Never turn down an opportunity to pee

This is not a suggestion. It is bordering on a direct order.

I’ve always known this, actually, but yesterday, as I drove back from New Hampshire, I did not take my own advice. As I trundled along I90 towards the border, I played that little game with myself: should I hit that last rest stop? Nah. I’ll be fine. I knew it was about half an hour to the border. If I could find it, that is. I had no GPS, no map, and I’d accidentally wrapped my apple core in the page from my directions that I needed.

I print out Google maps to where I need to go, then I just do it all backwards to get home. I replace Ns with Ss and Ws with Es and the other way around. It usually works. But I got thrown off yesterday because there was a flashing sign that said this:

Wait times at border crossings: Peace Bridge 60 minutes
Rainbow Bridge 0-30 minutes
Queenston-Lewiston Bridge 60-90 minutes

I’d come across at Queenston-Lewiston, and that was the way I’d aimed to go back. But I’d just gone past the last gas/pee place, and all I could picture was 60-90 minutes. I decided the Rainbow Bridge was the better bet, even though I had no idea where it was. I decided I’d just nudge against the border until some spot on it opened up. Do you know how many bridges there are? There are lots. So I got lost. It was about 5:30 on a Sunday, so traffic was heavy. I was driving that yellow Mustang which I looooooooove, but I didn’t have my bluetooth hooked up because the engine is so lovely and loud, and I was shifting gears every ten seconds, and at the same time rummaging around in the little brown bag that held the most excellent Gala apples that I’d bought at a farmer’s market in New Hampshire, and cursing myself for crumpling up the core in the page I needed. I usually toss apple cores out the window, but I worried that the U.S. might see that as littering, and I didn’t feel like getting pulled over in a press car.

Then I contemplated pulling over just this side of the border to pee, but I worried that maybe they had police that looked for people who did that and burst into the little cubicles to see what they were hiding to smuggle over the border. I was taking my apples over in a bag, not any place else, but I didn’t want to risk it. Sometimes I worry too much.

Anyway, at a toll booth (one of about a bazillion toll booths I went through) I asked the guy if the Rainbow Bridge was up there. He couldn’t hear me over the Mustang, I could tell, but he nodded yes. I think they probably do this for sport. I decided I would just carry on north, and eventually figure it out. I munched on another apple and tried not to think about peeing.

After a few minutes, I got nervous that I’d missed something. Then I noticed the car ahead of me, a black Elantra. It had Ontario plates and a little kid in the backseat. I just started following them, reasoning they were going home, and the kid probably had to pee. This turned out to be a good bet and I only got nervous again when the highway started winding its way through a residential area. I hate this about Buffalo: you are merrily highwaying away, and all of a sudden you’re on people’s front steps. Their zoning laws are nuts, something I learned as a kid when Roz and I would go down there and find fancy restaurants next to factories, and something for sale call beef on wek. I do not know what that is, nor do I want to.

At the border, everything ground to a halt. I nervously wondered why I was being denied my 0-30 minutes as cops flew by me. Some fender bender. Now I really couldn’t get out of line to pee, because I reasoned nobody would let me back in. As I sat there, I watched all kinds of cars wheel around and leave, and I knew in my heart every one of them had to pee.

I finally got to the border guy, and was momentarily surprised by a young man who looked like a J Crew model. I looked like someone who had driven for 8 hours eating apples and needing to pee. As I sat there wondering if I knew any girls in their 20s who would like to meet a nice looking boy who had a job as a border guard, he asked me where I’d been and I told him a pumpkin festival in New Hampshire. My guess is you can’t make that up. He asked if I had anything to declare. I said one ugly leather jacket (bought on a dare, cheap) and a bottle of gin and (I looked in the bag) 4 apples.

I made it home.

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9 responses to Never turn down an opportunity to pee

  1. Padraig says:

    An old adage when I was in the RAF: “Never stand when you can sit; never sit when you can lie down; and never pass up the chance for a piss.”

  2. Padraig says:

    Oh, and it’s “weck” short for kummelweck, which is a type of doughy roll with kosher salt and caraway seeds on top. Its the second thing for which Buffalo is famous, after Buffalo wings. No make that third, after “fire in Tonawonda, film at 11″

  3. DJW says:

    As a person who works outside, and takes long road trips, I can sympathize.

    We now take the dog on most camping trips, and my excuse for stopping is because she has to go. (whether she wants to or not!)

  4. Roz says:

    Main & Filmore. Wasn’t it those two streets in Buffalo that were always on fire? Lorraine and I found ourselves during one of our outings at Main & Filmore and we were amazed that it wasn’t on fire. Thanks for the weck definition. Sounds like something Lorraine would actually eat. yuck.

  5. Roz says:

    I just google mapped it and looked at the street view. Looks like a lot of new construction so I guess they finally burned down the whole intersection and started again.

  6. Beth says:

    Great idea to follow the car with Ontario plates. I got lost in Rome, Italy one time, with all those medievil buildings and winding streets. I spotted a nun and followed her, hoping she would be going to the Vatican. Luck was on my side as I spotted St Peter’s dome in the distance. Benedict did not invite me in for tea.

  7. Allimack says:

    I have had the same issue heading north to the Lewiston/Queenston border and seeing the sign saying 0-30 for Peace Bridge or Rainbow Bridge and not knowing which one was Fort Erie and which was Niagara Falls or how to get there. Twice I have just winged it, following Niagara Falls signs and made my way to the (Rainbow – I looked it up) Bridge crossing and found it almost empty, definitely worth the extra 10 or 15 minutes of driving in order to keep moving.
    Since I’m on a rant, my other pet peeve is that my favourite GTA driving station (AM 680 of course) talks about traffic hold ups using exit names rather than numbers. If I have just started east to Ottawa on the 401 and I hear traffic is at a standstill at “White’s Road”, just tell me the exit number (394 – I looked it up) rather than expecting I know what that means since I rarely drive out farther than the zoo. That way I can assess what it likely means if I hit the back of a traffic jam at km 385.

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