There was a time when I could wait.
I remember — it wasn’t that long ago, really — I could shop for hours on end without a single pit stop.
I once consumed an entire Route 44 Diet Coke and sat through “Gone With the Wind” with nary a nod in the direction of the bathroom.
In 2002, I rode shotgun from Lawrence to Hays in a minivan with bad shocks, after two large cups of McDonald’s coffee, without uttering the words: “Rest area, one mile!” My husband still refers to that trip as the Memorial Day Miracle.
There was a time when holding it was an option. I could fend off nature’s call indefinitely or, at least, until a moment more convenient for me. Not anymore.
These days, my life is a 24-hour loop of every Detrol commercial ever made: “Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now … gotta go, gotta go, gotta go!”
That’s me: The panic-stricken middle-aged female cop, directing traffic in a busy intersection, her mind obsessed with the impending implosion of her bulging bladder. That’s me, too: The 50-something lady juror with a look of horror in her eyes, begging the bailiff to be excused from the courtroom, so she can “Go right NOW.”
I used to laugh mockingly at those ads. Those days are down the drain.
Lately, anywhere I go — bistro, bank, eco-boutique — my first order of business is to locate the restroom and calculate the time it will take me to reach its door. (Note to shop owners: No public potty, no patronage. A john-less joint is no place for a woman with urinary stress. I don’t care how cute those sandals are, or that I just got paid.)
Desperate times call for desperate measures. (Am I right, ladies?)
It may sound shocking but, in busy restaurants, I will not hesitate to use the “Cabelleros” room if the “Damas” is ocupado, especially after a couple margaritas. Let the chips and salsa fall where they may.
Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go immediatamente!
Recently, I got a new job. My office is pleasant and spacious with a floor-to-ceiling window affording a lovely view of hard-bodied construction workers next door. What’s not to love, right?
There’s just one problem: The restroom is one level down and is kept under lock and key. (Or so I thought.) I suppose my mind was wandering during orientation, so when I found myself on Day One standing in front of the restroom door — desperate to “go right NOW” — I was dismayed to discover the small brass key I held in my hand was useless for the COMBINATION LOCK before me!
Pressing my thighs together, my feet pigeon-toed, I climbed the stairs, crying, “Must ... get … combination ... from the drawer” while a chorus of “Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now” played in my head.
And that’s the kicker, my uninitiated friends. The “urge” isn’t just a physical one. It is 65 percent mental.
Once upon a time, I knew I had a good 20 minutes to make it to the comfort station from the time the inkling struck. Now, I can’t even say “inkling” without thinking of tinkling. And, sprinkling!
Sometimes, I walk into the house, my arms full of groceries, and just eye-balling the powder room door brings on instantaneous leakage.
“I KNEW I shouldn’t have stopped to buy that Powerball ticket!”
But, I’m a defiant one, I am. I’m not about to let a little thing like urge incontinence cramp my style. Not this frisky 55-year-old.
So, I started Kegeling. (Google it, gentlemen. I’m not going to explain.) I Kegel constantly. I Kegel at work. I Kegel at home. (I’m Kegeling right now, in fact … and now … and now!)
My new thing is to Kegel every time the Jayhawks make a field goal in the NCCA tournament. Not to jinx it, but if President Obama’s prediction comes true, by the end of “One Shining Moment,” I’ll have the pelvic floor of a 15-year-old.
Join me, won’t you, ladies? Let’s start a movement. We’ll call it Kegel Madness. The Big Squeeze. Think of the benefits: No more running to the loo with 30 seconds left to play. No more one-drink-per-half limit. Heck, by the Final Four, we’ll be ready for a pitcher and double-overtime … Depends be damned!