Bodily Functions

Guy has asked me to please clarify a comment from the last blog post. He did NOT pee on his truck’s tire in the Walmart parking lot. He peed next to it. 

He would have peed on the charger, he said, if he weren’t worried about getting electrocuted. Because he wasn’t upset with his truck; he was mad at the useless charger. 

Please do not pee here

Our dog Pepper pees on Electrify America chargers whether they work or not. Tesla ones, too. He is a generous and impartial urinator. I’ve even seen him pee on Guy’s truck’s tires. When we go on walks, Pepper pees until he’s got no more liquid left in his little body to come out when he lifts his leg. I suspect that the only reason Pepper drinks is so he can pee it out again. This is not why I drink.

When Guy and Pepper sleep in tents on road trips, they don’t worry about how and when and where they will pee, because all they need is 30 seconds and a patch of ground. The closest I can come to understanding this mindset is the time in my 30’s when my friend showed me how to pee while wearing a wet swimsuit.

Now, as a 53-year-old woman, my bathroom preferences are honed. I appreciate an indoor toilet with a seat, abundant toilet paper (at least two-ply)  and a door that closes and locks. The toilet should flush reliably and repeatedly.  I enjoy the privacy of a bathroom with a loud fan and thick walls that reach from the ceiling down to the floor but I’m not a total snob. I don’t mind graffiti if it’s clever and grammatically correct. 

You said you wanted toilets?

When I told my friends I had agreed to camp in Guy’s truck, they asked in hushed voices, “But how are you going to peeeee?” Because obviously, a campground bathroom is not going to offer all the amenities I crave.

One night we pulled into a campground well after dark. The slightly stoned man at the front gate explained that while unfortunately the Rivian wouldn’t fit into the $35 tent sites, he could rent us an RV site with electricity and sewer for $65.

“Or,” he said, lowering his voice and looking side to side, “I know a place down the road,” he gestured out into the darkness, “where you can just pull up and camp wherever. For free. I’m staying there myself.” 

Guy looked at me to see if I was game for an adventure.

“Bathroom?” I hissed because even if he straight up gave me the $65 we’d save, it wouldn’t be worth peeing on a rattlesnake.

“Ah, does that campsite have restroom facilities?” Guy asked the man.

The man shook his head slowly, disappointed. This was not a deal he offered to just anyone.  

 “No,” he said. “Because it’s free. But families stay there. They like it.”  He giggled a little stoner’s giggle.  “It’s not like that place down near Blythe where the crazies’ll steal all your stuff the minute you close your eyes.”

Guy looked at me.

“Nope,” I said.

“That’ll be $65, please,” said the man with a sorrowful sigh. He’d tried.

“We’re just not equipped to go without a bathroom,” Guy explained, by which he meant that one of the three of us does not have a penis to whip out at a moment’s notice.

The tent on the back of Guy’s truck is roomy enough for all of us to sleep without too much overlap of legs or morning breath. Guy even equipped it with a cozy mattress that feels just right. I like our tent, although I wish it had a shelf.

OK. Now grab the dog and hop on down.

Said cozy tent is osprey-nested above the truck bed and the only way in or out is by ladder.  The ladder is only 4 rungs high, but the rungs are metal and thin enough to hurt bare feet, and steep enough that we have to twist around and climb down backwards. I can do this with only slightly more grace than Trump walking down a ramp. A horse fell on me this summer and my ribs are still sore, so I’m not very flexible.

I don’t know about you, but I often get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. Even on nights when I don’t have to, Pepper does, so I end up on the toilet while he goes outside. Climbing down a ladder in the dark with a full bladder, holding a dog that also has a full bladder was definitely going to be a camping challenge for the ages.

Obviously, he peed right before I took this photo

My friends are, as a whole, helpful and sympathetic.  Like all true friends, they also enjoy a laugh at my expense.  They tried to help prepare me for late-night camping bathroom excursions.

“Don’t drink anything after 3:00,” one friend counseled. “And skip dinner.”

“Maybe you should just sleep in the front seat of the truck so you don’t have to use the ladder?” another suggested. 

“I don’t see why you can’t just stay in a hotel,” another advised. “You’re already married. You’re not going to impress him now.”

One practical friend sent me a link to the “Awoken Unisex portable pee bottle with a lid and a funnel”. (Amazon $12.99).

I appreciated the gesture and obviously, you can’t beat the price. But then I thought about what it would be like to silently worm around on my back in the tent in the dark, trying not to wake Guy or Pepper, stealthily pulling down my pants and positioning the funnel just so. I pictured myself trying to pee into the funnel without splashing onto the bedding, then securing the lid, pulling my pants back up and falling back to sleep next a full bottle of pee. I would rather ask Guy to help me insert a catheter every night, than attempt the funnel.

Truth be told: We DID end up with a liquidy mess inside the tent one night, but it wasn’t pee. It was a glass of red wine–in a cup with a lid. I still don’t understand how it happened, but I can tell you this: if the tent had a shelf, that cup would not have spilled.

Anyway, I thought that I’d successfully used my coat to blot up the mess, but morning light revealed long streaks of wine running out the bottom of the tent and down the back window of Guy’s truck.

Now that I think about it, a pee mess wouldn’t have been so obvious.  It might have looked like rain, or even dew. I might have gotten away with it. Sometimes the biggest problems are not the ones we worry about the most. 

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