Pardon the use of the modern cryptic writing fashion, straight out of the WhatsApp or Twitter messaging. It’s a taboo subject at least in India. You can translate this into something more readable if you are a compulsive WhatsApper.
Folks, you may find this hard to believe but I have an alibi to vouch for the authenticity of the story I am about to narrate. I realized my dream of seeing San Francisco during my concert tour to California this September-October, and what better way to do that – reaching SF by train from San Jose?
My U.S. based buddy, by my side was big boost to allay my secret fears of riding in a public transport in this land of opportunity. Relax!
in the U.S. one can describe just about anything as great, just as in Australia one can use the adjectives – incredible, amazing or incredibly amazing or amazingly incredible and other permutations- to describe just about anything. So, one of my buddy’s great friends, magnanimously offered to take us around to see SF in all its glory. But I will write about that later.
Then he politely asks us if he could drop us off at some rail station – Perhaps the 16th Street Mission or the downtown Oakland BART station from where we could head to San Jose.
For the uninitiated Deshis, BART is an acronym for the grand Bay Area Rapid Transit.
So, on reaching the BART station, we got out of his car, profusely thanking him for his gesture, promising to return, trudged towards what looked like a reasonably equipped rail station.
Both of us, aged 75-plus years, decided that relieving ourselves before boarding the train was a brilliant idea. We looked around to find a public facility. Surprise, surprise! No such facilities in sight.
Holding ourselves gamely, in firm control of our respective bladders, we looked around to spot a Subway or a Taco Bell or some such ubiquitous fast-food joint. You know, in the U.S. you can walk into any of these joints, no one bothers whether you buy something or not, as long as you look presentable enough. And we did look presentable, I reckon.
In we enter, and instead of queuing up behind the hungry souls lined up in front of the order counter, we head towards the rest room,
‘Sorry, Rest room out of service”
Jeez, help us, pardon us for our past sins. The closer you get to the target the harder it is to hold yourself !
Ok. Onward ho! We found the Taco bell.
Gleefully marching towards it in our visibly slouching postures, ‘there it is!’ I exclaimed, with no fear of the appearance of the much-feared dribble syndrome as yet.
The sign staring at us from the locked glass door said it all, ‘Sorry we’re Closed’
Now what? An issue of such gargantuan proportion was looming large.
We ran down the steps to the underground station – no soul in sight, no savior on the scene.
The buddy hastened toward the ticket window. A lone young couple was in an animated conversation with the middle-aged woman behind the counter, discussing the plethora of options to travel to various destinations. My buddy, steeped in the western etiquette of controlling his impatience, regardless of how long the adorable couple would take to finish the discussion, queued up to ask about the location of the rest room in the station.
After five full minutes, that felt like an eternity, the young couple thanked the woman profusely and moved aside.
My buddy, in double quick time materialized at the counter, ‘Hi, a quick question! Could you tell me where the rest room is in the station?’
‘Aw, I am sorry there is no rest room at the station. But you can catch the train to San Jose, get down at the next station, walk to the end of the platform and sure, there is one, right there!’ She smiled at her brilliant response. Paruresis!
That was truly exasperating! Even in India, these days it is a crime to relieve yourself in public places and this was one of the wealthiest states of California, USA! We were faced with the Hamletian dilemma -2 P or not 2 P!
‘Thank you so much,’ he disengaged from the counter, wiped his glasses clean of nothing in particular.
‘Un hunh’ responded the kind lady, have a great day, Sir!”
Grudgingly, we boarded the next train, did not trust our bladders to hold out if ever we walked that length to the rest room at the end of the platform at the very next station, somehow held on, until finally landing at the San Mateo station. What a relief! God dispenses joy to everyone, never mind the delay – Remember, God has a plan for you.
Am thinking of claiming a new world-record, by writing to the Guinness Book. Why not? There all sorts of weird records. This is for controlling the urge to P for the longest time while traveling in the category of ’75 plus years of age – Males’
The moral of the story gor those 75 years plus category homo sapiens, plan your travel well, marking out the rest rooms along the way and don’t be embarrassed to use an adult diaper, just in case!
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For the doubting Thomases
Launch into a google research to find nuggets such as:
Why do subway stations not have bathrooms?
Public restrooms were not designed into the original D.C. Metro system “due to construction costs, maintenance costs, and safety and security concerns,” according to a 2003 press release by WMATA.
Why are there no public restrooms in America?
America’s Public Bathroom Shortage. Discrimination, underinvestment and sanitation concerns have led to a lack of public bathrooms, which has multiple consequences. If a person has to go to the bathroom while out in public, it may be difficult to find a toilet without some sort of catch.
7 thoughts on “2 P or not 2 P?”
Ha Ha. This was fun to-hold, I beg your pardon, to-read. Totally relatable having been in similar situations. One more advice; Plan your P in advance.
KK, not sure if we will be recognised by the Guinness Book of records but you will – for being the fastest to respond to my blog as soon as I hit the post button. Thanks
Need to review the facility as per our latest requirement…
KK, not sure if we will be in the Guinness Book of records but you will – for being the fastest to respond to the blog as soon as I hit the ‘post’ button. Thanks.
Raj, you have really taken some pain to write “2 P or not 2 P”. Other than this episode, our 9 weeks Pratham Tarang (Banjo) concert series to ten US cities was very comfortable and we raised good money for our favorite charity Pratham.
No prizes for guessing who the ‘buddy’ was in the blog!
I have been in the US for so long that I had forgotten my early days of such experiences. I used to wonder, why there are no public restrooms. Now we go to fast-food places or gas-stations without even thinking!