No good story begins with desperation. Or it might. I don’t have much experience of it. But I learnt something regardless- desperate times call for desperate measures. And the desperation I am talking about relates to not being able to pee. Not clinically, just for not having access to a toilet, or anyplace appropriate (woods, desert, in a cup in a hospital, et cetera). Also when one takes a bus. Don’t get me wrong, I can take on long journeys in rickety buses without feeling the need to pee. Coming from India, you are trained to zen yourself into not peeing. You achieve the ability to drink the right amount of water you need to without dehydrating or overshooting your bladder capacity. I would start rationing my water intake from the night before if i were to undertake a long bus journey the next morning. Healthy or not, that’s the only way you are going to survive.
Here in Germany, buses are equipped with toilets which function based on the vacuum ejection system, same as the ones you find installed in aircrafts. But sometimes these toilets don’t function. So what do you do, if you get on a five hour journey, without spending that 50 cents that you know you can save since there is going to be a toilet on the bus. However, once you get on and realise that the toilet isn’t available. First stage is shock and disbelief. You read the trilingual sign slapped on the door thrice and it still says the same thing- closed. Then comes denial. You deny that you even need to go, try and forget about it. When that doesn’t help, you start to pray to every god that you can imagine. Once it dawns upon you that God is probably busy tending to things more important than facilitating your natural calls, you decide to take matters in your own hands. In my case, I surveyed the surroundings, everyone was fast asleep. Which I thought was a good setting, if I were to bend down in front of my seat and pee in a bottle. So I place my backpack next to my seat to camouflage my feet. The next step was to obtain an empty container. My problem was that I didn’t have an empty bottle. I considered drinking the water in the bottle before peeing in it. But somehow that struck me as suicidal. I, then saw a McDonald’s cold coffee slurpee container in the mesh pouch diagonally placed to my seat. I appropriated it, only to realise that it wasn’t empty. I toyed with the transparent plastic glass in my hand for about two minutes, before replacing it in its original place. By now, an hour and half had passed since I started hatching the brilliant plan of peeing inside of a bus without getting spotted. I concluded that whatever that it was that took to pee in public view (possibly in case things didn’t go as planned) in a bus, I didn’t have it. I was then forced to imagine the horrendous conversation I would have had to have with the german bus driver, if I had to beg him to stop the bus for a pee break. “Können Wir eine Toilettepause machen, bitte?” As I repeated these words to myself, I saw that the driver was pulling the bus to the side in front of a tiny cemented structure with a roof, which was presumably a toilet. My heart took a giant leap with joy, as I jumped out of my seat and out of the bus.