|A Urinary Hostage in Austin, Cont'd|
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In my haste to find a place to waste, I had made my way to a section of town near the river. There is this beautiful river that cuts through Austin, and a lot of green space has been built around it. My first reaction was to turn around and head back to an area where there were more public businesses, but then I remembered that there were restrooms in the green space near the river - rest rooms which were not managed by anyone!
Taking a huge risk, I ran across 4 lanes of traffic to get to the nearest river park. And then I saw it - a free-standing rest room in the middle of the park with no one around for miles.|
I thought about the fact that the rest room may be broken or locked,
"I was hit in the face with a smell that had the same density as plywood."
but I had to go so badly I figured I could kick in the door or something.
Funny how urination can lead to desperation.
Knowing I was only seconds from relief seemed like some relief in itself, but it wasn't much. About halfway between the street and relief I started to smell something really bad.
It was pee.
When you have to go real bad, anything which is comprised of water or waste tends to only make things worse. Well, in Austin we have large populations of Freetail Bats. And they spend a lot of time living under the bridges near the river apparently 'pissing' their days away. My sense of urgency was now on par with one of the DEFCON levels, Level 3 I think.
I could see the goal and smell the problem and still could not get there fast enough.
It was time to run, and run I did.
As I approached the large metal box I quickly rehearsed all the possible outcomes if the door had been locked. Most scenarios ended with me relieving myself on the outside of the restroom, but at least I had a plan.
I grabbed the handle and found the door was open. I was hit in the face with a smell that had the same density as plywood. It was so much worse than the smell from the bats that I realized the bats probably don't think they smell at all. The rest rooms in the park can drown out any olfactory offenses that the bats can dish out by a long shot.
The door closed and I was in the little metal box alone - and finally able to go. I was probably 2 miles from the plumbing store where my incident started, but finally I would be able to relieve my burden.
Suddenly there was a succession of loud noises. It sounded like someone was banging on the outside of the restroom with a large metal bar. Before I could imagine all the things that could be going on, the restroom door flew open with a loud thud and a rush of pee-free air blew in. To my horror there were about 6 people standing outside the little restroom - six people just staring at me.
I didn't think to stop 'going', and just stood there looking at them all in disbelief.
"What are you doing in here?", a loud voice asked.
Through my tears of relief it appeared as if one of my audience members was a police officer. He was not happy that I was in the restroom, and I think the fact that I was still 'going' probably came off as some violation of public exposure.
While still using the facility, I calmly explained to the officer that I had come to the restroom to relieve myself. (One would assume he could figure this out for himself, but clearly he wanted answers.)
"Step out here,", he suggested forcefully, "and keep your hands where I can see them."
Its funny how fear can instantly change your outlook - in one second I had gone from a teary-eyed, urinating man in a private restroom that smelled like Freetail bats, to a sweating, scared man walking out of a private restroom with his fly open and 5 spectators.
I no longer felt the need to go anymore either.
As I listened to an 8-minute oratory on the various activities of the homeless and the homosexuals I just stood there in a panic, all the time aware of the breeze which still permeated my pants as well as the 5 folks that were watching this personal tale of horror unfold. The officer next asked me for my ID. I pulled it from my pocket and attempted to hand it to him. But he didn't want my ID, he just wanted me to hold it up for him to see.
The officer asked me to stay where I was as he walked about 20-feet away to check my ID on his radio. I still had the ID in my hand, still had a southern breeze, and still had a 5-person fan club.
The situation left me completely paralyzed and I didn't have the clarity to deal with the draft and disperse the crowd.
The officer returned and gave me the OK to leave. Apparently, my use of a public restroom in the park was not the result of a major criminal background, nor did I have a history of nefarious human-waste activitives. I'm not sure what he checked, but I was glad to know it came back clear.
I snapped a hard look at the 5 gawkers. My first thought was that they were still here, and still watching my little pissing fest like it had been directed by Steven Spieberg.
When asked if they wanted me to resume peeing so they could watch, the RestRoom-5 turned a nice shade of burgundy and started to walk away.
As the officer left the scene we said our goodbyes and I put out a hand.
Oddly, the officer didn't want to shake my hand.