub as the sink. Ripping my pants off, I sat on the toilet and peed. Sweet relief. I made it. The leakage that now stained my underpants had been minimal. Nothing to be embarrassed about. I kept peeing. And the world around me disappeared. Until Jessie started banging on the door.
“Why’d ya lock the door?”
“There’s only one toilet.”
“Oh my God. Hurry up. I’m dying.” Jessie continued to bang on the door.
“I’m peeing as fast as I can. It just keeps coming out.”
“What the hell did you drink? Niagara Falls?”
And I kept peeing. It took forever. My side ached when I finally finished. But I felt much better. I quickly pulled up my pants, washed my hands, and let Jessie in. She nearly knocked me down as she barged past me. I could hear her sighs of relief as I walked away from the restroom.
I felt compelled to purchase something after using the gas station’s restroom. I picked out a few candy bars and headed to the checkout counter. Jessie had joined me by this time also carrying a few food items. The clerk ï¿½ a young, high-school, girl ï¿½ glared at us with curiosity.
“Why’d ya go into the men’s washroom?” The clerk pointed at the restroom we had just been in.
“That’s the only restroom I saw.” I felt the heat rise in my face, and knew I had to be tomato-red by this point.
“The ladies room is right there.” The clerk pointed to a little, blue sign with a person in a dress outlined on it located in the opposite corner.
“Ooops. Sorry. At least the men’s room was a single room with a lock, so no one could walk in on us.” Jessie, also red as a tomato, quickly pointed out.
“Okay.” The clerk smiled as she started to check out our purchases. “But you know the ladies room has two stalls?”
“Two toilets?” Jessie glared at me. “TWO TOILETS?”
“Is it my fault you didn’t look for the other bathroom?”
“You told me it was there. So I went there. And waited for you to pee. Which took forever. Do you have any idea what that was like? Hearing you pee, while I had to wait outside with my legs crossed?” Jessie looked flabbergasted.
“Nope. No idea. I was in the bathroom peeing.” I flashed a teeth-filled smile at Jessie, grabbed my merchandise, and quickly retreated for the car.
I had the engine going when Jessie finally made it to the car. I smiled over at her as I put the car in gear. She gave me one of those fake angry looks and started to laugh.
“Was that gas station a savior or what? I didn’t think we’d make it.” Jessie turned to look at the eighth wonder of the world one more time as we drove out of sight.
“Beats getting our butts sandblasted on the side of the road.”