Since I brought along my sub-zero sleeping bag, I didn’t think sleeping in a hotel without heat would be a big deal. But when I noticed the thick blankets the hotel provided, I was a little concerned. And boy did it got cold. Wicked cold. So cold that when I finally stopped shivering in my cocoon I didn’t want to get out for anything. Not even to take a leak. Which became a problem.
For a while the pressure building in my bladder was manageable and I could fall back asleep. But it didn’t take long for the evening tea to start winning the battle. Things were made worse by the noise from people outside. And once they stirred me awake, there was no going back to sleep. Just outside my door at least five nocturnal travelers paused conversation only to hit the hash pipe. I could hear the shuffle of a baggie, a light tapping on the bowl, the flick of a lighter, a slow inhale, an exaggerated hold, and then finally the release that made everyone crack up. I could smell the smoke as it crept under my door.
I felt old. It wasn’t that late, maybe 10:00pm, and yet here I was in bed while the cool kids were still up partying. Not long ago I’d have joined them. So when did I turn into a fuddy-duddy? Shit, did I just type fuddy-duddy? Apparently the worst has happened. Yep, I’m a middle aged man doing my best to exist in some grey area between fun and practical. And to make matters worse, I had to piss. Like, real, super bad. But I couldn’t imagine exiting my room to interrupt the party just because I had to use the WC. What an old dude thing to do—stepping out in my pjs to take a pee. But each second I waited, things got worse.
I considered the empty water bottle sitting on the windowsill. Its half-liter of empty space beckoning. Then I thought better of it. No way. I’m too civilized for that. But really now, am I? As minutes passed my discomfort increased. Yet still I wouldn’t bring myself face-to-face with the hash-grunters in the common area. I didn’t want to be that token old guy, a square no less, in this hip, hash hotel. The prospect of relief sat on the sill and grew more and more attractive. Finally, I unzipped my bag and crawled out. I shook off the immediate chill, tiptoed to the window and unscrewed the cap off the plastic bottle.
I fiddled with my layers, exposed myself, and strategized both penis placement and angle so I wouldn’t miss. I knew that once I started there would be no stopping. When the grunters laughed I was sure they knew what I was up to. But at this point I didn’t care. I was too close. I took one final look at the cold tip of my junk and pressed it against the mouth of the bottle. Then I let loose. I wanted to moan and make all the noises old men make while coaxing piss from their bodies in public bathrooms. I wanted to express my sincere joy for the ensuing sensation of relief. But I needed to stay focused. Just one wrong move and I’d miss the target.
I started to panic when it became apparent that my bladder’s capacity was more than the bottle’s capacity. Stopping mid-stream was unthinkable, and the full moon through my drapes shone a warning light on the rapidly filling half-liter. I took and deep breath and did my best to hit the brakes. I slowed it to a trickle, then gradually to a complete stop. I still had to go, so I had to think fast about plan B.
The window looked promising. And since I’d already broken a thousand unwritten rules by pissing in a hotel room, I figured what the hell. What happens in Chefchaouen, stays in Chefchaouen. I carefully toted the bottle to the window, cracked it open, then poured the contents down the face of the ancient medina wall. I know, I know! But dammit, I was desperate!
I finished urinating nearly another quarter-liter which both mortified and impressed me, then gave a little shake just in case. Not wanting to add insult to injury, I screwed the cap on the warm bottle and set it on the sill to deal with in the morning. Then I went back to bed and quickly warmed up. Funny how much body heat is wasted on holding back the body’s natural processes.
And though the hashers outside kept up their racket for a while, I wasn’t bothered by them any more. I chided myself a little for not having left the room to use the public toilet. What was the big deal, anyhow? I couldn’t believe my rationale and laughed out loud. The last thought I had before falling asleep was about drinking water. If I happened to get thirsty during the night, I needed to remember that the unopened bottle was in my pack. I didn’t want to mistake it for the one on the sill.