Vacation Schadenfreude: The Drive Home

“Can you wait 5 more minutes ’til we get to a rest stop?  Then you can pee.”

“I can’t wait!  I’m going to DIE!”

“Surely, you’re not going to DIE.”

“I AM!  I am going to DIE.  It’s an emergency, I tell you.  I have to go NOW NOW NOW.”

“You know what, Mom?” my daughter replied. “If it’s that bad, maybe you shouldn’t order such a big coffee next time.”

“I PROMISE I won’t.  Just find me a toilet. Everyone keep your eyes peeled!”


Schadenfreude – noun.  Pleasure derived from another person’s misfortune.
Schadenfreude – verb. To confessionally blog about my own ridiculousness
solely for the purpose of your enjoyment.  I give, and I give.


Driving home from our vacation last month was quite a challenge.  The kids did great, overall, but no one’s more of a road trip baby than me.

I know some of you enjoy road trips.  And I respect you; I really do.  I just can’t figure out why you like them.

As you can probably guess, my mature and composed outcry of urinary urgency compelled Murphy to impose his Law.  There wasn’t a potty for miles and miles (and miles and miles).  We were stuck in city rush hour traffic.  And, all the while, my bladder continued to expand to a truly outrageous and extraordinary size.

Have you ever seen Alien?  Where the foreign lifeform ripples under its victim’s skin?  My bladder gleefully played the role of the alien, stretching, growing, waving hello to passersby, and generally wreaking happy havoc on my insides.

I was forced to ponder important questions.  Like what, exactly, is so bad about wetting the car, anyway?  How horrific can a pee-soaked seat really be?  And, if my bladder explodes, will the bladder shrapnel harm anyone except myself?

Then it happened.  The heavens parted and a shaft of light beamed down onto a road sign that read “Gas Station: Next Left.”  OhdearJesus, LordGodinHeaven, thankyouthankyouthankyouthankyou.  I swear if you let the gas station be open, I will never drink coffee again.

It’s very important to make sure that you only make deals with Jesus when you’re sincere and truly able and willing to follow through.  I learned that in theology class at my liberal arts Christian college.  (FYI, my theology professors are rolling over in their graves right now.  Even the ones who aren’t dead.  I’m not sure why they’re being so dramatic, especially since I’m pretty sure that my grades provided all the illumination necessary to expose my theological disabilities.)

Sure enough, at the next exit, there was a gas station.  It was intact.  It was OPEN!  Customers efficiently pumped gas and queued for the car wash while I made my mad dash – through the remarkably CLEAN store – for the restroom.

Only to discover an immaculate sign that read: Restroom Out of Order.

Aw, Jesus!  Come on, dude! (It’s almost as though he knew I was insincere in my coffee promise and wanted to mess with me.  Weird.)

Well, it was way too late.  You know that point where you’re SURE you’re going to get to go, and so you absolutely, positively cannot hold it for even 2 more minutes?  Yeah, well, I’d reached that moment 90 seconds earlier when I saw that the gas station was open.

So I did what any reasonable mother would do whose bladder is full past bursting in a crowded parking lot.

I ripped open the van’s sliding door and ordered my teenager out of her seat.  “Out, out, OUT.  Now, now, NOW.  GetoutgetoutgetoutgetoutgetOUT.”

She leapt from the van, clearly unwilling to confront the crazy woman formerly known as her mother who was making demands in one- and two-word staccato formation.

She leapt out.  And I leapt in.  Right into her seat.  Which was behind tinted glass.  Which some people think is translucent.  But I say is practically opaque.

And I’m not going to tell you what happened next.  Because I am a model of discretion, and I wouldn’t want to ruin my reputation.  And because it’s entertaining to bring this story to an abrupt and unsatisfying end.

On an unrelated note, I would like to offer my sincere thanks to a certain, special, empty, jumbo McDonald’s cup who was there for me during a critical time in my life.  I’m not sure I can ever adequately find words for the kind of friend you were to me.  But I needed you.  Needed you bad.  Needed you good.  And you were there for me, baby.  You were there.


(Psst… looking for the “I Like Book” giveaway?  You still have time to enter!  Click here.)

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9 responses to “Vacation Schadenfreude: The Drive Home”

  1. Be thankful you had the McDonald’s cup. When I found myself in the circumstance of needing to empty the people out of the van during the HUGE traffic jam that occurred just outside of Washington D.C on the occasion of the transport of former President Gerald Ford’s body to the National Cathedral, all I had was my grandaughter’s sippy cup.

  2. MY question is, “Did you learn enough about aerodynamics – specifically about boundary layer adhesion – to not attempt to duplicate your Mom’s feat of attempting to pour the contents out the side window of a vehicle moving at 57 MPH [top speed of the 1974 VW microbus] only to have the contents stream right back in the same window?” Inquiring minds want to know.

  3. I’m not sure this is any more reassuring than Cai’s explanation of the emergency stop when you caught up with us again a few minutes later: “Mom had diarrhea, but it didn’t hurt.” Whatever…

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