(TMI ALERT) I have to pee. Extremely often. Is it a disorder, or is my bladder simply a very high-functioning organ? Unknown. But among my fellow pilgrims on the Camino, I was famous for frequency. Whenever I would step off the trail, someone (usually Frida the Swede) would wave and yell, “Pee is coming!”
So I have a lot of practice in the art of stealth-relief anywhere, anytime. This is what I have learned:
Welcome to the world, graduates! Let me tell you a story.
Cambodia, October 2012. While researching a book, I’d spent all day in a wooden house on stilts overlooking a sea of rice fields and interviewing a woman named Chantha. Late that afternoon, I asked her about restroom possibilities. “You don’t want to go there,” she whispered. The privy was a fetid mudhole, she explained. We sneaked off to an overgrown ditch by an oxcart-rutted dirt track. Problem solved.
That night we slept under a mosquito net in a comparatively upscale, two-story village house. The ground level was part concrete-walled living space, part covered livestock enclosure. I gestured an inquiry to our host about “facilities,” and he gestured toward the back of the house. Getting there required passing between the concrete wall and the back ends of two tied-up oxen — one of which, feeling frolicsome, bucked his legs at the wall.
There was very little space between ox and wall, both of which seemed quite solid. I cowered beneath the man’s house until he found me … [Read the rest here.]