Category Archives: Privilegemobile

Privilegemobile 3: The Turtling

The third and final (maybe) entry in the Privilegemobile (again, maybe) trilogy is going to be a prequel of sorts. It won’t offer any background or explanation for the other posts, but it does precede them chronologically so I suppose it qualifies.

It is also installment number three yet it deals with number two and takes place on July 1. Don’t worry though. I don’t think you’ll find this piece confusing. Disgusting, perhaps, but confusing, no.

All shit great and small (and the one I took that morning was certainly great) comes from a meal and it is the type of meal that determines its density and destiny. So here’s the thing: I cannot for the life of me remember what I had for dinner the night of June 30. Later events would indicate that it was a sizable meal, but with little evidence as to its exact contents. I think I ate either pizza or a cheeseburger and fries. Either would prove consistent with, well, the consistency.

I think the reason I’ve forgotten about the dinner is that it had no immediate effect other than putting me in a much-needed food coma. It had been a tiring week so I was more than happy to crash early and  sleep like, well, a log.

At this point, you are probably at or reaching the conclusion that I have an obsession with feces. While there is some merit to this claim, I cannot say that it is entirely true at all times as I am about to point out.

For most of my morning commute on July 1, the subject of poo was the furthest thing from my mind. It was a lovely bus ride down the peninsula. Traffic was light so there were no sudden slowdowns to reel my mind back from where it had gone on walkabout. The earbuds were in and one of my favorite albums, the Minutemen’s “Double Nickels on the Dime,” was playing at a comfortably high volume. The word “shit” was in the lyrics fairly often (more so than in, say, Barry Manilow songs), but it was mostly used figuratively. Defecation, particularly mine, was a topic I blissfully and uncounsciously ignored.

That all changed at some point after the bus exited the freeway and I was a couple of miles away from my stop. Do you know how you kind of have to go to the bathroom and you decide not to worry about it until the situation gets more urgent? This was not one of those times. I went from not having to go at all to going into ass labor within a blink of an eye. A brown eye.

To make matters worse, I also had intestinal gas so it didn’t feel like I was going to make it for the rest of the trip. If all this happened twenty minutes ago, it wouldn’t be a problem. The bus has a lavatory so all I would have to do is go in there, drop the bomb, and spend the rest of the commute in comfort.

I needed to relieve the pressure and do so quickly. If the poop is solid, farting is reasonably safe.  Diarrhea yields a different result. Lucky for me, I am in tune with my body in that I I can tell with near-perfect accuracy if a bowel movement is solid or liquid while it is still inside of me.  . This is a valuable skill to have when your only options are to cut the cheese or explode. So cut the cheese I did and it was a big one that provided me a wonderful if temporary respite from the peristalsis juggernaut.

You may be wondering if I have any moral qualms or shame when it comes to public flatulence. Like most people, it’s only problematic for me if I get caught. Humans, unlike some other animal species, have no directional sense of smell. Ergo, post-fartem plausible deniability is pretty easy to maintain as long as you’re not giggling or asking for a high five.

People do however possess a directional sense of hearing and with my earbuds in and loud music playing, I had no idea how loud the fart was. Maybe no one heard me . The nearest other passenger was two seats ahead and maybe my wind was less of a thundering trumpet than it felt like coming out. Maybe the it was indistinguishable from the sound of the bus. Or maybe the guy was hard of hearing. He wasn’t wearing a hearing aid that I could see, but maybe he needed to.

He got off the stop before mine. I didn’t see any dirty looks from him as he walked by, but I really wasn’t paying attention. The relief my flatulence had gotten me was short lived and my attention was focused on getting ready to exit the bus pronto and make a bee line for the nearest restroom.

Fortunately, the only other person getting of at that stop was sitting way up at the front and she was out the door fast enough to not impede me. I even managed to grunt my pro-forma thank you to the driver, exhibiting some of that grace under pressure that Hemingway had such a hard-on for.

On the way to the building, the situation was now desperate. I felt like I was turtling mighty Gamera himself.  I decided not to try to get to the third floor where I worked. There was a single-occupancy shitter through a door in the lobby. If it was occupied, I didn’t know what I would. Shit, both figurative and literal, had just gotten real.

