Having a bit of writer's block I asked a friend who understands such things what I should do.
" You should go back to the basics. Write about personal experiences.", he advised.
" But what if all your experiences are pretty much limited to tragic incidents with poop ?"
" Write what you know !"
So to that end I offer of the following story.
I had graduated college a year ahead of my friends and my girlfriend. So my typical week would entail getting off of work on Friday, driving the 5 hours back to college and getting there in time for last call. I'd stay all the way until the crack of dawn on Monday morning and then drive back in time to arrive for work Monday morning. It was a very tight timeframe, but I had an organized schedule and so long as I stayed on track I never had any problems. That was, until Superbowl Sunday.
On Superbowl Sunday, instead of the quiet dinner with my girlfriend and early to bed as was prescribed...I spent the night eating mexican food, drinking bucketsfull of cheap beer, and screaming at the television set. Instead of waking up early, having a nice breakfast, getting myself organized and being sent off with a kiss...I woke up 20 minutes late, still drunk, and ran out the door pulling on my pants.
I hopped into the car and set off as fast as I could, stopping just breifly on the edge of town to get myself some gas and a giant mug of coffee. I needed to make good time but to make matters worse, it was a particularly blustery January morning. Tempatures were in the teens and the wind was howling. This was pre-dawn so until the sun came up I was faced with icy roads. Sqinting through bloodshot eyes I nagivated the roads as best I could and the sun came up as I hit the Turnpike and headed east.
It's 34 miles between the exit where I would get onto the Turnpike and the next exit east. That's the longest stretch between any two exits on the Turnpike. I happen to know this little factoid because 1 mile into my trip the beer, the mexican food, the yelling, and the coffee all formed a perfect storm in my colon.
As many of you know, if you've spent any time drinking cheap beer and eating burritos, when those two items come in contact with coffee ( black no sugar) it's the gastrointestinal equivalent of fertilizer and deisel fuel. And the last 3 feet of your ass plumbing is the federal building parking garage.
I immediately went into DEFON 4 trying to come up with an escape plan. How long until the next exit. I checked the slip. Oh sweet Jesus 33 miles. No way. How long till the next rest stop...no rest stops for 50 miles. Maybe I can hold it.....the gurgling in my gut answer that question. OK, maybe if I can find a break in the median strip I can pull a U-turn and get back to the last toll house...great plan. For the next 5 miles....no break in the median strip. OK, that does it, I'm going to have to just pull off the side of the road and take a shit in the woods.
I drove another 3 miles before I could find a big enough shoulder on the side of the road at an emergency pull off. I dug around through the trash in the car and found myself a couple of old napkins and hopped out.
Outside of the car I realized that I may not have picked the greatest spot. At this emergency pull off there was plenty of paved area for a truck to park and there was a call box, but there really wasn't anything else. The were trees as far as the eye could see, but the road was elevated and all the woods were on the other side of the median strip and 30 feet down. There really wasn't any shelter.
This is close to what I'm talking about. The slope here isn't quite as steep..but you get the idea.
So with much embarassment I did the best I could. I climbed over the guiderail, grabbed onto the freezing cold steel with one hand and started undoing my pants with the other hand. My hope was that the guiderail would provide sort of a shelter to hide behind. I was wrong. No sooner did I step over the railing then people started beeping and pointing and laughing as the drove by. Dammit.
This is what I may have looked like if you drove by.
I looked around and found a solution. While all the trees were growing from 30 foot down the ravine, there was one small tree that had somehow, miraculously, was growing right out of the sloped mecadam about 5 feet down the hill. With my pants now half way around my thighs, I reached back and got a hand on the tree. With acrobatic prowess I swung around the tree, grasping the 4 in trunk in both hands, put both feet on either side of the stump, squated down extending my derieere out over the ledge, and took care of some very very nasty business down the slope 25 feet below. AHHHHHHHHHH !
This young lady demostrates my flawless technique.
With great dexterity and using one hand I cleaned myself up and while unable to button or zip, pulled my pants up around my waist.
It was then I realized that while my immediate problem was taken care of....I was now 5 feet below the road grade....8 feet below the guiderail...and standing on a frozen hunk of pavement tilted at 45 degrees.
I swung myself back around the tree so that my back was on the trunk and I was facing uphill. This got me a couple of feet closer. I reached out and stretched as far as I could. I was three feet short.
I worked up some courage and tentatively learched at the base of the guiderail. But because I flinched when I did it I only made it 2 and a half of the three feet and my hand feel 6 inches short. Like a dog on ice and in complete panic I started flailing around as I started slide back down the slope. AGGGGHHHHHHHHH !!!!!! I let out a premordial scream and I grabbed back onto the tree with a deathgrip hug.
When my time for death comes, I hope that I will bravely face it with courage and dignity. But there was no way that i was going to fall 30 to my death and be found half frozen, with my pants half down, laying in a pile of my own diarrhea. Even I have standards.
I stayed there for what seemed like an eternity until my heart rate came down and until I just couldn't stand the cold anymore. I swung back around the tree again and steadied myself. This time, with complete conviction and dedication to the effort, I leapt out and grabbed the guardrail.
I pulled myself over the top, got in the car, and continued on my way.
I got to work 30 mintues late. But with some lessons well learned.