I hate my car. It’s now 13 years old and in true teenage fashion, is petulant and makes weird noises that I don’t understand. I don’t know sh-t about sh-t so every time something seems wrong I have to contact a new mechanic and try to not vomit-laugh while I describe the problem in 36-year-old frightened woman fashion: “So, when I yard the wheel to the right it makes a high-pitched squeal like a 90’s modem crossed with that noise you make when you jab your cornea with a mascara wand. I googled it and it’s probably the transmission-tron, right?” All the money, they take all the money, and your savings account, once filled with dreams of Miami and a new laptop and every eye cream Sephora sells, is as hollow as your soul. I live in this perpetual state of fear and angst because booting around in the Probable Flat Tire OR Rusted Alternator Derby is still better than the alternative. Mother. F-cking. BC. Transit.
I take the skytrain every weekend with the kid to meet my Mom at our respective halfway point. She gets her granddaughter and I get 24 hours of irresponsible selfish BLISS. For the most part these trips have been uneventful. We take the Canada Line (the newer route/trains they put in for the Olympics), and compared to the overheated claustrophobic squalor that is the Expo Line, it’s practically the Hamptons on a track.
Problem #1 through #forever though is this: there are no toilets in the train or in any of the train stations. I want a tourist to ask me one day about this so I can respond with a straight face, “Oh, haha, yeaaaaah, about that. You’re f-cked. Hop off at Metrotown - Canadian Target probably has new underwear that’s more expensive and less cool than American Target.”
Cue up two weekends ago. The kid was sitting quietly, probably staring at someone I didn’t want her to, when my gut made that “pwowr” noise. You know, the sound they used in the Inception trailer, just more terrifying. The sweat beads formed on my brow as I immediately weighed out my options. Make that option. I was just going to sh-t everywhere and then get off this train.
(image found here)
The minutes ticked off soooo slooowly as I made an iron-clad full-stop United Nations agreement with my stomach: JUST HOLD ON until we get to our stop and the adjacent casino with rows and rows of delightful commodes, and I will NEVER drink black coffee again. Same for hard boiled eggs, forkfuls of tough kale or milk that is even flirting with an expiry date. None of it.
Somehow, some way, I held everything in correctly as we got off the train, tripped down 4 flights of stairs, crossed one road, walked through a lobby, out the other side and onto the sidewalk to find MY MOM WAS NOT THERE YET. Seconds passed. The kid was already traumatized because: there were no down escalators, I didn’t count the stairs properly in sync with her so we had to start over twice, and the rain had stopped so we couldn't open the umbrella. Also, her jacket was hooooot, the sidewalk was diiiiiiirty and her hat was touching her head. PWOWR.
I did the damn thing. Grabbed the soft upper part of her arm and just dragged her across another street, past two startled valets and into the lobby of the casino. She was screaming in a new way, in a new pitch and volume picked up by bat scientists on their audio equipment in South America. She was confused and sad and expressing it in the only way she knew best - with her sh-tty little lungs. Instead of stuffing her under the giant tree in the lobby, I crouched down quickly. I should have said, “Right. Remember how I created you and made it so life was all Pocky and princesses all day everyday until forever? If we don’t HUSTLE, I will give birth to your wretched black spatter of a sibling right in front of this very festive tree. OR we can make it to the potty so I can return it to the fresh hell from whence it came, down in the sewers with the clown from IT (a tv movie that still scares the sh-t out of reasonable adults). Do you UNDERSTAND?”
Instead I sweatily mumbled something about “mommy poo poo fast” then again dangle dragged her to the bathroom. I didn’t care about our volume, appearance, the fact I looked exactly like the FBI’s training video of “a child being kidnapped”; there was stuff in me that wanted out and I could not get this close and let the stuff win.
I made it. She stood shuddering and pink-eyed, watched me almost weeping in relief and pain from one corner of the handicapped stall, my jacket flung in the other corner.
After my body shakily put itself back together, we ventured carefully outside again, making ZERO eye contact with any staff, and she ran into my Mom’s open arms like she’d been water boarded.
I went back to the toilets as a precautionary measure after they’d left, and instinctively went to the same stall, again jacket and purse kicked into the corner. This time I texted some friends who were waiting for me back downtown. A shuffle, some voices, wheels appeared under the door as someone who LEGITIMATELY needed to use this stall appeared with her aide, oh, and they opened the door. The door I didn’t lock correctly. Me, sitting, on my phone in a cloud of HELL, with my stuff everywhere and no blood left in my face. They didn’t laugh when I said I was tweeting about buying Immodium stock.
So, for real, can we get some f-cking bathrooms on/near where millions of full butts traverse every day? What say ye, Transit Claus?
(Until then, a friend of my brother, the intrepid @ScootsMcBoots, has compiled a rough list of bathrooms for the commuters with delicate dispositions. City Centre - Vancouver Centre Public Bathroom - Next to Tim Horton's / Yaletown Roundhouse - Street Level - Opus Hotel / Olympic Village - Not sure / Broadway City Hall - Starbucks on street level across Cambie / King Edward - Nothing / Oakridge - White Spot or further into the mall at the food court / Langara - Nothing / Marine Drive - Nothing / Bridgeport - Casino)
If you have any to add, let me know in the Comments.