I regularly troll Flash Fiction Friday. I often read the stories and sometimes feel inspired to attempt a story of my own. This is one of those attempts.
Prompt: Give us a peek into the life of someone with a form of OCD and tell us how it plays into an event in their life.
Word Limit: 1,500 words.
My bladder didn’t actually rupture. That doesn’t happen no matter how much it feels like it might, at least not unless have a history of alcohol or ketamine abuse. When the pressure in the bladder becomes too much there are only two things that can happen. The first is that you wet yourself and have to live with the stigma of being pointed and laughed at for the rest of your life. I’d been there and it wasn’t somewhere I was particularly willing to revisit. That brings us on to the other possible outcome. The kidney suddenly gets swamped with liquids from the wrong direction and realizing that this is not a good thing shuts down. You probably don’t need me to tell you that this is a very bad thing. The problem for me though is that making a mess out of my clothes is to my mind a worse outcome that a failure of an internal organ. I know it is not normal, I understand that I have issues. I’m still right though, and when you finish reading how I got to this point I am sure you will agree with me.
It all started with a train journey to see an old friend. I don’t like public transport at the best of times but this was a day leading up to the holiday season. This day like so many others there were delays. Except these delays got a lot worse when somebody prised the door open and went for a walk on the track. Walking on the same line as the train we were on might have served him better. Clearing that mess up took hours as we were nowhere near a station and the police had to interview the passengers that saw him force his way off of the train. Stuck on a train for four hours is a challenge to most bladders. The toilet in our carriage was not in use. I and many of my fellow passengers were beyond stressed out by this situation.
As we eventually pulled in to the next station there was of course a mass exodus from the train heading directly towards the toilets. The queue for the cubicles was at least fifty strong but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to maintain proper urinal etiquette with so many many there. What is urinal etiquette? Don’t laugh there is such a thing. For most people it is rooted in the idea that there are spaces of male fear. The ethnography of fear is quite clear. Even the most dominant and aggressive alpha male will feel a twang of anxiety when approaching a urinal. How a man stands, how where he looks, if he acknowledges other men, or even the way he holds his mighty wand of magnificence can have an impact of every other male at or approaching the urinals. Then there is the question of which urinal can be approached. I have spent many a sleepless night going through all the possible permutations that can arise in a place like a motorway service station but for now I’ll just deal with the two basic principles. If you have two urinals then one is effectively a spare and can only be approached as the gentleman at the other one starts his regulation three shakes. If there are three urinals there are two possible scenarios. The standard approach is for the first person to use the urinal at one end. This enables a second person to use the far urinal. If however the first person selfishly uses the middle urinal then he is likely to be bumped in to as he walks away by the next two people waiting. I’m sure you can see how this scales out and can play out around corners and a large number of urinals.
That’s how a normal mind considers these things. I see them in pretty much the same way. The difference being that in times of difficulty such as a large group of people deprived of toiletry facilities for several hours most people are able to suspend their normal behaviour in favour of a more pragmatic approach. That isn’t an option for me as I stood in a barely moving line for the two available cubicles. I stared in horror as I watched person after person fail to wash their hands and then handle the door leading back to the platform. I read somewhere that the average half full bowl of bar nuts contains the urine of thirty five people. That door must have eclipsed that in the first ten minutes I was standing there. After standing there and waiting for what seemed like an eternity I suddenly felt that I could wait no longer. My brother would have just whipped out his todger and let let in to the sink at this point but that would not be very sanitary and I could not bear to even consider that other than as a passing flight of fancy. I was made of sterner stuff and had bladder control of a bronze statue. At some point whilst I was edging forward and gradually feeling more and more unsteady on my feet I felt a strange sensation and a blinding flash of pain behind my eyes.
I woke up four weeks later after a total organ failure, after nine months I am still not eating solid foods yet. My brother asked me if I’d use the urinal if I got in to that situation again. I laughed and shook my head. How could I answer otherwise? It isn’t as if I’d have any choice. Next time I go visiting friends I’ll be taking the car.