That last hour of a long drive can be the greatest test of one's stamina. Take today, for example.
Two-hundred-eighty miles from Pinehurst to DC -- roughly six hours total if you allow for a little traffic. Stop in Roanoke Rapids for a quick chicken sandwich, waffle fries, and a Diet Coke. Upon realizing the Diet Coke was decaffienated, walk across the parking lot to Starbucks for a grande skinny iced vanilla latte.
Now I'm five hours into a six-hour trip, sipping at the watery remnants of vanilla-flavored coffee, and I'm starting to get that feeling. You know what I'm talking about. That feeling.
That feeling like my stomach is floating up into my lungs.
That feeling like one poorly timed pothole and my car will immediately smell like a reststop urinal.
That feeling like I really need a hollow leg, or a catheter, or an adult diaper.
Does it help that it's been raining the entire freakin' trip? No, it doesn't.
But I don't want to pull off for a pit stop, and not just because I'm now only 45 minutes from my destination and the prospect of a proper bathroom. Do you know how many cars and trucks I've passed? After all the work I've done to dodge and weave around the mixture of maniacs and fogies traveling Interstate 95, the thought of dropping back behind even one of them is profoundly depressing.
Only thirty minutes to go and the pressure is building. I'm reminded of a time when the boys were young, maybe three or four, and we were traveling home from a family vacation. We were halfway along one of those rural stretches of road devoid of any public facilities when the boys declared their need to pee.
In case you are unaware, the bladder of a young child is an undpredictable creature that is easily underestimated. It holds significantly more quantities of liquid than seems physically possible given the diminutive size of its owner, and when it reaches maximum capacity there is little-to-no warning before the emergency release valve opens.
Being the kind of parents who believe children urinating on the shoulder of a rural highway is neither cute nor appropriate, we employed the only decent option available to us -- Snapple bottles. Hey, Snapple always promotes all-natural ingredients, right? What could be more natural than toddler pee?
Only five minutes remaining on my trip to DC. I'm so close to the hotel, but the pressure is almost unbearable. You know, that empty Starbucks cup is looking mighty convenient...
© 2011 Mark Feggeler