My family decided, when I was about thirteen, to start taking family trips over Christmas. For some reason it was easier for my Dad to get off during this time of the year as opposed to the summers. Plus, the summers had always been filled with Nonnie and Pop beach times and the spring was when my parents went to really cool places like France, Japan, Italy – and always left my brother and I here. Side note: they still suck for that.
This particular family vacation happened to take place over my Sophomore year of high school. My parents decided on a family get away to good ol’ Gatlinburg Tennessee. We weren’t strangers to the Smokey Mountains, in fact my parents honeymoon was there, and I remember being there when I was quite little. Similarly, my Mom still has the very first pair of moccasin shoes that she bought for me – cute little infant shoes. There is also an exceptionally hilarious photo with me and an Indian Chief that (and this is evident by the picture) I was terrified of. What did my mom expect, after all? She gave a two year old to a guy with a huge headdress for a picture. Anyway, it was a great place for our family because it wasn’t too terribly far away. Far enough to be a vacation, and more importantly, short enough to prevent my parents from wanting to strangle my brother and I for arguing in the backseat on the way there.
We had spent the weekend wandering around the shops, looking at candles and fun little knick-knacks. We walked around, as a family, and actually had a really good time. We went into the Ripleys Believe it or not! and spent hours in there. If you’ve never been, it’s definitely interesting and thought provoking, and on occasion, somewhat disturbing. There is also a restaruant that my family always eats at called The Greenbrier Inn. It’s apparently haunted, and I’m a chicken, so I never liked to go pee by myself there. The Legend (though poorly written) can be found here: Legend Me, Brah!
After the long weekend, we woke up on Sunday morning and packed our bags, loaded up the car and headed home. We stopped to eat at a local breakfast place that puts Waffle House and IHOP to shame when we noticed that the weather appeared to be getting pretty bad. My Dad decided, since were in my Mom’s new Toyota Camry, that the mountain pass wouldn’t be a good thing to attempt if we waited much longer. And we overheard some locals talking about some snow coming through later in the afternoon. Normally, this wouldn’t have been too terrible, because our family car had always been a Toyota 4Runner, but that 4Runner had became mine and we were in the Camry.
Dad rounded us up, we all sucked down some more of our beverages to wash down the food we had thrown down our throats, and raced to the car. It was really cold outside, and it had already started to flurry a bit.
We got about half way up the mountain before we came to an immediate stop. All traffic heading up the mountain was at a complete standstill. My brother and I, sitting in the back seat, were actually getting along and chatting about the new Pixar Movie, Finding Nemo. It was then that we realized it had been thirty minutes and we still hadn’t moved. The mountain round was too narrow for any car to turn around, and apparently someone had tried a few hundred feet up, and almost ran themselves off the mountain. Dad put the car in park, Mom had started reading her book, and my brother and I were engaging in civil conversation.
Then it sat in – I had drank about five glasses of something – likely Coke because that’s all I ever drank, and I had to pee. I crossed my legs, and started chatting to anyone in the car who would listen, which was really just myself. I tend to do that when I’m nervous, or if I need to distract myself. My overzealous conversation with anyone around me is a huge flag that says “Samantha is nervous.”
It was about ten minutes later and we still hadn’t moved.
My leg started bouncing, my mouth started chattering even faster, and I started looking around like a crazy parrot. I looked out the window, rolled it down to have my mom harp at me for letting the cold air in, and started twiddling my thumbs.
Oh. My. God.
I had to pee, so bad, and I had the sudden realization – even if we started driving, right this very second, it would still be another forty-five minutes, at best, before we got over the mountain.
A few boys from a few cars behind us had gotten stir crazy and had walked up to the top of the mountain a little earlier and were headed back down. My Dad rolled down his window to ask for a status report.
I was doomed.
The boys said that the entire mountain was closed because someone had slid off the mountain and that the other side was being pelted with snowfall. The mountain ranger told them that it would be at least an hour before the mountain would reopen.
I panicked. My bladder was pushing against every single part of my abdomen and my jeans were becoming uncomfortably tight. I felt like I was being packaged by a meat factory.
To my right, I could see the tops of trees at eye level, which of course indicate one helluva drop, and to my left, a mountainside with leave-less trees and snow, everywhere.
There wasn’t anywhere feasible to pee and if I didn’t find something, I was surely going to pee all over myself.
I was sixteen, I hated everyone. Everything came as an embarrassment.
My Dad rolled down the window, poured out the Diet Coke that my Mom dad been sipping on (Good God, how did she not have to pee?!) when he cut the top of the plastic bottle off with his knife and handed it to me.
I remember looking at him with the crazy eyes and my legs crossed impossibly tight while I pushed down on my knees and hunched myself over…
“ARE YOU SERIOUS?”
“It’s either this, the woods where everyone can see you, or you piss yourself.” I’m fairly certain that this is exactly how dry he was about the entire situation.
My Mom, seeing as this was a bran new car, of course contributed with “You better not pee all over my bran new car!”
Gee, thanks Mom.
I was stuck. I was mortified. I had to pee so bad. In the time span of about thirty seconds I had exhausted all probable ways of alleviating myself.
I grabbed the blanket from behind my head and pulled it over my lap and debated for about twenty more seconds before I realized I couldn’t hold it any longer.
“If you tell ANYONE about this I WILL KILL YOU ALL!”
Honestly, I’ve only told this story to very few, mainly because I was so mortified that I pissed in a bottle on top of a frozen, snow-closed mountain, but it came down to the fact that I could either potentially poison my body with my own urine or I could get it over, piss in a bottle, dump it out and call it a day.
Of course my ass-hat brother sitting next to me used this as a viable threat against me for months after.
My parents still laugh about this.
I’m still ridiculously embarrassed that I had to do that.
Moral of the story – always pee when before you get in the car to go anywhere.