I think I was 16. Maybe 15. I was old enough, let's just say that. It was the 90s. Late March. My uncle had decided to take me and my cousin skiing. We left on the morning that a snow storm had begun blanketing the South with what ended up being an accumulation of nearly 4 feet of snow in a region of the United States that had barely seen 4 feet of snow in the last 10 years. My uncle was determined, however, and careful, and driving a Subaru. Everything was going to be fine, he said.
We drove through KFC on the way. I ate the way a 15 year-old - maybe 16 - would eat KFC. Because of the snow and wind and treacherous curving roads, what would normally be a 4 hour drive turned into an 8 hour drive—approximately 3 hours longer than the KFC took to turn my belly into a mess of murk and cramping shit-pain.
I sat in the back seat, carefully eying mile markers as we inched closer and closer to our destination, sweat covering my face and back, the world outside a swirl of white, my world inside a swirl of brown and muck.
As will happen when you are counting the down the moments until you can rip your pants off and destroy the planet, the closer we got, the worse I felt. By the time we had parked and begun unloading gear I'd morphed from a 15 year-old boy into a kind of zombie whose only need was, rather than brains, a toilet.
I was too proud, however, to just simply run for the restroom. I was 15, maybe 16, and so needed more than anything, however briefly, to act as though nothing was wrong. We stood in the parking lot, unloading our gear, trading our shoes for ski boots, gathering poles, skis, and just as I managed to slide my feet into their boots the shit had chosen to begin sliding out of my ass. I turned and ran.
If you have ever sprinted through a parking lot covered in snow wearing a ski bib and ski boots, you would know, as I do, that you should not be doing that.
I made my maddeningly waddling way into the bathroom, locked myself into a stall, carefully took my ski bib down and checked myself. I count myself as blessed that I'd not yet begun wearing boxers with any kind of frequency. I'll spare you the details; suffice to say, I had to carefully rip my underwear off of my body, discreetly dispose of the offensive undergarments in the trash, discreetly wet a paper towel with a bit of soap, sneak back into a stall, discreetly wash myself, and then pretend as if nothing mind-blowingy embarrassing had never happened in the presence of several strangers.
My uncle was upset with me, but I laughingly told him that I really needed to go to the bathroom, and soon we were skiing in the most wonderful snow I've ever been in. It was a magical night.
I mention this because I'm going on the Weezer Cruise tomorrow, and as luck would have it, the South is about to be blanketed in snow and ice. My flight is almost certainly to be canceled, and so my wife and I, along with our friend who is coming with us, have decided to make the drive from NC to Florida, as much ahead of the storm as is possible. It will, undoubtedly, be a treacherous drive. We will not, however, be stopping at KFC on the way.
Wish us, and my bowels, luck.