Thursday, July 29, 2010

Toilet Training: Australian Style

When I was 10, I went to Australia. We flew for a very long time and landed in a small airport in northern Queensland, where my Father, older sister and I were met by some strange man who spoke in a very strange accent. I was nervous and shy. We all got in this man's car and drove "home."

"Home" was half a day's car ride away. Except I had never driven in a car for that long. Ever. I didn't even know it was possible. In my world, everything was located ten minutes away. Going to the grocery store? Ten minutes. Going to the bank? Ten minutes. Going to church? Ten minutes. So it made sense in my 10-year old mind that I would get in this car and ten minutes later, upon reaching our destination, would get out of this car.

Except we didn't get out. Ever.

Ok, not ever. We did stop at some dusty shack along the side of a dusty road where I was handed my first ever Cherry Cheer Soda (which I would drink 2,763 of during my six-week stay). Then we got back into the car and continued driving. And driving. And I happily gulped down my entire soda.

And while we were driving, my bladder grew larger and larger. And it hurt. And I was uncomfortable. And I started to sweat. And ohmydeargod I needed to pee so bad but I didn't want to say anything because I was shy and shy people don't ask questions. Even if they could ask questions (which they can't) they most certainly would not ever, under any circumstances, dare to ask anything as personal as using the bathroom.

And so as my Dad and the Aussie Stranger laughed it up in the front seat, I was busy rocking back and forth, cramming my hands between my legs and praying to God this nightmare would end.

"Here we are!" the Aussie Stranger announced after far too many hours had passed. THANK YOU, JESUS! And with that momentary mental relaxation, urine slipped from my bladder, soaking the entire crotch of my jeans, wicking its way down my thighs.

No! No! No! No! No!
Ohmygod! Ohmygod! Ohmygod!

Well now, this isn't very good. Now I'm sitting in pee-pee jeans in the back of some man's car; some man whom I have never ever met before in my life and who I never, ever wanted to see again. I managed to stop the urine escape, but the damage  had been done. The front of my jeans were soaked. The only thing I had going for me was the car did not have fabric upholstery and all the windows of the car were down. There would be no stain and no smell. Especially if I moved all the way forward in my seat and balanced at the very edge on my tail bone.

A left, a right, then another left and we park. Except we're not at a house. We're in the center of town. In a business district. And my dad's announcing that we're all going to inside this bank so he can get money and I have to get out of this car and walk in public? With pee soaked pants?! What was wrong with this man who called himself my father? Did he not know his 10-year old daughter hadn't emptied her bladder in half a flipping day? My mom would've known. My mom would've made a point to stop at every available restroom and order our bladders drained. My mom would've said, "Just go try...." when we whined we didn't have to. My mom would not have allowed any of her children to drink a soda then drive for six hours without a potty break. It just would not have happened. And that is just one reason why my mom is so special. Because she would know when I needed to go. (Also, she would not have wanted to clean up after an accident.)

Thankfully I had my sweater next to me from the flight. (Thank you, Wisconsin Winter!) I tied that sucker so tight it looked like I had a pastel striped towel wrapped around my waist. Then I hobbled into the bank after my father. Because walking with a full bladder is bad enough; walking with a full bladder that has sweater sleeves cutting into it, squeezing it in half, borders on torture.

Now, looking back with my adult mind, I realize there probably were bathroom facilities located in that bank. Surely their employees had to go at some point throughout the work day. But then again, I was shy. And surrounded by all sorts of strange people and noises and smells and lights... barely hanging on to consciousness.

I don't remember the ride from the bank to the house we were staying at. I do remember knocking down my sister and trampling over her to get in the door. At this point I was convinced I was going to die if I didn't pee. It had been hours of struggling and the bladder was about to win.

"WHERE IS YOUR BATHROOM?" I shouted at the woman who had opened the door.

"...uh... down the hall, first door on your right..."

And that is where I took off running. Down the hall ... first door on the right ... and I slammed that door so hard and locked that door so fast ... and I was jumping around as I started untying that stupid sweater still hanging around my waist and I was dancing around unbuttoning those jeans and starting to unzip those pants and ... where the hell was the toilet?

I saw a sink. A very nice sink. With a counter. And a mirror and lights. And it looked just like our sinks in America. And I saw a bathtub. A very nice bathtub. With a shower curtain and a shower head and a faucet. And it looked just like our bathtubs in America. But that was it. There was no toilet. I was standing in a room that looked like a bathroom. Was decorated like a bathroom. Acted like a bathroom. But was missing one very vital piece of furniture of which is expected in something defined as a bathroom.

So I took a piss in the bathtub and wondered what the heck Australians had against toilets.

Editor's Note: I would quickly learn the toilet was next door in a room called, most appropriately, the Toilet.


dusty earth mother said...

Oh. My. Goodness.

That is quite a story. I was in agony just reading it, much less having lived through it.

Thanks for visiting my blog! I look forward to having with you, virtually, of course.

angie said...

i can't believe this story didn't give me nightmares last night. god bless you for persevering.

Just Me said...

This one made me laugh out loud! I think when I was around 10, I held it for two days when I was stranded at my friend's house in a snowstorm. All because I was too shy to figure out a polite way to ask if I could use their bathroom. Duh!