Jan 31, 2011

Of Trains, Sagebrush, and the Call of Nature

by Kristin Baker Przybyla

Please excuse my lateness in posting this; my computer was being stupid this morning.

Because this is a true Garfield Monday where enough stuff has gone wrong to require a good laugh (and maybe some chocolate), I just want to tell a story for my blog post today. A true story. A story that probably should not reach the eyes and ears of anyone other than close family and friends, but one I feel compelled to relate nevertheless--because I tell stories to entertain.

A few years ago, I was hiking with my family near the river. Now, my bladder doesn't gently warn me over a period of time that I might want to consider visiting the restroom. What generally happens is that I'm going about my business, and as soon as I'm nowhere near a restroom or port-a-potty, that pesky little organ starts screaming, "I gotta go NOW! You'd better find a place to go immediately, or I'll take care of business for you!!"

So as you can guess, it wasn't long before nature called, and out in the wilderness there wasn't an outhouse or port-a-gross in sight. But my oh-so-empathetic family weren't ready to leave yet. I told them to go on and head up the river bank--way up the riverbank, since there were no trees here, only a bunch of scrubby sagebrush and smallish rocks. (I wouldn't have cared so much about modesty if it were just my husband and kids, but extended family had also come along on this particular excursion. Because I was so mortified, I'd already held it so long that I was becoming physically ill.)

As soon as I couldn't see them anymore, I started looking around for decent cover. There wasn't any. Up the hill above me was the road, which wasn't very busy, but not deserted either. Below was the river, and the train tracks. I deliberated for a moment on the riskier side of exposure. Either way, I'd be offering someone a view of something other than acres of sagebrush.

"What are the odds of a train coming along right now as I'm taking care of nature?" I thought. "Besides, trains are loud. I'd hear one coming a mile away."

I listened for a minute and heard nothing but the quiet rush of water several yards below. I decided it was much safer to moon the deserted tracks. Besides, I couldn't spare another minute for internal debate; I'd already reached full capacity and was crossing over to emergency status.

So I scurried over to the biggest clump of sagebrush I could find, positioned myself so I was hidden from the highway above (but faced the road just in case), undid my jeans, and took care of business (please don't ask me about toilet paper; when you're that desperate to go, you don't think of these little trifles until afterward).

Well! I'm sure most of you have an idea of what's coming. That's right, the quietest train in the world just happened to sneak up on me while I was so indisposed. I was about halfway done, when I heard a soft noise behind me, like metal roller skates. I turned my head, and saw that there was indeed a freaking train not ten yards away from my open toilet! And not just any train. An Amtrak, no doubt full of passengers all staring out the windows to look at our beautiful Nevada scenery.

I couldn't jump up and hide myself, because anyone who's a girl knows that once you've started, you have to finish the job (my husband thinks that's weird; I guess the same "gift" doesn't extend to men). I only had time to register this horrible fact, when the conductor blasted his whistle. I SEE YOUUU. I imagined him getting on his intercom to tell all the passengers to look out the left side of the train.

When I caught up with my family five minutes later, red-faced and slightly hysterical, I asked them if they'd heard the train's whistle. When they affirmed they had, I told them what the conductor had whistled at. This didn't lead to expressions of sympathy and pity, as I'd hoped. No, upon hearing this delightful revelation, half of them immediately dropped to the ground and started rolling around in uncontrollable laughter. I hoped they got sagebrush and stickers in their pants.

So what kind of lesson could I have learned from this experience? I hope some of you can come up with some creative ones. What I learned was that the most obvious choice isn't always the best. I probably would have mooned far fewer people if I'd chosen to face the highway instead of the train tracks. Hindsight is not a kind teacher--especially when it results in someone sighting your hind.


  1. Only you. LOL. Great story. I will have to think of one. I know one right off the top of my head but it is gross. Why do most embarassing stories involve bodily functions?

  2. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha! Sorry. I'm too busy laughing to offer you insight.:-D

  3. What Monique said. Hahahahahahahaha!

  4. Heeheehee..I'm laughing so hard, now I have to, well, you know. Remind me to read your posts before I drink a half gallon of water! Great story, Kristin.

  5. Yeah, most of my embarrassing moments involve partial nudity. Anyone who didn't know me would think I was an exhibitionist! I once had a fortune cookie that said, "You have a tendency to be shy when undressing outdoors." I wish it had warned me about relieving myself outdoors--especially near the train tracks!

  6. Oh Kristin I'm rolling in sympathy. Just ask me sometime about "yellow" snow and spooky ole woods, snakes and my family's fav Christmas Tree experince...and you'll know I'm laughing with you not at you.

  7. My favorite sentence is the very last one. Thanks for letting us enjoy your most embarrassing moment!

  8. I loved the story because I can so relate; and, you told it so well.

  9. Laughing as usual, Kristin. Love your posts.


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