When You Gotta Go, You Gotta Go
I am in Texas, just about. And I am crouching in a bush, trying to do a wee.
I am listening to the near-deafening sound of thousands of unseen locusts. It is a million degrees out here and so humid that I feel as if I am soaking in a hot bath.
Trying to ignore the fact that my 3 road trip companions are somewhere behind me, possibly squatting behind trees of their own, I find myself staring at a metal signpost poking out of the undergrowth, warning trespassers that they will be prosecuted. The sign is full of suspicious looking holes.
Oh God, I’m going to get shot out here. With my pants down. Literally.
Twenty minutes earlier, my car mates and I were still in Oklahoma, approaching the Texas state line. The last time we saw a restroom was hours ago. I had drunk two thirds of a Big Gulp (Mountain Dew, since you asked) and my bladder wasn’t happy with me.
It was generally agreed that we would stop at the state line to take photos of the ‘Welcome to Texas’ sign, so that we could post them on Facebook and be really annoying about our holiday. I realised with shocking clarity that I would have to take the opportunity to ‘get back to nature,’ alarming because, in the past, this pursuit had always ended with a change of clothes. Still, these were desperate times and I was going to have to learn.
My friend Erica taught me to crouch whilst pulling my underwear forward so that it does not wind up in the firing line. I have a tissue ready in my hand and the time is Now.
After a few moments of stage fright, I relax enough and let go. I am pretty proud of myself until I look down and see a giant, brown locust floating sideways in the yellow pond I have created among the weeds. It is unquestionably dead, having just been urinated on.
I make use of my tissue and realize too late that there are no bins. Countryside rules dictate that you should take your litter with you, but I am convinced my car mates will object to a wee stained Kleenex. I decide that it will decompose, and I leave it at the head of the locust, to mark his final resting place.
On the way back to the car the others call me over. ‘Look, look, these locusts are mating!’
I arrive in the middle of the deserted old highway to find them crowded around a giant locust on top of another giant locust, vibrating slightly. ‘Where there is death, there is new life,’ I think profoundly, and get back in the car to finish the rest of my Big Gulp, and begin the process all over again.