I have to go Pee
“The plumber is turning off the water, Natalie. If you have to go to the bathroom, go now.” Said Le Bruce two weeks into the renovation.
“No problem. Thanks for letting me know.” I am trying to be more civil toward Le Bruce.
I go back to reading about the history of technology. A minute passes. Another minute passes.
I have to go Pee.
Women who have never gone through the human rights violation known as childbirth cannot relate to the following but those who have will completely understand. It’s called incontinence and it is gross and vile and unbecoming of hip 40-somethings who can still wear low-rise jeans.
I go downstairs. Le Bruce is talking to the plumber about moving the drain pipe.
“The copper pipe is the pipe that brings you water; the black pipe is the pipe that drains the water.” Bruce explained to me.
“That is really interesting.” I said meaning it. “Where does the water come from?”
“What do you mean where does it come from?”
“Where do we get the water from?”
“The ground.” How can she know where Pyongyang is but not know where she gets her water from?
“Yah, I know it comes from the ground, but where does the ground get it from?”
“There is a lake due south of here called Lake Ontario. Perhaps you have heard of it.”
“Right, of course, Lake Ontario. Interesting. See, I’m learning something here.”
“Glad I could be of help.” Said Le Bruce.
“Actually, Bruce, I have a real problem. I need to go to the bathroom.”
“Well, now is not a good time. We are moving a pipe and turned off the water. Didn’t I mention that about 5 minutes ago?
“Yeah, I know. I’m really sorry. But I have to go the can.”
Le Bruce thought for a moment. He does this by putting his arms over his washboard stomach.
“I have a solution.” He said. “There is a Port O Potty outside. You can use that.” Take that Princess. He looked deep into my eyes.
I am not a princess. I looked back into his eyes.
Then use the outhouse. C’mon. You can do it. Think of all those workers’ hairy asses that have been squatting on it for the last week.
Trying to keep a straight face while not retching is harder than you think.
The electrician is cute and looks like he practices basic hygiene...the carpenter washes once a week...
The Demo crew, Natalie. Think Demo crew. I can tell you that at least one of them recently got out of jail and the other lives in a halfway house. Bruce returns my stare.
“To the outhouse.” I sang. “Thanks for the suggestion.” I walk out my front door and gingerly open the turquoise door of the Port o Potty.
The smell knocks me out and it is only by the hand of God that I am prevented from falling into the hole to certain death or at the very least, succumbing to a sonic shower at the nearby hospital. I tumble out of the outhouse. Le Bruce is watching me and giggling. I give him the thumbs up and go in again, but again I am rendered unconscious and fall back against the door and out into the fresh air.
Le Bruce holds his nose and points back to the Port O Potty. Clearly, he is enjoying himself. I go back in and hold my nose. But I don’t sit down. Instead, I stand there with my nose plugged for 2 minutes hoping that this a male’s perception of how long it takes a woman to urinate.
When I come out, and take a deep breath, the parting scent of the outhouse drifts out of my olfactory nerve. I have not vomited and for this I am grateful.
Le Bruce opens my front door and claps. “See, not so bad. Princess.”
“Yup. No biggie. Just had to get used to it.” I go back up to my office. I am in pain. For the umpteenth time, I wish I was a male. A male who had no compunction about pissing into a bottle. My roommate Greg Hite did this when we lived together at Oxford. He would pee in Coke bottles and line them up under his bed. Once a week, he would empty them and start over. My mother turned visibly green when she visited me and saw the bottles under the bed. Today, I yearned for such bottles and for the physical component that would allow me to fill them.
“Oh well,” I thought to myself knowing that Le Bruce was too far away to hear my thoughts.” I guess I’ll have to go up to the Korean Pork Bone soup joint and use their can.
I went back downstairs. “See ya Bruce.” I called. “Want me to get you some pork bone soup?”
“Nope. Kosher. My mother would roll over in her grave if I ate pork soup.”
"Pork BONE soup." I corrected him.
