We left at about 6am on Wednesday, having decided (a long and drawn out process of diplomacy and counter-psychology) to drive the van to Brisbane and leave it in the capacious backyard of M’s niece. We were unsure how long it would take to get to the capital of Queensland, because we have driven there only twice before – once we took a Calais with cruise control, and the other time we took the Humber and had a 25km detour crawling at about 11kmph because of a bushfire. Our van sits on 90kmph – so we were a little edgy about the timeframe as I had to catch a plane at 10.45am. So M (who had not begun packing or finished burglar proofing until after midnight) needed a coffee just after we cleared the wondrous town that is Gympie. We stopped at an unusually cool cafe and the woman who was serving reassured us that we would make it in time – particularly as we wouldn’t have to go through the city to get to the airport. So, clutching our takeaway coffee (M) and tea (me) we jumped back in the van – it was my turn to drive, because M, for obvious reasons, was now sleepy.
I drove and drove. It was a beautiful sunlit morning which got colder and colder as we drove further away from the coast. After another hour it seemed like we were making good time. This was when M decided that he really needed to wee. Of course we were on a particular stretch of the highway where there were no rest stops, or even places to pull over. Being male, M was unable to hold on very long and was becoming agitated. (My theory on men having no full bladder stamina hinges on the fact that they can usually whip it out and empty themselves without most people being the wiser. Vast amounts of people probably think that men just like standing near trees while looking meditative, but I digress.) Finally my time for revenge was nigh.
Many, many, many…oh, I will just distill it and say COUNTLESS times when I have been rather desperate for the loo, M has tortured me; waxing lyrical about the sound of rain on a tin roof, mountain streams, leaky taps, and pretty much anything else that may, in some manner, bring the sound of running water to my already tortured mind. Now it was my turn – the difference was, I began with subtlety.
“M, can you pass me the water bottle?”
My eyes were on the road, both hands on the wheel. M, suspecting nothing, handed me the bottle of water.
“Hmm,” I mused, checking that the top was on tightly. “Listen to this.” I shook it, and the contents slushed around delightfully.
M looked extremely pained. “Stop it, stop it. I really Need to Wee.”
I laughed evilly, while still looking at the road.
“No, I think you should really listen to this. The sound of All That Liquid. I suppose if you think about it, this bottle is really like a bladder, isn’t it? Fully of sloshy water….”
I shook it again. M moaned softly.
“Don’t, don’t. I really have to go.”
I was unsympathetic. “Do it out the window.”
“Noooo. It might splash back on me.”
“Yes, and you might get arrested for exposing yourself. Oooh! Look over there – isn’t that a beautiful lake!”
His eyes began to cross.
I continued. “I’ve been thinking about the plumbing at home. You know how our cistern keeps filling up to much and all that water is wasted as it drips through the overflow pipe…drip drip drip… We should really have a look at that when we get back. Turning the water off at the tap is just a pain.”
M’s jaw was clenched.
I kept pushing. “It was lovely walking on the beach yesterday. The waves, splashing down on to the shore – it was such a nice time. And that big boat we went and checked out – that was great!”
M began to giggle, and flinched. “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me. I was feeling very bad about all those times I’ve done it to you, but I thought that you would be above this kind of behaviour.”
I smirked. Shook the bottle.
“OK,” said M undoing his seatbelt, “I. Have. To. Wee.”
I shook my head. “We’re not stopping unless we see a rest stop. I’ll miss the plane!”
M looked at the bottle. I looked at M.
“You could wee in the bottle you know. That’s what private investigators have to do when they’re on surveillance.”
M brightened. “Really?”
He wound down his window, and I got to watch him try not to listen to the water as he shook it out of the bottle on to the road. Then he and the bottle disappeared over the seat into the back of the van. I got the giggles. There was the brief noise of a zipper, and I risked a quick glance behind me. Unfortunately, all I could see was the bottle slowly filling and M’s shoulders shaking with mirth as he tried to aim straight.
“Look at the road, eyes on the road!” he shrieked, as the van veered to the left.
I drove on. A very relieved M clambered over into the front seat a few minutes later, leaving a tightly stoppered bottle to slosh around in the back.
I made the plane on time.