A Story About Peeing Beside a Church

I would like to begin this story by apologizing to God. The God of any and all religions. Because not only did I pee beside his (Christian) house of worship, I am telling the story of said pee on Yom Kippur, God’s (Jewish) holiest day of the year. While eating a granola bar. A few hours into my “fast.”

So it’s safe to say I’m fucked for the year. I’ve accepted this. You should, too.

First some background context. I have the world’s worst bladder. Just in the sense that it fails miserably at doing its one job, which is to hold liquids (maybe it has other jobs. I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. But I’m pretty sure pee-holding is the big job it’s famous for.) Pretty much the second I take a few sips of water, I have to pee. Mix in coffee and/or alcohol– forget it. I’m running to the bathroom pretty much every 10 minutes. I’ve had this abnormally small bladder problem my whole life, but it is definitely getting worse with age, to the point where it’s pretty much the first thing people learn about me because I have no choice but to explain my constant excusals to the restroom.

When I was dating, my small bladder became a topic of conversation about 20 minutes into the first date (in hindsight, this explains years of being single). It’s not like I’m particularly comfortable sharing this information with new people, but they are bound to be suspicious when I excuse myself at least 3 times an hour, and I would rather they know I have bladder issues than suspect I have a coke problem– or, even worse, explosive diarrhea. (Yes. That’s worse than a coke problem).

It’s never gotten to the point where I’ve actually had an accident, but I’ve had some close calls. Pretty much any activity I participate in, I immediately locate the nearest bathroom. I always choose aisle seats on airplanes and, if possible, at concerts, sporting events, and movies. If I didn’t have a co-teacher, and therefore the ability to bolt out of the classroom at a moment’s notice, I would probably have to choose a new profession.

It’s not good.

So as you can imagine, long car rides can be a challenge for me. And this past weekend, Eric and I rented a car and drove out to Southampton for a wedding (same wedding as mentioned in Lubegate. I am certain the bride and groom are thrilled with the various tales associated with the most romantic and meaningful weekend of their lives).

For the record, I did pee before we got in the car. But then I also proceeded to drink a Venti Starbucks iced coffee once we got on the road. Normally, knowing my issues, I would never do this…but I had woken up early that morning, gone for a long run, gone to work, and was attending a rehearsal dinner at 7:00. I was exhausted, but determined not to be, because nobody likes the tired girl (as I would soon find out, however, the tired girl is actually preferable to the girl who’s thisclose to pissing herself).

I felt the inkling to go as soon as we hit the Bronx. I mentioned to Eric that I was “starting to feel the need to pee” and, god bless his wise and patient soul, he suggested we stop before we got on the highway. “No, no,” I insisted, “I think it’s better if we just get out of the city. Once we’re on the highway there will be options.” Eric begged to differ, pointing out the obvious fact that we were in a ton of traffic, and that traffic would likely continue on the highway.

“Shhhh, no. Traffic will clear. It’s just the city,” I insisted, because I am, as it turns out, a terrible knower of things.

The traffic did not clear on the highway. If anything, it got worse. As did the pain in my bladder.

I kept relatively quiet about it for a while, hoping that if I concentrated on breathing, it would go away. Eric tried to distract me with conversation, but pretty much every time he spoke I responded with curt, one-word answers, code for “SHUT YOUR DAMN FACE, CAN’T YOU SEE I’M DYING OVER HERE?!?!?”

He didn’t deserve my attitude, but I was starting to lose feeling in my feet and had officially entered panic mode.

“I need you to find me a bathroom,” I pleaded repeatedly, which was an absolutely absurd and unfair request given that we were in standstill traffic on a highway with no shoulder.

He told me to search on google maps for the closest gas station. Barely able to operate the phone and with my entire body shaking, I did so, only to discover it was 10 MILES AWAY.

Clearly this was all his fault.

“I’M GOING TO PASS OUT!!!!!” I screamed, accusingly.

“Ok, here are your choices,” he stated calmly, because he is a much nicer and more normal person than I deserve. “We can stay on the highway and try to make it to that gas station, or I can take a right up here at this light. But I have NO idea where we are or where that will lead us, so I can make NO promises about finding you a bathroom.”

“TAKE THE RIGHT!!! I’LL SQUAT, I DON’T CARE, JUST GET OFF THE HIGHWAY!!!!” I screamed, with venom, desperation, and, at that point, probably a little bit of pee spewing from my lips.

We took the right. And found ourselves in a residential neighborhood with absolutely no bathroom options.

“WHY DID YOU TAKE ME TO A NEIGHBORHOOD!?!” I screamed. Because again, this was clearly all his fault. “At the very least I need woods! These are all manicured lawns! I CAN’T PEE IN SOMEONE’S LAWN!!”

Eric took a deep breath, threw his hands up in the air, and finally lost it “I DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU WANT ME TO DO!!!!!!”


It was at that blessed moment that we spotted what appeared to be an abandoned church up ahead. Surrounded by woods.

We knew what we had to do.

Eric pulled into the driveway and I threw open the car door like a diaper-dependent bat out of hell, ducking into the dirt-path wooded area beside the church, which led to a perfect little protected spot for squatting. I truly feel that God wanted me to pee there. There was literally a circular clearing the size of a toilet bowl, with thick, leafy trees hovering around it on all sides, whispering, “You’re safe now, Em.”

I peed for about 17 minutes.

I then climbed back into the car, underwear in hand, breathing deep, relieved sighs. Eric, stone-faced, started the car and, in the most inexplicably calm of tones said, “You are making an appointment with a urologist.”

I promised I would immediately.

I haven’t.

We’re still together. I have no idea how.


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