Whatever. Its not good for you. It will give you the shits and then you will have to use the Port o Potty again....” Le Bruce crossed his arms over his washboard stomach.
Are you patronizing me? I inquired politely.
Well, someone needs to look after you. Clearly, you are not very good at it. Le Bruce thought smugly.
“OK. Just thought I’d ask. Trying to be polite and all.”
“Enjoy, Enjoy.” Le Bruce turned to walk back into Scarajevo.
I grabbed my keys and then I had a Eureka moment. The same kind that Hugh Laurie has on every single episode of House and yet after 5 years, it still does not bore me.
I ran down Bloor Street clutching my mom’s housekeys. Dufferin, Gladstone, Havelock, that street after Havelock that I never remember...Ossington. Thank God you are only 5 streets away!!
I ran down Ossington to number 119 ½ (I’m not kidding...it really is 119 ½), opened the door, felt the first sad little tinkle down my leg, ripped the zipper on my only pair of jeans, and relieved myself. I sat there for a minute letting the pain of the experience slowly ebb. Then I stood up, flushed, washed my hands, and came outside.
“Hello, Hello, whose there. Is there a burgler there. Who is in the house. I have a baseball bat you know.” My mother, who is known to all simply as Bev, flew down the stairs in her mauve bathrobe carrying a child’s baseball bat.
“Oh its you, Natalie. Come in, come in. Would you like some tea, I have some organic toast and soy milk.”
“Thanks Mom. Thank you so much. But I am actually en route to get some Pork Bone soup. I just needed to use your can.”
“Why can’t you use your bathroom? Oy, its that renovation again. So hard on you, sweetie.” She pats my hair. I’m 40 years old and yet I appreciate the gesture.
“It is really hard on me, Bev. I have to tell you. I thought I could handle it being a former camper and all, but I’m too old for this.”
“I know I know. Can I tell you something, I am 67 and I still can’t shit in other people’s toilets.”
“So what do you do...you can’t hold it in forever.”
“I take Imodium.”
“Seriously. Imodium? Wow. I never thought of that.”
“It’s great. If you take one, you won’t shit for a week.”
“Oh my God. What a relief. Do you have some kicking around.”
“Of course. I have a closet full.” And she did. Literally. One one side was her Imodium. On the other, ExLax. I helped myself to a few packets.
“So now, what you do is, take an Imodium, then get the Pork Bone Soup and you won’t shit it out until this time next week. You can then plan to come here and use the bathroom. It’s terrific for organizing your time.”
“Oh Bev. You are a saint among women. Now answer me this: what about when you need to make a Number One.”
“Oh that’s easy. She showed me under her burgundy bed skirt. There, lined up were several Coke bottles. “Your roommate from Oxford taught me this trick.” If I am going somewhere, I just slip one of these into my handbag. I often take the Prada in such a circumstance so as not to arouse suspicions."
“But how do you do it? How do you pee though the small opening?”
She produced an adorable pink funnel. "Its called a Urinelle. I picked one up in Paris. The French are so functional, n’est-ce pas? Here. Take it. You can use it for the renovation.”
“Thanks Bev. You are the best!” I gave her a big hug and went back home. So excited was I to try my Urinelle that I forgot about the Pork Bone Soup.
“Where’s the Pork Soup?” Asked Le Bruce as he peered at me through Scarajevo.
“Uhhhh...I forgot it.” I said skipping up the stairs to the third floor bathroom where I would be far away to think and pee in private.
Ah Hah....Princess Pee Pee...I saw your Urinelle!!
Whathefuck...how do you know about Urinelles?
I make it my personal business to know how the female body works...in all its miraculous ways....
But I was out of range and his thinking never reached me. I went into the bathroom on the third floor and put the Urinelle in a safe place between two packages of Stayfree Maxi Pads. I went back downstairs, popped an Imodium, and set back out to get my Pork Bone soup.
Princess Pee Pee. I looked at him. Really, can’t you do better than that. My 6 year old is more creative.I slammed the door before he could think of a response.