Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
Got To Go
by Lisa Romeo
I have to pee. All the time. Not all the time, but often enough that when someone in my family says, "Did you go?" while the scramble for shoes, Gameboys and misplaced keys is in full throttle, they are talking to me. You probably know someone like me. But chances are they are under four or reside in a nursing home.
No medical reason explains why my bladder is online all the time or so the endocrinologist, urologist, and gynecologist have decided. I passed all their tests. I was really disturbed by the one in which I was required to drink an absurd amount of a caffeine-laden beverage and hold it until I thought my bladder would rupture through my jeans. When they test people for macular degeneration, do they push them in front of a bus just to be sure?
Going all the time has its perks. I meet new people and learn about new cultures. Once, wearing my wedding gown with the cathedral-length-train, I suddenly had to pee while traversing the tiny distance from the hotel elevator to the lobby door, after my mom, sister and bridal party members had left for the church. I met a wonderful pair of Trinidadian sisters in the loo, who graciously held up my gown, train and veil, while carrying on an animated conversation, and administering a traditional island wedding blessing.
I know there is a pill for overactive bladder these days but would I trade such encounters for the normalcy of peeing only a few times a day? Frankly, yes. But I have already tried it. One of the side effects? Dry mouth. You do the math.
Getting an okay to use a bathroom in a small establishment at which one is not planning to order a slice with pepperoni or egg roll is sometimes tough. Asking politely does not always work. One must grovel: "I hate to ask, but can you help me? I really need a restroom and I would so much appreciate it; I'm really in a bind, so if you could help me outů" This usually works, especially if it is a woman on the other side of the counter. If the toilet gatekeeper is a pregnant woman, I'm in, baby.
No one empathizes with a demanding urge to pee more than a pregnant woman. Or a woman who has once been pregnant. Or for that matter, a man who has spent more than 30 minutes with any pregnant woman. I have even been known to pretend to be pregnant when I was not. I just arch my back, thrust out my stomach, and stroke my abdomen. I have no remorse about this. I was in fact pregnant several times, and spent the better part of one of those pregnancies in bed. I figure I accrued a number of unused pregnant-lady-needs-to-use-the-bathroom credits, which even now, with my creeping grey roots, I find no shame in redeeming.
Lisa Romeo's work appeared recently in O-The Oprah Magazine, The Polishing Stone; and is forthcoming in Special Gifts: Women Writers on Raising a Special Needs Child. She is working toward an MFA and lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children, who can all hold it for hours.
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