Most of what follows, unfortunately, happened.
Date: The day I learned a valuable lesson.
Venue: A bush outside a university club.
Crowd: A guitarist and a police officer.
It’s half past midnight and I’m peeing in a bush outside a university club.
I wish I could say this is the first time. But being in possession of the smallest bladder in the punk community has its drawbacks, not least of which means forcing your driver to stop frequently in lieu of urinating into some food or drink receptacle (both of which have happened, but they’re stories for another day). Anyway, bottom line, I’m peeing in a bush and in the process trying desperately to keep my shoulder bag out of the line of fire.
After completing my mission with zero bag casualties, I rush back to the car. There are a few frantic moments of bag wrestling before taking my seat next to Ritchie, my band brother and perennial driver for our out of town excursions.
“Why didn’t you just use the toilet in the venue?” Ritchie huffs, the way any helpful brother would, before pulling away.
“I went just before we left. If I go straight back in they’re gonna think I’m some kind of deviant.” I argue as we stop at a red light about 50 metres from the freshly watered bush.
Ritchie mutters something about doing what normal people do and holding it till they’re home, but I don’t listen with any real sense of enthusiasm. At this point we’ve been in a band together for over 3 years and he is well aware my bladder is like a Lidl carrier bag. It holds a lot, but not for very long.
A police car pulls alongside us and for a briefly entertaining moment, my brain weighs up how funny it would be if they saw me peeing. And how being arrested for public urination might one day might make a great story. And how come to think of it, I might really suit a tear drop tattoo. And whether or not you can pick your prison number and if so, whether I’d choose 55-46 or 80085.
Which is when one of the Officers motions for me to wind down my window.
I immediately and unreservedly yell at Ritchie to drive! I don’t want to go to jail. It dawns on me that a tear drop tattoo would really upset my mum.
Ritchie rather reasonably points out that jumping a red light next to a police car is generally frowned upon. Furthermore, his reply is punctuated by the foreboding buzz of the passenger side electric window as he prepares to open a dialogue.
After weighing up my options, I narrow them down to two. 1) Turn invisible. 2) Blame everything on Ritchie.
The Officer opens his mouth to speak, and without any semblance of self control, I projectile vomit excuses in his general direction. “I can explain. We’ve just played a gig and we’re about to drive home which is a really long way and we’re in a rush and I’m really sorry and I’ll never do it again!”
The light turns green.
“There’s a bag on your roof.” The Officer states plainly. The police car pulls away at a speed I can only describe as ‘judgemental’.
I sheepishly retrieve my bag and return to my seat in silence. Ritchie, to his infinite credit, says nothing.
I realise I need the toilet.
I hold it.
Photo by West Midlands Police via Flickr.