Sunday, January 27, 2013

What My Portable Potty Says to the World

My car says a lot about me. 

* I care more about my kids being able to eat in the car than I do about my upholstery. 

* I am somewhat environmentally conscious (four-cylinder vs. V6, mid-size versus super-size SUV, reusable grocery bags in trunk), but not overly so (still an SUV, and not a hybrid).

* I have allergies (box of tissues in the center consul, used tissues in the door pocket). 

* I drink a lot of coffee (stains, old cups in the consul).  

* I'm either a little distracted, or have bad depth perception (scratches on three of four bumper corners). 

* I am a MOPS mom (MOPS sticker partially obscures deepest bumper scratch). 

These are all things I can't and don't particularly care to hide about myself, but on the other hand, none of them are there on purpose to communicate my personality to other drivers. Even the MOPS sticker;  I just put it there to hide the scratch. 

You may note that I don't have a Jesus fish on my car or a cross hanging from my rear view mirror. I feel that, as a driver, I might be pad P.R. for Jesus. I don't want to cut someone off accidentally and give them an excuse not to like Christians, organized religion, or God. 

But there is one thing my car is currently communicating that is really bothering me. In my trunk, there is a sign that screams: DRIVER HAS POOR BLADDER CONTROL! And I don't know how to cover it up.

Back story: Over the Christmas break, Jeff and I took our girls to sled in the snow, outside of Big Bear at a trail head on the side of the road. There are no public facilities there, and the nearest restaurant (The Oaks) is always filled with other day-tripping families. So my Boy Scout of a husband (always be prepared!) decided that we needed to buy a portable folding toilet. 

Way back story: The last time we visited the snow (two years ago), we ate lunch in The Oaks, but I spent 30 minutes waiting in line for the bathroom, since all the customers and every other person in a 20-mile radius had come in, dripping snow, to use the one (one!) toilet. Finally, frustrated beyond belief by a full bladder, the fact that my tuna melt was sitting cold on the table, and my husband was in the parking lot trying to get our already potty trained daughter to go pee in an old diaper he found in the trunk, I delivered a vehement lecture to the manager that they should have a restroom key and give priority to customers. Then the woman in front of me in line said, "That's not the manager. That's my husband." Then I saw that yes, he was wearing boots and snow bib overalls. Then I went and apologized to him as he ate his cold tuna melt. Then I nearly died of shame.

So. We bought a portable toilet. And we did indeed use it on the side of the road with our posteriors freezing and a quilt draped around the car door as a makeshift bathroom stall. (At this point, Jeff and I both wished we had had boys. The world is their urinal!) 

Now, the toilet lives permanently in our trunk. And it's not a cute little toddler potty like my friends have. It's a full-on man-sized toilet that you'd take camping or hunting, as it says on the box. Said box is construction sign yellow, and marked on all sides by the bold black letters "PORTABLE TOILET" or even, on it's most subtle side "portable TOILET." No matter which way I turn the box, it rats me out to every one in the parking lot. "THIS WOMAN CAN'T WAIT TO GET TO A BATHROOM! SHE CARRIES A TOILET WITH HER EVERYWHERE SHE GOES." This is not the statement I wish to make to the world.

Now, I can't conceive of any place in suburban Orange County, where I spend 96% of my time, that I would prefer to squat on an aluminum toilet in my trunk (my windows are not tinted drug-dealer opaque) rather than hold it till I get to the next Target in half a mile. Perhaps if I'm trapped under an overpass after a major earthquake it would come in handy, and I could lend it to other trapped motorists in exchange for food, water and bandages, since the only thing left in my car's emergency kit is a dead flashlight, an empty band-aid box and a couple of latex gloves. But how likely is that? 

Still, Hubby will not let me bring it into the storage closet. It is for potty emergencies in the car, so in the car it must stay. It's so embarrassing to me that I've considered wrapping the box in gift paper to make it prettier. But what if someone asked me what was in it. Do I want to communicate that to the world: I am the kind of person who decorates her emergency potty box? I'll think about it, and I'll let you know.

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