If my column had a jingle it would go a little something like this: shaming myself publicly so that you don’t have to. And because I was an English major, I like that my jingle is a double entendre: I shame myself publicly before anyone else has a chance to do it for me AND I shame myself publicly so that you can avoid my shameful behavior.
Either way, my joy comes in knowing that, if all else fails, I generally make readers feel just a little bit better about themselves.
You’re welcome. (Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.)
Over spring break I drove 10 hours to take the kids to see their dad in Utah. Then I continued to drive 10 more hours to visit my own biological father in Taos, New Mexico.
I’m guessing there are three common difficulties in traveling long distances via automobile with children: 1. bathroom emergencies, 2. sibling rivalry and 3. the spilling of fry sauce in the backseat. Check, check and check!
As for number one, my daughter has a bladder of steel. It’s creepy, really, how long the girl can go without going. That is, until we get on the road. Kryptonite is to Superman as road travel is to her continence. And as soon as she mentions the need, her brothers chime in: “You probably shouldn’t think about Niagra Falls” or “Is that water running or is it just Leah running to the bathroom?” And my personal favorite, “Superheroes never have to go to the bathroom.” (I don’t think Spunk understood the purpose of this exercise.)
Once I quieted the boys, I gave her my best hold-it lecture, because these emergencies never happen within 10 miles of a gas station or a rest area. Think about something else, and put the water bottle down. That’s it—that’s my lecture.
Luckily, there were no accidents (aside from the fry sauce debacle) and no close calls.
Unless, of course, you count my drive sans children.
In my defense, there’s a long stretch of mountainous terrain for which New Mexico has not yet received adequate funding for rest stops. Also in my defense, I have birthed three children and do not have a bladder of steel, on or off-road.
About two hours into my drive home, I texted my BFF: ‘Totally peed on the side of the road. Classy.’ Apparently, she’s privy to the jingle because she forwarded my text to a common friend, who was, at the time, driving back to Idaho Falls from Las Vegas—with her husband.
“You forwarded my text about peeing on the side of the road?” I asked.
“Oh, she totally appreciated it.”
So once again, my column is a cautionary tale. This time it’s intended for those of you who may be considering the occupation of public shaming, because like superhero work, once you assume the charge, your life is no longer your own. Unless, of course, you have an alter ego, a bladder of steel or a cell phone plan without unlimited texting.
Then you might be okay.