Previous Installment: Moving to Vegas: Waiting for Lunch
Well as nice as Texas had been, it was nice to see another state. Hello New Mexico! I felt like we had now made real progress. So far the journey was going extremely well, especially since we had two alpha-males in the truck. Not only were Dad and I still speaking, but we were still having meaningful conversations. This is a good sign.
A few miles over the New Mexico border was the welcome station. We had made it a habit to stop in all the welcome stations along the way for a variety of reasons. The primary one, usually, was a rest room break. The secondary was the free maps. Maps have always fascinated me beyond their utility. I think part of it is dreaming of being in all those exotic and obscure places, wondering what they are like, noting the differences and similarities to the places I already know. At least that’s the romantic version of it.
The Welcome Center did have something even better than maps, and much, much better place to pee for free: they had Internet access!
I admit that I’m an Internet junkie. I make my living doing Internet things and I also have a lot of fun hanging around on the Internet. For nearly four days, I was completely and totally without Internet access, so being able to get online for free, in the middle of nowhere, was too much to resist. Peeing can wait (it had to anyway, but I’ll get to that). I got online, signed into a couple of web sites I frequent, and let the online world know all was good.
Now you might be wondering why someone who makes his living on the Internet and enjoys surfing around so much would be offline for four days. Didn’t I realize that there are hotels that allow Internet access now? Of course I did. I even stayed at one. I even kept my laptop bag in the car being towed so I had easy access to it. But silly me, I had left my network cables out of my laptop bag. Sure, they were in the moving truck, but so was everything else I owned in the world, and about eighteen feet of that was blocking the boxes where my equipment and stuff were packed.
And no, the hotel didn’t have a spare that I could beg, borrow, or steal. They were fresh out.
At a certain point in the day, usually after thirteen hours of driving and a huge belly full of Mexican food, not having the required cable, and not knowing where to get one, getting on the Internet is something you simply know will not be happening. Not trying to change the things you cannot is the sign of a rational mind, and I had decided to be rational for once.
And all that worry and effort was for naught anyway since the very next morning, the wonderful state of New Mexico was providing me with free access to the Internet. Thanks, New Mexico!
As I mentioned, this was also a restroom break. When we showed up, the restrooms were currently being cleaned, so they were locked and inaccessible. My Internet usage only lasted a few minutes. I figured by the time I got offline, the restrooms would be open, and all will be good with the world.
No such luck.
Dad was waiting patiently by the restroom door. Well not in front of it so much as near it. In the meantime, two other scruffy-looking guys had come in and were waiting as well. It was obvious who was there first, and while no formal line had formed, all the guys waiting for the restroom knew the hierarchy. Dad, me, and then the two scruffy guys.
When a restroom is available, I can go for hours and hours and hours without the slightest need to go. Even if I’m drinking large quantities of liquid. But take away access and suddenly my kidneys go into overtime to evacuate any liquid that might be present in my entire body. It’s a weird thing, and it was happening at this moment. Holy cow I had to pee badly.
The cleaning person surely would be done soon and being the second person in the non-existent line, relief would surely be mine soon. About a minute later, the happy unlocking clicks of the men’s room door signaled that it was time to go.
And that’s when all hell broke loose. Dad made it in, but the two scruffy guys beat me to it. This usually wouldn’t have been a big deal, but the bathroom had one stall and two urinals. Three places to go. I was number four and really had to go. And what’s worse than having no access to a restroom? Having access to a restroom, but being in a restroom that’s full. My bladder was protesting at the unfairness of this by letting me know that it was perfectly willing to go right here, right now, the presence of pants be damned.
I’m lucky in that Sheri taught me yoga breathing for relaxation. I tried that and my bladder calmed down long enough for me to be able to wait until one of the toilets was free. Ahhhhhh… sweet relief!
And now that I have drawn out a visit to a rest room into a story longer than the visit itself, I have a few remaining questions: Who designed these new stainless steel institutional urinals?
As I was going, I had the thought, “it’s a bit splashy in here”.
Apparently I was in the sweet zone for splashing. I got on my tippy toes to change the angle. No help. Still splashy.
Perhaps diverting the stream side to side will reduce the splashing.
Nope. Still getting unpleasant liquid feedback.
The urinals were almost perfectly designed to splatter what hits them, no matter the angle or intensity. Granted, I had some intensity going, who thought it a was good idea for the pee to hit the toilet, vaporize into millions of pee projectiles, and hit everything in front of it including my pants, my shirt in front of my belly and the hairs on my arms.
Afterward, Dad reported the same basic experience.
I’m pretty sure whoever engineered these urinals had to consult NASA to get that perfect angle of deflection. It was a truly amazing thing despite how nasty the results are. It is also one of the reasons I hope I never go to prison since these urinals were the design that I imagine the would use in a prison.
Despite the relief of having an empty bladder, New Mexican micturition was not the best part of the trip. At least the paper towels were plentiful. Thoroughly washed, dried, and emptied, it was time to get back on the road.
Next Installment: Moving to Vegas: Vistas