Around the World With a Vagabond

Another Bathroom Blog December 21, 2009

Filed under: Another Bathroom Blog — christynichols @ 5:13 am
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Using the bathroom on a moving bus is always a challenge – hygienically, and sometimes acrobatically.  The unsuspected swerve, the unidentifiable puddles, the small, cramped space.  This Colombian bus was no different.  Actually, it was different. It was the most difficult time I’ve ever had trying to pee while moving.

It started off decent enough, I guess.  The bus rocked me off my feet a few times while I headed towards the toilet at the rear of the bus. There was a couple making out in the back row seats that I tried not to observe too closely. I yanked on the toilet door to open it, and closeted myself inside.

Suddenly I was slammed into the opposite side of the toilet as the bus took an unanticipated high speed turn. Inside the toilet, there was the sensation of being in a wind tunnel.  The bus was flying . . high speed ahead, rolling, tumbling, vrooming right and left around hairpin turns the bus was too big to really be able to handle. A small window high in the cubicle had been kept open and the sound the air made as it was sucked out of the bathroom was so noisy! Like hanging your head out of the window of a fast-moving train, or shouting goodbyes under the whirly-blades of a helicopter, or perhaps standing under the engine of a plane about to depart. It was loud. The engine, the whipping wind, all was roaring loud, and between the constant motion of the bus and the white noise of the window wine, I couldn’t deal.

I tried to reach up and shut the noise out.  I don’t know why this was a necessary step, but I did it, lurching forward against the back of the toilet as another rapid swerve knocked me off balance. Then stepping back, falling back, trying not to actually fall down.  It was like gravity or any sense of balance failed to exist.  I could not stand up straight, and I kept lurching for support from walls and handles I was, at the same time, trying not to touch.

And the trapdoor bathroom had that smell. Sour. Rank. Closed in. And the fact that the one light was dull and dim was somewhat of a comfort, as it failed to illuminate the filth that was undoubtedly lingering on everything I was falling into.

Anyway, I’d managed to close out the roaring wind from the window, so tried to get on with business.  I swung to the left, swung to the right, the noise at the window was still loud, and I just couldn’t keep my balance. The bus must have then started to take a very large curve, as, pants around my ankles, the bus lurched towards the right.  I tried to shift my weight left to counter balance, and braced my feet on the floor.  My right hand grabbed at the railing on my right, my left hand clutched the door handle  -trying to both push against it so I wouldn’t fall, and pull the handle forward to keep it from opening and flinging me into the couple making out in the back row seats. I remained in this lurching, bare-assed position for what seemed like 20 minutes, the crazed skills of the driver forcing everything to swing unbalanced to the right. Then the left. Then back-then-suddenly-forward-and-then-right as the bus continued to hurtle us all down the mountain through the dark night – completely unsympathetic to my situation.

I’ve forgotten to mention we had snuck a bottle of red wine on the bus as we were leaving, and I had finished a few sneaky paper cups full. So, during this entire toilet challenge, I couldn’t stop laughing.  I think I was writing this story in my head as it was happening.  There I was, drunk, fighting a losing battle against the velocity of the bus, and trying not to pee on my shoes.  Or step in other people’s puddles of pee.

It was really funny, and pretty gross, and I was my only audience.