fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, we were allowed to wear dark blue cordoroys under our plaid uniform skirts, so our knees didn't get frostbitten: turn red, then black, the skin eventually ashing away like flecks from a dying log. the exposed bone re-covered in april with skin grafts from a donor's ass. for the entire winter, the hallways of st. pius x were filled with the sound of levi's cordoroy friction, the whoshk-whoshk-whoshk of citizens who read at a fourth-grade level. it's a wonder there weren't more fires. or at least chafing.
on the coldest day in the history of planet earth, minnesota, my bus driver dropped me off a blink under a mile from our house. as the bus drove away, i realized i had a problem. readers, i had to pee. which was the quickest way home? through the back yards grunting like the arctic snow monster from scooby doo season one episode eight? or bumble up these hills like the downward spiral of an anorexic drug addict broken gymnast from an after school special?
back yards. seriously, i had to pee.
twenty minutes later, my legs are so cold they're burning. snot-cicles are stalagtites on my chin. my tear ducts are gurgling with something the consistancy of mr. misty. if i could see through the thin film of ice on my eyeballs, i'd see that my house is just half a block away. i trudge on.
our driveway is about 15 feet long, 60 degree incline. at the top i have to walk over mashed potato-like snow mounds, along the side of the house to the garage door and attempt to open the door while wearing mittens. a hip check to the door, and a reminder to myself to NOT LICK THE METAL DOORKNOB! [again]. in the garage, i have to fumble around for the key we have hidden under the first of the 14-steps up to door.
standing there, staring at the steps, calculating the time it will take to unlock the door, return the key to the bottom of the steps, run back up the steps, get inside, take off my boots, get into the bathroom, shut the door, unbutton my cordoroys ... my bladder gives out. it's like this poor little pink bubble had been holding its breath as long as possible, and now, so close to the bathroom, it just plum gives out.
i stand in the garage, my legs warmed by the outburst, the floor, my shoes, my socks soaked. and while i know at the time that i'm too old to wet my pants, i'm less ashamed than, well, warmed.
two things happened that day: 1) i realized that going to the bathroom when it's cold outside is a good way to warm up; 2) that as long as i told no one about this incident, i could "accidentally" do it again if i had to. since no one ever knew, it was like i had gotten a "get out of jail pee" card.
well, friends. it is supposed to be 60 degrees below zero this weekend. it may be time to cash in a 22-year old voucher i received from a very special little girl.