Potty in the USA

When you have a car, and you REALLY gotta go, you have the luxury of pulling over wherever you are and hitting up a stank gas station or McDonald’s toilet. If you’re in the middle of nowhere, you can always stop and tromp through the bushes. When you’re on the New York City subway? Well…you’re just sh*t outta luck.

Sure, you could get off the subway and take your chances that there’s a McDonald’s or a Starbucks nearby the station, but there are parts of New York where that’s just not possible. Many parts, actually. And if you don’t know the neighborhood around the stop, you’re pretty much screwed.
I usually make it my policy never to get on the subway if I even have the inkling for a tinkling. My worst fear is getting stuck on a stalled train with my bladder exploding. No one wants to be the girl who peed her pants on the subway. That would be mortifying.

I should have gone before leaving the restaurant after my date. Instead, I figured I’d be fine. It wasn’t that bad, after all. But by the time I boarded the train at Union Square (still many stops and 30 minutes from home), I knew I’d done the wrong thing. By the tip of Manhattan, right before the train went under the river, I was bouncing my legs, and could no longer focus on Angry Birds. I tried to sit there and think of other things, like how much I enjoyed my date. My eyes got watery. Even my knuckles were hurting! I figured if I stood it would be worse. So I sat there. For three stops. And finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. I ran off the train at Nevins Street and then realized I’d never been off the train at Nevins Street, and in fact had no idea if there would be any place for me to go. So I walked around the platform, cursing myself for getting off the train. But at least my knuckles stopped hurting. As long as I tap danced my way up and down the platform, I felt alright. “You can do this, you can do this,” I encouraged myself, like a coach at a high school wrestling match. Except my opponent was my goddamn bladder.

Another train came. It was empty. I jumped on. I continued my tap dance around one end of the car, probably looking like I was high on something. The girl with the curly blonde hair and a yoga mat slung around her shoulders looked at me like I was one of those homeless people who smell like poop and unwashed skin and walk around mumbling to themselves. (No, I wasn’t mumbling. And I didn’t smell like poop.)

Dear God, I did finally make it home. But that must have been one of the most painful experiences of my life. I don’t break bones or tear muscles, but by God I need to treat my insides better. Clearly.

And now, all this talk of urine, I’m off to empty the tank. Ta!


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