Sunday was a beautiful, autumn day. My mother and I decided to go for a walk at the Delaware Raritan Canal. The colorful foliage combined with the shimmering sun and the flowing river created a breathtaking scene that we enjoyed experiencing and taking pictures of. My mom wanted me to be in the pictures she took, but I refused because I hadn’t put on makeup and didn’t want to be captured in nature in my natural state.
The Delaware Raritan Canal goes on forever so we couldn’t have possibly walked to the end of the trail but we could have walked further than we did. After we’d walked about two miles, I told my mother we had to turn around because I had to go number two (Actually I have no idea if it was two miles. I pulled that distance out of my ass. Please pardon the shitty pun.)
My mother would have liked to walk further but she understood that when you gotta go, you gotta go, so we headed back. As the minutes passed by, my need to crap become more pressing and urgent.
“I have to go really badly”, I said.
“I think there’s a port-a- potty in the parking lot”, my mom replied.
“Ew, port-a-potties are gross.”
At first I thought I would have the luxury of snubbing a port-a-potty if and when I encountered it in the parking lot but as I bemoaned the fact that the walk back to the car seemed to be taking so much longer than the walk away from it, I began to realize that was a luxury I might not be able to afford. As gross as port-a-potties were, they were better than crapping your pants in public.
I’m not opposed to relieving myself in nature, but unfortunately this was not a secluded area of nature and no secluded areas were available. There were people all along the trail. A woman I passed had dropped her key on the ground and was searching for it. I would have liked to have been a good samaritan and helped her find it, but I just didn’t have time for that. By that point, my fear was no longer that I would have to use the port-a-potty, but that I wouldn’t make it to the the port-a-potty in time.
The really terrible thing about having to go to the bathroom in an area of nature that’s filled with people but not toilets is that you have nowhere to relieve yourself and if you end up having an accident, other people are going to witness it. When I was in first grade I peed my pants in front of the whole class. In second grade my classmates asked me if I remembered that time I peed my pants. Of course I remembered it then, and I also remembered it about 25 years later as I walked along the Delaware Raritan canal, hoping I would not soon be having a similar experience with number two.
Every time I crossed paths with another person, I found myself sucking in my breath. If I had an accident would they gasp in horror? Rush to my aid? Pretend they didn’t see it? Then I started thinking that it would be kind of rude to leave a turd just sitting in the middle of the walking path but how was I supposed to pick it up? Was I supposed to carry it back to the car?
“Are you going to crap your pants?” my mother asked pointedly.
“I don’t know….”
“One time when my friend Margaret was running she crapped her pants. Then there was the time my friend Sally’s son…”
“You’re really not helping matters.”
“I’m just saying that if it happens, you’re not alone.”
“When you put that kind of imagery in my mind it…uh…speeds things up. Kind of like how hearing running water makes you pee.”
“How about you sit down on that bench over there?”
“No, that would make things worse.”
“Don’t worry. We’re almost at the parking lot and I’m almost positive there’s a port-a-potty there.”
I kept looking ahead in the distance for a glimpse of the bridge that would lead to the parking lot but it appeared there was nothing but trees and stream for miles. After what seemed like forever, I finally saw the bridge, which I thought was my beacon of salvation. As I crossed over it, I exhaled in relief, thinking another part of my body would soon be able to exhale as well. But(t), alas, as my eyes expectantly scanned the parking lot, I realized to my dismay that there was no port-a-potty.
“I guess you’ll just have to wait until we get home”, my mom said.
“I don’t know if I can”.
“You can do it. Please don’t crap in my car. I don’t want to have pay to have it cleaned.”
I pressed my ass down in to the passenger seat as hard as I could, hoping that would, uh, help keep things contained. I’m not religious, so I didn’t pray but as my mom drove, the phrase “Please don’t let me crap my pants” kept echoing through my head.
We considered stopping at a gas station but I decided against it. I reasoned that not only are gas stations disgusting, but you need a key to get in and I imagined crapping my pants in the middle of the gas station convenience store as I waited for the cashier to hand me the key.
“We’re almost home”, my mom reassured me as the last light before our house turned green. I was glad I’d made it this far, but I wasn’t naive enough to believe I was entirely out of the woods just yet. The universe can have a cruel and ironic sense of humor.
Thankfully, the universe ended up cooperating with me this time. I walked in to my bathroom with a sense of relief and gratitude. I’m sure you can imagine what I did next and don’t need to know the details.
Phew, that was a close one.
I’m not sure why when I finally write another blog post, I choose the topic of almost crapping my pants, but I hope you’ve enjoyed this story and weren’t too grossed out by it.