Chapter 4

Nearly two years separate this chapter from the one prior, but my ill luck with toilets has not ceased to exist. Countless embarrassing moments of practice and experience, however, have finally made me master of my own bladder (to some extent to say the least. Ice tea still seems to cancel effects of all acquired experience).

Have you ever noticed how some people inevitably have themes to their lives? Some have their life centered around providing fresh water to remote places of Africa, others dedicate themselves to education worldwide, and me… Well, I believe nature has made it clear that life, for me at least, will be a never ending battle to escape humiliation regarding my bladder.

Agreed, I should be grateful that life isn't more difficult than it is now.

But you have to admit that life is on God-Mode when your school toilets get clogged. Which they did.

If you've ever been to school (which I suspect you must've been) then you'll know that the toilet stalls can be your salvage on Mexican Food Day. For some reason, rumor has started spreading that the plumbing no longer worked. Fortunately for me, I had no pressing need whatsoever of relieving my bladder, but others weren't as lucky.

Sometime during the day, I entered one of the school's bathrooms in order to wash my hands.

What I've seen will traumatize me for the rest of my life:

Mounds of fecal matter clogged every toilet. Seriously guys, I'm not using any hyperboles or exaggeration here - I've never seen crap like this before. I would rather have to deal with a bathroom whose floor is wet than one whose stalls were as full with brown sludge as these had been.

And when I say every toilet, I mean every toilet. I went to another bathroom to escape the stench, but was greeted with the ideal bacterial breeding grounds wherever I went.

Chill out, I told myself, you just need to wash your hands.

So I washed my hands like any germ-aware person would.

Until after school was over.

My mother is the kind of person who never stresses herself in order to pick up my sister and me from school. My older sister and I would wait be the school gate day after day until every student would leave, and only after that would our mother and our second-hand car would stroll in, unaware that almost an hour has passed since the end of school.

As usual, my mother was taking her time to pick us up when, suddenly, I realized I need to pee.

I did my best holding it in, but when your urethra starts burning, you know some major liquid is on its way.

My sister was aware of the conditions of the bathroom, so instead of informing her of my dilemma and risk having stopping me from relieving myself, I told her I forgot something in my locker and just had to get it. She shrugged, slid her earphones into her ears, hummed to the music beating her eardrums, while I ran for my dear life to the closest bathroom.

Now, I've made another query to find the cleanest bathrooms I could find, but, alas, luck was not mine that day. There was no way I was going to pee on a mound of crap where the tip exceeded the height of the seat. So I did what any logical, desperate person would do.

I peed in the men's urinals.

I had no choice – I couldn't find a secluded, clean place to pee. It was uncomfortable, awkward, and it would've been the end of me if one of my male teachers would've entered right then and there. At least the urinals were cleaner than the toilets, although I imagine it would not differ on a microscopic scale. The shape of the urinals accommodated some of my needs, thankfully, but needless to say, it was messy. I managed to clean up the mess and escaped the scene of the crime as secretly as I could.

A few weeks later, I told my sister of the event, and to this day, I'm not sure if she was more amused than shocked.

Although I think it's safe to say she was amused – my sister is far from judgmental or anything of the like, because, if you compare her to me, we might not be as different.

I'm not saying my sister stuck her hand down the toilet, but she may have some kind of ill luck with bladders as well.

It was in a resort a long time ago. My sister, my father, and I were relaxing on lounge chairs beside the pool, enjoying our banana ice creams, or in my father's case, an afternoon coffee.

"I need to pee," she says all of a sudden.

"Then go," my dad told her.

Neither my father and I have been paying much attention to what she decided to do next, so absorbed were we in our mundane, summer activities. All I seemed to have recorded is that she stood up, walked away, and returned two minutes later.

Noticing that she only had been to the pool and back, I asked her whether she knew the bathroom was.

"But I just went to the bathroom," was her only innocent reply.

It took a while for my dad to register that his daughter had sat down at the edge of the pool and peed.

"Dad, haven't you ever peed in a pool?" we asked him.

"No, never! Pools are not for peeing!" his face reddened, "When you need to pee, you pee in the bathroom! Not the pool!"

From a man who'd be shocked to know both his daughter peed in a tub, I'd say his reaction was reasonable.

Well… I'm 87% sure your face is paralyzed by shock, or terror, or, in my father's case, indignation. But, let's admit it – if you would've been in my shoes, what would you have done?