Luck was with me and the restroom was empty. I was inside, pants down, and on the pot in nothing flat. Then came the closest thing to childbirth I shall ever experience. One could even call it more of a burdensome ordeal because in my case, abortion was never an option.

After several minutes of straining, huffing, and puffing, the deed was done. Like a mother of a newborn, I looked upon my creation with awe. Like the mother of a newborn on prom night, I wanted nothing to do with it.

I flushed the toilet and it was gone, most of it anyway. Despite the industrial-strength toilet common to office building, some of it remained stuck to the porcelain. If I left it there for others to enjoy,  perhaps it could be called “skiddie porn.” The thought of that made me smile and I flushed again, then walked away leaving no trace of my handiwork.

Privilegemobile 2: Crisis Pitched Underhand

My alarm goes off at 5:45 in the morning. It doesn’t play music, ocean waves crashing, or anything else soothing to ease me into the land of the wakeful. Instead, it delivers blaring beeps that is every bit as unpleasant as I am at that time of day.

After I turn the thing off, it is aother five to ten minutes before I actually get out of bed. I spend this time doing nothing terribly productive. Memories of recent dreams fade from my mind. I grumble about the early hour with Rebecca, who is even less of a morning person than I am.

This may not be the most efficient routine, but it works well enough. And as much as I like to tell myself what a free spirit I am, routines are a comfort to me. Maybe that’s a symptom of getting older. Or perhaps I associate it with the domesticity I’ve embraced now that I’m happily cohabitating. Or both. I don’t know.

At any rate, the routine was interrrupted this morning by an overlooked detail.

I work for a consulting company and one my most important  job duties (other than keeping the client happy) is dutifully filling out my weekly timesheet.  No timesheet means no billable hours, which means no money from the client. I can see why it’s considered a big deal.

Recently, my employers began a new fiscal year and now have similar, but wholly different, billing codes for all their accounts and projects. I got the new code for my work and assumed that was the end of that. I was wrong. It turns out the for public holidays changed as well and I used last year’s code for the Fourth of July, probably because I hate freedom.

Fortunately, such an error is fixable. I just had to call the time-and-attendance office on the east coast and have them reopen the timesheet for me. This I did at six a.m. after getting out of the shower, which eliminated this morning’s slow-rising ritual.

Everything went fine until I was just about ready to go and could not find my phone. This was odd considering I had just made a call with it just a few minutes before. Then again, most of what I did over the past 20 minutes or so was done on autopilot. Maybe that’s another reason to like routines. Doing the same thing you always do has its advantages when you’re not paying attention.

I traced what I thought were my steps after submitting the new timesheet. Then retraced them again and again. This went on increasing anxiety for another ten minutes until I found that I put my phone in my backpack because of course I did.

With all the time wasted, I barely made it to the bus on time. Well, “barely” ay not be the right word since I was still able to stop at Muddy’s for my coffee and bagel. I was however in too much of a rush to sit and eat the bagel there, and that has to count for something.

I got on the bus and took my usual seat way in the back and on the right side away from the rising sun. There I put in my  earbuds and turned up the music loud enough  to cause permanent hearing damage if I didn’t already have that. A silly punk rock song spirited me away before I had a chance to think about how I’d hold up if I ever faced any real adversity.

Life Aboard the Privilegemobile

There is a stretch of northbound 101 during the morning commute where the traffic slows to a crawl. It sits between Redwood City and Bair Island, wetlands protected by law against encroaching real-estate development. It would be nice to think that the drivers are nature lovers who slow down to look at the ducks, but the reality is due to backed-up traffic from the San Mateo Bridge exit about five miles up ahead.

The slowing of the bus snaps me back from wherever my mind had wandered during the last half hour or so. I find myself paying attention even though I don’t have to. There is a driver for that and he is good at his job. He might be a generally good person as well, or perhaps he is a vile brute with a nightly ritual of chugging Jack Daniels and beating his wife and kids. I really have no idea and as long as he’s not violent behind the wheel, I don’t much care.