We were traveling to visit my sister in Pennsylvania. Chris was 4 and Billy was 2 both securely strapped in their seats in the back of my car. I was driving and Aunt Anna was co-piloting in the front. It was a beautiful day for a drive except our car hadn’t moved for about 20 minutes and there didn’t seem to be any chance things would be changing anytime soon.
For anyone familiar with the Belt Parkway in New York you know that its drawbridge can cause tremendous traffic backups and this was one of those days. We were stuck waiting for the bridge to lift, the ship to sail through, the bridge to be lowered back into place, and the traffic to begin to flow.
This wouldn’t have been a problem except that we had been on the road for over an hour and I had just finished a 2-liter bottle of water. Normally we would have been on the New Jersey Turnpike and the first rest area would have been within my field of vision. But now we were nowhere near any place that I could take care of business.
I tried, really I did, to forget about my situation, but the more I tried to ignore this feeling of fullness the more my brain told me that I had to go.
If I had hit a bump, sneezed, or even began to giggle things would have taken their own course and it would not have been pretty. My back teeth were floating and my bladder was going to explode.
Something had to be done.
I edged the car over to the slow lane, onto the shoulder of the road and then stopped. I walked over to the passenger side of the car, opened both doors, stood between them both, and then prepared myself to relieve the pressure in my kidneys.
Aunt Anna began to laugh. The boys just looked at me with a very inquisitive look on their faces. I began to feel relief and thought that all was once again right with the world.
That’s when I heard it. Thwop, thwop, thwop of helicopter blades.
To my left I saw a low flying police helicopter on the horizon that was heading straight for me. Sweat immediately began to bead on my forehead as this big flying hunk of metal came nearer and would be directly over my car in seconds.
What the heck was I going to do? I mean really? Was I supposed to stop things mid-stream and hope for the best? No! I had to complete the task at hand regardless of the outcome. I turned my head toward the ground and continued to concentrate.
By this time Anna was laughing hysterically and the boys started to ask, “Mommy, what are you doing?”
Ignoring my passengers, I looked left to see the position of the helicopter when I noticed a blue and white car with flashing red lights pulling up the shoulder of the road. Could this really be happening to me? I was going to literally be caught with my pants down and arrested for public indecency!
I struggled to stand up straight and as I was pulling up the zipper of my pants which, of course, got stuck, as the police car drove right past our car. Relief washed over me! I was in the clear!
But as luck would have it, the police car stopped about 500′ in front of my car, the backup lights came on, and in seconds was in line with my car. My zipper struggle continued as I attempted to act as suave as possible. The policeman stepped out of his car, looked over at me, and asked, “Is everything all right here, ma’am?”
Trying to keep my cool and pretending that nothing was out of the ordinary, I calmly said, “Yes, officer everything is fine.” And then I immediately changed the subject and asked, “What’s all this traffic about?”
As he explained about the drawbridge, I thanked him for the information, got back in my car, and vowed never to drink while driving again!