Realizing You Need to Use the Toilet on the Bus: The Five Stage of Grief

stool bus

By Eddie Small

Denial: OK, let’s calm down. There is no way I have to go again. I went, like, 18 times at home right before I left precisely to avoid this scenario, so this feeling will pass quickly enough. It’s probably just one of those psychosomatic things, right? Like, I’m so afraid of having to use the bathroom on this bus that my brain is making me feel like I have to use it, even though I don’t. I’m pretty sure I remember Professor Jacobson saying something about that in my Intro to Psych class, and she was really smart, I assume. So let’s just calm down, maybe have some more water, and see if you can contort yourself into a semi-comfortable sleeping position. We’re only, like, four hours away from Boston, so this will all be over soon regardless. Not that it really matters how far away we are because, like I said, I don’t have to go.

Anger: You’ve got to be kidding me. I thought this type of frequent urination wasn’t supposed to happen until I was in my 70s! And at least then I could just use Depends, and there wouldn’t be too much of a stigma around it. And we’re still three hours and 45 minutes away from Boston? Who designed the road system between these two cities? Because this whole situation is really their fault. God, I hate my body, I hate this bus, I hate the urinary system, I hate not making enough money to just buy a train ticket, and I hate that one article on the Internet I sort of skimmed a few years ago that said holding it in leads to cancer or Ebola or something like that. There is no justice in this world. God is dead.

Bargaining: You know, maybe the bathroom on this bus isn’t actually that bad. I mean, I paid $12 for my ticket, and I’d assume big money like that would guarantee at least some level of quality. Plus, remember that one time in college when I took the bus from Philly to D.C., and I used the bathroom, and it actually wasn’t that bad? Or, wait, was that the toilet in the Wendy’s we stopped at on the way down? Either way, it was nicer than it had any right to be. And it was probably the toilet on the bus, right? Yeah, let’s just say it was. Plus, we’re only, like, three hours and 42 minutes away from Boston at this point, and I’m sure I can hold it in for that long. I just need a little willpower! A little moxie, a little spunk, a little oh, God, I can smell it from here.

Depression: This is just going to happen, isn’t it? I’m going to walk into that cesspool of filth, sadness and despair and take out my genitalia and use the toilet because the only other option is to piss myself, and that would make it much harder to strike up a conversation with this cute girl sitting next to me. Oh well. Maybe a cesspool of filth, sadness and despair is where I belong, considering I can’t even seem to control my own bladder. I should probably just go in there and never come out, or at least wait until everyone else on the bus has died. But seriously, life is meaningless, and all that has ever lived will eventually turn into dust.

Acceptance: OK, I’m going to do it. I’m walking there now. It smells bad, but that’s ok. I will still get through this. I’m inside. It smells worse. Much worse. But it’s ok because I’m still alive. So let’s just take care of business and…wait, did we just stop? Why did we stop if we’re still more than three hours away from Boston? Are we…oh, come on, we’re at a Wendy’s. I hate everyone.

Eddie Small is a seasoned bus traveler. He always tells himself he’ll take the train next time, but that has yet to happen. Follow him on Twitter: @Eddie_Small

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