It was either right after Thanksgiving or right after winter break when my housemate came to pick me up at my parents’ home in Westchester to drive back up to Buffalo. It was to be four of us in the car: my housemate, his sister, her friend, and me. As a parting gift, my mom handed me a 18 oz cup of hot coffee. It was piping hot. Black, with some honey. In other words, a perfect cup. Remember to give your friend some money for gas, she said. Of course I would. I was no cheapskate.
We crammed my suitcase into the Toyota RAV4 (unless it was some other mini-SUV that Toyota produces) and headed northwest, to Buffalo, which takes roughly 7-9 hours, depending on how fast you drive, how the traffic is, and how the weather looks like. That very day was when a snowstorm was to pass through the entirety of Western New York. The first half hour or so went by relatively alright. My housemate, having an odd sense of humor and an equally odd taste in music, played the Ding Dong Song by Gunther on repeat. His sister, in the middle of her nap, woke up complaining about this song. Her friend, who told me she was going to apply to be an English major, said she was going crazy from this song. As we passed Woodbury, we saw snow falling. I started to draw figures on the condensation forming on the windows and the girls giggled at the drawings — I drew the Earth with stick figures holding hands around it.
“You’re so funny,” the friend said.
I think we were just past Binghampton or before it, when we hit some severe traffic due to the bridges being iced over. The local sheriff department would not let any cars pass until it was salted over and paved. I had finished my cup of coffee about 20 minutes back and I had to use the bathroom.
“Dude,” I said to my housemate, “I have to pee. Really bad.”
“Go on the side of the road.”
“What, and get arrested for public urination? I don’t think so.”
“Well, I guess you’ll have to wait until we get to the next rest stop.”
“When are they going to let us go?” I asked to no one in particular. I balled up my fists and prayed that the officers would let us move in the next 10 minutes.
Ten minutes passed. Then 15. We were nearing 20 when cars in front of us started moving.
“Oh, thank GOD,” I said, in relief.
We passed a rest area sign. It said last rest stop for the next 60 miles. The rest area was coming up in 2 miles.
“Can you hold it until the next one? I really want to catch up the half hour that we spent in traffic,” my housemate said.
I shook my head no. There was no way I was going to hold my pee in for the next 60 miles, in snowy weather, on Route 17.
“I don’t think you understand the severity of this situation,” I said.
The girls laughed.
“I have to go too,” his sister said.
“Oh, fine, I’ll stop,” he said.
We pulled into the rest area — there were 3 or 4 cars in the parking lot. We parked closest to the restrooms. I quickly left the car, feeling pressure building up in my bladder with every step I took and power walked into a stall, where I unzipped my pants and relieved myself, for almost a minute, feeling nothing but sheer bliss and ecstasy and that spine-tingling shiver that ran up my spine.