One of my nieces was there while I wrote this. She’s 12 years old and we were talking as I typed away. At first she thought this was for school so when I told her what it would be about she was so disturbed. So disturbed she convinced me that this particular post needed a disclaimer. One of those SNLV things. So consider this my disclaimer. This is not for the weak at heart or for those who are easily affected by things of a graphic nature. It is intensely human and full of folly, it is about one of those things that dog us all through our lives, so read on, or not
This may be the most personal, revealing piece of writing I have ever done, what I’m going to write about is not a secret it’s known among my friends and anyone who has observed me casually. It’s about a demon I have struggled with for years from my high school days through university and all the time in between.
This is in a word or two is my bladder battles.
For the longest time I have had to pee more than the average. This is one of the reasons I have always been able to identify with pregnant women(piss poor attempt at a joke). In high school it was after every lesson. The bell rang and I was outside at the watering hole letting go. It got to a point I was trained, the bell would ring and I would need to tinkle. I was not however the only aflictee. There was this other frequent flyer or frequent unzipper of his fly there. We used to meet and talk about all the things high school boys were interested in, current affairs, geopolitics and economy but we were so smart we did all that metaphorically by couching it in terms of girls and their various body parts.
Then I finished high school and I could go whenever I wanted. This is because like out of prison I didn’t have to ask permission to go. This reminds me of that scene from Shaw shank redemption when Morgan freeman gets out of jail and he can’t readjust to normal life. He asks his boss for permission to go to the toilet until his boss gets mad at him. Well it wasn’t that dramatic. But now that I could go whenever there were so many social constraints to going to the toilet. I would be watching a series and every episode I’d have to take a piss break. Needless to say my fellow watchers were not frequently amused.
Then there were all the times I would be in the middle of town and feel the urge come over me. There were two choices open to me at that time, hold it or sneak into a restaurant with a phone to my ear and look agitated as I walked around. Then head to the toilet and avail myself. This kind of thing needs one to develop certain talents, not giving a fuck being the prime among them. I would walk in there like I owned the place. Put my phone determinedly in my ear and go straight to the bathrooms. I did this at the Stanley once then twice. Swanky bathrooms there. They had these toilet seat covers, paper things that went over the toilet so that you never had to share the toilet with anyone. It was so hygienic and the taps had both hot and cold water, better than home.
However as time went by I got more scared. I went there less and less till I went once and had no idea where the toilets were. The fact had just slipped my mind and flushed away(pun intended, as bad and looked for as it is.) then the last time I went there was this notice that there was a 500 shilling fine for using the toilet if you were not a customer. I haven’t been back.
Another thing I have learnt is basic architecture. With enough practice it is possible to know exactly where the toilets are in any building or facility. At a point I had an almost innate ability to find a toilet. I would walk in and walk left, feint right and before knew it there I was in a toilet. I never had to ask for directions. Let’s face it there is only one manly reason for asking directions and that’s the girl you’re asking is pretty and for some reason you don’t want pretty girls to know that you use the toilets or washrooms as they would call them.
But the worst the absolute worst is traveling by bus. When going to my grandparent’s home I have a 6-9 hour journey ahead of me. This depends on such diverse factors as the state of the roads, the temperament of the driver and most importantly my level of intoxication. In 30 minutes I need to go. I really do. But I can’t. I can’t ask the bus driver to stop all the time so that I can go outside so I soldier on and that’s when it becomes a war.
An intense struggle, mind over matter, pot under piss. The worst thing about it is if I feel like peeing there is no way in the world I can fall asleep. In bed I wake up 3 times on an average night. So while traveling not only am I uncomfortable and pressed I can’t go to sleep, so I toss and turn and turn and toss. In the midst of a never ending torture. Its worse when it rains, its worse when it doesn’t and the reason I committed grammatical murder on that sentence is because I needed to show just how bad it gets or how worse.
Now my cousin is here too(mother to the disclaimer loving niece of before) is here too I told her about this post and my issues and her first comment was that there are people with kidney issues and I should thank god for how lucky I am. Followed with the somewhat nonsensical suggestion that I should travel around with a bottle. The sheer logistics of being in a bus, with all the potholes that Kenyan roads have, then taking out my instrument (fondly christened the truth.) and funnel it into a bottle. Turbulence has never been a bigger issue the biggest issue at that point though would have to be the one at hand, and on that note…