by substitute teacher Lauren Tozer-Kilts
At work, I am want to stride briskly from place to place. When engaged in conversation, I am usually all smiles and pleasantry. There are times when cornered in conversation that I take on a dour demeanor. It's because I'm focusing on not peeing my pants. There is a reason why I'm called "Lauren 'Bladder the Size of a Chick Pea' Tozer-Kilts. Looking like a sour-puss is better than holding ones crotch and doing the potty dance in a professional environment.
I must absolve the Kilts portion of the family from this whole LLA. I inherit my bladder from the Tozer branch. In fact, "The Tozer Bladder" is the source of many amusing anecdotes that are often told at family gatherings. The only stories that are more popular are the "Great Uncle Dave Stories".
To digress for a moment, Great Uncle Dave lived to an advanced age, despite the fact that he had nearly been a Darwin Award winner on multiple occasions. The top three "Great Uncle Dave" stories are: Great Uncle Dave gets mad at the prize bull and punches it, Great Uncle Dave whacks an explosive with a ball-peen hammer, and the classic Great Uncle Dave cuts into a gasoline tank with an acetylene torch. While Great Uncle Dave stories are the most popular family story, they lack the sheer VOLUME of "Tozer Bladder Stories".
My Mother's favorite Tozer Bladder story involves my Father. It took place before Mom and Dad where married, and also happened to be a double date with Dad's twin bother and his fiancÚ (my future Aunt). What they did on that date neither my Mom or Aunt remember, but they do remember the trip home. My Dad was driving and without warning, he swerved off the road, and slammed on the brakes. The instant the car came to the end of its screeching halt,--without saying a word--both Dad and Uncle jump out of the car, and run straight for the bushes. The car is running, the lights are on, the doors are open, and two woman are alone in a car on a back road. 40 to 45 years ago, every road in Seattle -- including Interstate 5 -- was a back road. Now the traffic here is so bad that is no such thing as a "back road that avoids freeway traffic," but--again--I digress. At first my Mom and Aunt thought that this was simply another pre-arranged joke being played on them by the twins. ("Twin Antics" stories are yet a whole other category of family tales.) Time passed, and the twins did not return. One version of this story has the women stranded in the car for 3 days without food and water, but I tend to lead little credence to it. However, Mom and Aunt do start to get worried as the men stayed in the bush longer and longer. Eventually the two emerged into the glare of the headlights tugging at their zippers.
What makes that story funny is the fact that Dad will not stop the vehicle if anyone else's bladder it full.
Both my Sister and I are afflicted with the Tozer Bladder. Very late one Fourth of July night, we were on our way home from a fire works display that was good hour drive away. The station wagon was very crowded with a mixture of Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. Due to the lack of available seating, a couple of us kids were riding in the cargo area. I had to pee. Of coarse, Dad would not stop. I had to pee. Dad would not stop. I HAD TO PEE. After a few "just hold it" comments from Dad, Mom suggested that I use his fishing waders that I was so conveniently sitting on. Dad suggested that I should wait. I couldn't, so I shimmied out of my pants and figured out how to pee into the waders in a moving car. The smell for the rest of the ride wasn't that pleasant, but I was no longer in pain.
Dad was . . . upset.
That does not compare to the extreme discomfort of my Sister. One summer, we went to Yellowstone. It was a great trip. The "going to" and "returning from" was fraught with much bladder discomfort. That is to say except for my Dad. My sister and I had to endure the agony, but we began to notice a pattern of Dad saying something like, "the alternating flange hub is rubbing", we'd pull over at the very next possible stop, Dad would pop open the hood, tinker for a few seconds, close the hood, and then dash for the bathroom. While we where in the park itself, we went on a boat trip on Lake Yellowstone. (At least I vaguely remember that it might have been Lake Yellowstone, but, yet again, I digress.) It was a grey day, and a little cold. Yet Dad launched the boat. The boat was a 10" long, white fiberglass affair that Dad had patched many, many times. The boat's useful career ended when a final layer of fiberglass increased the weight of the boat past the point of buoyancy. At the time, Lake Yellowstone forbade the use of gasoline motors in it's waters, so Dad attached his electric motor and we buzzed out onto the Lake. We made it to the other end of the lake, had lunch, and then started back.
The weather started turning rough, and the tiny boat was tossed. Well, not really. It did start to rain though. I mean really rain. You'd think that a family from Seattle (famous for rain) would be prepared from such an event. "Rain" in Seattle is often a just a permeating vapor that simply makes everything damp. When actual drops fall from the sky, they are large and widely space, so the average outer garment is quite capable of repelling the assault. Back to the lake.
Our Seattle adequate outer garments were not up to this level of rainfall. We were all soaked to the skin and quite cold. To make matters worse, visibility became very bad. Soon we had to start bailing water out of the boat. Because of many factors--the occupants of the boat had become water-logged (and therefore heavier), the water accumulating in the boat (and making it heavier), the dying battery for the electric motor, and a head wind appearing--we stopped making progress back to the boat launch.
It's about this time my sister had to pee. Strictly speaking, it's not Dad's fault for the fact that we were stuck out in the middle of the lake without a place to pee. However, we all blame him anyway. Dad was in the habit of "hanging it over the side" and he suggested that my sister do the same. Anyone who has paid attention to the differences between male and female anatomy will realize that this is easier said than done. My sister could not hold it any longer. Since there were no handy fishing waders, my sister was took the only course of action available. She dropped trow, Mom and I grabbed her arms, she leaned out the boat one way, we leaned the other way, and she mooned the water. And the National Park Ranger. The poor visibility, the noise of the rain, and the noise of a bickering family, prevented us from noticing that a Ranger's boat had pulled along side.
It was quite a little tableau. Despite the fact the National Park Ranger was privy to the urination of my sister, he was nice enough to tow us back to the boat launch.
My sister considers the "Pickle Sandwich Affair" more embarrassing. Which is another well loved family story.
About today's substitute teacher:
Lauren Tozer-Kilts is the creator of the very wonderful Depth of Field, an online Fumetti comic (aka it's made with artsy photos, just like Fluff!). If you aren't already reading it, you really should be. Now...if you'll excuse her this whole thing has made Colleen to pee.
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