July 2013
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The magnetic pull of stupid

Somewhere in Washington, about 50 miles north of my last sip of coffee . . . and I need to pee. I scan the roadside signage, trying to come up with a reason to stop that would just coincidentally involve access to a bathroom. There is nothing – it’s not time to eat and we stopped just over an hour ago for a drink (see the previous mention of coffee), and I can imagine no good reason to detour our journey into a strip club or an auto-body shop.

Sigh. Maybe I can hold it until lunch. I glance at the clock . . . 10:02 am.

Maybe we could eat a really early lunch.

Maybe I could surreptitiously pee into the glove compartment.

Maybe I could somehow travel back through time and adopt children and thereby preserve my pelvic architecture.

Maybe I need to start wearing some sort of sexy absorbent undergarment on road-trips that are going to involve liquids.

Mark shifts in his seat, “I hate to throw us off schedule, but I’m going to need to stop and use the bathroom pretty soon.”

Oh thank god.

I reach to pat his leg understandingly, “No big deal. Pull over at the next place you see.”

Kallan pipes up from the back of the car, “I have to go to the bathroom too.”

Kallan is my favorite.

It’s now safe for me to chime in, “Me too!”

Maj is annoyed with all of us, “What is wrong with this family? Someone always has to use the bathroom. We just stopped. We just stopped a little while ago and there was a bathroom. I know because I had to wait for you to use it. Why do we have to stop again? Why must I be inconvenienced?”

Kallan points to a sign that indicates gas stations and fast food in seven miles, “There, Daddy. There will be a bathroom somewhere in there.” She turns to her sister, “Maj, if you think you are being inconvenienced now, just think how inconvenient it would be to make the rest of the drive with the car all splashy and soaked in pee.”

Maj curls up into her seat, pulling her feet up off of the soon-to-flooded floor, “That’s disgusting.”

I turn in my seat to talk to Maj, “Maj, not everyone has your urine-storage capacity.” Seriously, the girl can drink huge glasses of water and then go hours and hours without needing to pee. I reach back to rub Maj’s shoulder, “Let me rub your hump, babe.  For luck.”

Maj’s voice goes tight with anger, “I am not a pee-camel, Mother. We have been through this before. It’s not funny.”

Kallan giggles, “Pee-camel is a little bit funny.”

I speak apologetically, “Sorry, Maj. I’m just jealous, that’s all. Ever since . . .”

Maj interrupts, “Mother, I do not want to hear about how pregnancy ruined you for jump-rope and trampolines and large-sized cups of coffee. You just hush.” She glares at me, “It’s called holding it . . . ever hear of it? HOLD . . . ING . . . IT.”

I smile, “I would be happy to hold my pee, Maj.” I cup my hands, “Although I do think that it will start to run through my fingers after a while . . . we have a long drive ahead of us.”

Kallan snorts with laughter and Maj shakes her head, “That is not what I meant and you know it, Mother.”

Mark speaks musingly, “If I was a long-distance trucker, I wouldn’t need to stop.”

Kallan is curious, “Truckers don’t pee?”

I explain, “Daddy means he would pee in a cup or something. Truckers don’t have time to stop and pee. They have to get where they are going on a schedule.”

Maj moans, “Unlike this family.”

I laugh, “Oh my god, Mark . . . I so want to live that moment in our lives — you driving down the freeway peeing in a cup, Maj in the back screaming her head off . . . yes, please.”

“Truckers don’t pee in cups,” Mark corrects me. “They pee in milk-jugs. I saw it on TV.”

“Wait, Daddy.” Kallan wants to understand, “You saw truckers pee in milk-jugs on television? What show is this?”

“No, no, no . . . I just heard about it on TV.”

Kallan is still uncertain, “Where do the truckers get the milk-jugs? Do truckers drink a lot of milk?”

Mark ignores these questions, “Yessiree, I would just pee right into a milk-jug. I would never stop. I would be King of the Road!”

“Yeah, Daddy,” Maj sneers, “because that’s what standing between you and royalty – a milk-jug of pee.”

Kallan is thoughtful, “Wait, Maj. Maybe Daddy’s onto something . . . there was that one princess.”

“Kallan what are you talking about?”

“The one with the pee . . . remember? It was the pee that revealed her true princess status.”

Maj is without words.

A few minutes later, we are standing outside of a gas-station bathroom.

Mark goes in first; Kallan and I toss the bathroom key (which is attached to a huge wooden paddle labeled RESTEROOM) back and forth.

Maj is aghast, both at the contamination issues involved in our game of key-catch and the misspelling of the word restroom. She rants loudly as we stand outside the bathroom about the stupidity of people who cannot spell simple words and who feel the need to attach their keys to wooden paddles and who apparently fear that the world is filled with travelers eager to steal the key to the bathroom and there is dirt everywhere and only stupid people would choose to live in a city whose main features appear to be concrete and the smell of spilled gasoline and blowing dirt although all that said . . . her family is also quite stupid and so possibly what her family members interpreted as a need to urinate was actually the magnetic pull of stupid to stupid and what is she doing in this family anyway because heaven knows she deserves better than this, and . . .

