Mal de mer?
I was recently reminded of an event from my past; an event that was buried deeply in the recesses of my mind.
Dredging things from the deep recesses of my mind is not an easy task. It’s dark and scary in there, it smells like rotting pinecones and there are spiders.
Anyway, the memory (recovered at great cost of life) was of an event that occurred during my senior class trip to Toronto, Canada.
On our way to Toronto we stopped at Niagara Falls to ride the Maid of the Mist.
We took the tram down to the area where you board the boats, which at the time was basically just a big cement slab. There was nothing down there, including restrooms.
We waited there. Then waited some more. Then we waited a little longer.
It’s important to note: during the ninety minute bus ride from our little village of Westfield, NY to Niagara Falls, there were coolers containing cans of pop placed about the bus. I availed myself multiple times.
“I kind of have to pee,” I remarked innocently to my friends as we stood waiting.
We finally boarded one of the boats, donned our rain coats and departed for the falls.
I believe I can write without fear of contradiction: the base of Niagara Falls is without question, the worst place on the face of the Earth to be if you need to pee.
My situation rapidly escalated from kind of having to pee, to into having to pee worse than I ever had in my life.
If you’ve never been on the Maid of the Mist, the boat lurches up and down and you are constantly blasted in the face by dense mist.
And because the Horseshoe Falls are a curve, literally half of your horizon is a 180ft wall of water crashing down at a rate of over 75,000 gallons per second.
I was in agony–it felt like my bladder was filled with tiny wolverines trying to claw their way out.
I genuinely considered peeing off the side of the boat.
But it was not my desire to be forever known as the guy who got sent home two hours into the senior trip for peeing off the Maid of the Mist and causing an international incident.
As I was bent over in misery, my friends taunted me mercilessly and told others I was seasick.
I wasn’t seasick.
We finally made it back to shore, but the only way back up the street was by the tram and there were a lot of people in line ahead of us. A lot!
It was then I did something I wasn’t proud of; I shoved my way to the front of the line.
I literally shoved my way past the elderly and small children.
After reaching the top of the hill, I ran (which is ridiculously hard to do when you really have to pee) and made it to the restroom with no time to spare. I peed for what felt like fifteen minutes–it was glorious.
I made it through the entire senior trip without causing a single international incident. Collectively as a group, we were all a little surprised.