from Nov. 2018
This is a story about frequency. Not the kind measured in Hertz, such as in the frequency of A=440 hz, or the frequency on the radio where you find your local CBC station. It’s not exactly about the other main definition either, which means “rate of occurrence”. It is about Frequency in the medical sense, which means “occurrence of urination”.
Some of you may have already experienced the “joys” of what seems to be a shrinking bladder.
I am a music teacher in a school, so my working day is divided up into little half hour chunks called “periods”. I am also an enthusiast of a beverage called “coffee”. Typically I teach three periods in a row before a break such as recess affords me the opportunity to use the washroom.
I used to be able to work comfortably for an hour and a half without leaving my classroom. Those days are over. About half way through the second period my brain receives the first gentle message from my bladder that I should relieve myself fairly soon. Message noted, but not acted upon because the class can’t be left unattended. Usually as the classes transfer, there is an opportunity to ask the other teacher in charge if they would just take over for a minute.
Sometimes I don’t get to see either the teacher picking kids up, or the one dropping kids off which means I can’t take the time to go and the gentle messages becomes more frequent (pun intended) and increase in intensity like an alarm clock on snooze. No problem. “Mind over matter” right? A little discomfort is no big deal, I know that I will be able to go at the bell.
Things don’t always work out smoothly though, because there is only one male staff washroom in our school and there are several men on staff whose breaks coincide. My colleague has a class that faces the washroom and she remarked yesterday how she loves to see my reaction to whether the door is locked or unlocked. I guess you could say we get our pleasures where we can.
Outside of school I have to gauge things accordingly. A two hour trip to Ottawa requires a pit stop about half way. I am now in the habit of going before going anywhere.
Yesterday I left work in a hurry because we had a staff meeting that went long and I was left with exactly 25 minutes to drive the 25 minutes it takes to get to a private student’s home to give him a lesson. I tried the handle on the washroom….locked…. I hadn’t received the message yet, so I just drove off in order to make my lesson on time.
The music lesson was fine and we actually lost track of the time. I love teaching the theory behind chordal choices and their practical application to the guitar.
As I was leaving his home the small message from my bladder came in. It is sort of a half hour warning. I took note, and drove the 15 minutes from the Plateau to downtown to meet friends and watch my daughter perform in a jazz club. Did not factor in parking…..oy! The streets around the club were all under construction and almost all of the spaces were not open for parking. I knew that in 15 minutes the bus lane on the boulevard at the foot of the street would close and I would be able to park there. My alarms were coming more frequently by this time. I felt like an expectant mother might when the contractions are 5 minutes apart and the hospital is not in sight. If I parked before 6:30 the meters would not work, so I had to wait.
When 6:30 finally dragged along, I went to use the meter which wanted $7.50 to legally park until 9. I had $4 in coins, so I tried my credit card. Put it in wrong…..re-set…tried the other way….put it in wrong in the dark again(like a teen-ager trying sex for the first time…lol). I switched to coins figuring I could come back later and feed the difference.
As I fed the first coin into the meter I received a very strong message to pee NOW!!!! I put another coin in which the machine rejected. Had to think fast….what to do? I opened the car door to see if there was any loose change on the floor (there was a two dollar coin!) and I realized that if I did not do something immediately I would pee my pants for the first time since I was a little boy and would have to miss my daughter’s show.
It was already dark and there were no pedestrians, so I opened the rear door on the passenger side and retrieved a paper coffee cup from the floor and, hidden from view between the two doors, I opened my fly and let loose into the cup. As I was peeing, I had the fear that perhaps the cup would not hold what I had to offer. It felt like I was expelling an ocean, no need to worry…it was more like a kiddie pool….. and the cup was a “Venti”
The desire to avoid wet pants and to alleviate the discomfort overrode the inhibition of being exposed in a place where I knew I shouldn’t be urinating. I was discrete and undiscovered, so I guess it was a success. I disposed of the cup and it’s contents in the proper manner and went on with the evening. Close call.
As I relievedly walked towards the club, the words of my mother demanding that I “go to the bathroom before going out” were echoing in my head as were the thousands of times I had implored my own children to do the same.
Perhaps this was my mum’s posthumous way of saying “I told you so!”
One thought on “Frequency”
Dang, what a drag! I can relate to the problem, if only second-hand, since John has this too (as he mentioned on your FB post). Your last paragraph made me chuckle, as my late mom did the same. “Do you have to go?” Or her favourite euphemism, “Do you have to go places?” She’d even ask my dad, whom she always called “Dear,” “Dear, before we leave, do you have to go places?”
I think it was only when I became an adult that I realized this expression wasn’t used by everyone – just her, apparently!