Kallan interrupts her sister’s harangue by tossing her the resteroom key, which Maj allows to thump against her chest and fall to the ground.

They stare together at the key for a moment, and then Kallan bends to pick it up, “Let me ask you this, Maj. If I were to pee in your bed, would you notice? Would you have trouble sleeping with pee?”

Maj lets out a little shriek of horror.

Her sister nods, “I thought so.”

Mark emerges from the bathroom, and as Kallan and I take our turns, Maj stands outside and offers royal scathing judgment of undisciplined peasant bladders.

And then we are back on the road.

Where there is time to work out Maj’s title . . . Her Royal Humped Highness, Princess Maj of Pee-Camelia.

Another hour passes in ridiculous fashion.

And then I start scanning the roadside signs, trying to come up with a reason to stop that would just coincidentally involve access to a bathroom.

It was a big cup of coffee.


    24 comments to The magnetic pull of stupid

    • Amy


      Dusty road grit covered meeeemooorriiieeessssss

      I Was (and Remain) Maj. I never have to pee. No matter how much water I ingest during the day I never have to pee. Even after having my minion.

      That said: Pee-Camel is now my favorite descriptive phrase, that I will happily use myself.

      • Maj, who already has issues accepting that there might be a point of view or an experience that does not exactly mirror her own . . . despairs.


        And pee-camel makes me giggle.

        Hee hee.

        It just does.

    • Mishelle


      That is like the BEST starting sentence ever!!



    • Issa

      Oh good lord Kallan is good. All splashy and soaked in pee. Gotta love that girl.

      I used to have a fabulous bladder and made fun of my mother and her 50 minute bladder. I hated public restrooms and had no problem waiting all day to pee if need be. That was then. Now I’m lucky if I can make it 90 minutes in between stops. Oh how the mighty have fallen.

      • Sigh.

        Yes, if I am drinking . . . anything . . . I have about an hour before I have to find a bathroom.

        So I drink a lot in the morning and a lot in the evening and not so much in the middle of the day.




        It is too.

        • Issa

          I used to try that and then I found myself getting up about six times in-between going to bed and actually falling asleep. Ahhhh babies and age. Fun times.

          • Hee hee.

            I read before I fall asleep, sometimes for quite a while.

            And I get up and use the bathroom . . . quite often.


            Good times.

    • The wisdom which ostensibly comes with age may well be overrated but one does learn never to pass up restrooms, chocolate or hugs.

      • I am not actually a fan of chocolate.

        And hugs that are offered by un-family members make me squirm.

        But bathrooms?

        I love those guys.


    • This cracked me up! The line “Kallan is my favorite” almost made me spit out my coffee. It was a BIG cup of coffee. A Venti in fact. Oh, man. Is there a bathroom around here?

    • My daughter and I just got back from a road trip to Alabama. We stopped at this busy, gross gas station in Nowhere-ville, Louisiana. They had a huge keyring attached to the bathroom key. Except, the last people to use it left the key in the door, so we thought it was empty. Nope. Opened the door on a lady holding her toddler over the toilet bowl. The place was so filthy, I was wishing someone could hold ME as I peed!!

    • JT

      Pee Camel … Hahahaha. Pee Camel hahahahahahaha. I think I will be immature for the rest of the day and just randomly say this and laugh about it.

      This post made my morning much more tolerable. We all have those stories. Remind me to tell you the story of the “green detour” some day.


      • Awww . . . it makes me happier than you might imagine to have made you giggle foolishly.

        Love that.

        I will need to hear of what might be found on this green detour, by the way — is it anything like what lies behind the green door?



    • I’m still stuck on the first paragraph where you say there’s no good reason to go to a strip club.

      I’m so confused.

      • I did not say there was no good reason to go to a strip club, babe.

        I said I could think of no good reason to take my entire family to a strip club.

        Because children.

        And parenting.

        I know, right?


    • Stephanie

      Kris I so love your family. My husband and I are like you and Mark. Everything is silly with us One of our friends called us one of those couples who tag team when having fun at others expense. It’s even better when they dish it back and we can all laugh. Tori is 10 now and she is starting to talk like your Kallan does and I love it. Never a dull moment. I so love Maj and her germ phobias. Does she really not have to pee or is she holding it from having to use dirty bathrooms. She is soooo funny. Mine on the other hand feels the need to use every bathroom she sees even if she doesn’t have to go. Kids I tell ya! Please keep blogging. I may not comment much but your words inspire me. Much love to you

      • There was a time when I could not wait for the girls to be able to hold their own in conversation.

        What . . . was . . . I . . . thinking?

        Hee hee. Seriously, though . . . isn’t it awesome to have smart and hilarious children? So awesome.

        Lucky you! Lucky me.

        As for Maj and the bathrooms? She really doesn’t have to go. She goes hours and hours at home without needing to use the bathroom. I am crazy jealous.


        Crazy jealous.


    • This is the most awesome,funniest post EVER. I too can hold it forever but there have been a couple of times in my life that I was desperate for a milk jug. Too bad I am a girl……

      • I’ve approved your pending comment, because you sound like a real-life and very nice person.

        Your link, however? That looks spammy.

        Forgive my suspicion.

        You are real, correct?