Parking in the populated regions of the PNW is a nightmare. Actually, I’ll retract that statement and replace it with, parking within 50 miles of your 5 a.m. delivery inside most of the city limits is a nightmare. You can plan all you want, I really don’t want to hear it about the planning any more – the fact is, there are more trucks than spaces and you can plan until your underwear falls off and it doesn’t make for more parking spaces.
It was not the lack of planning that required us to park for the night on the periphery of the delivery lot in Tacoma, Wash., it was the lack of available spaces. George knew we would have trouble, so he called ahead and got permission to park on a strip of asphalt about 12 feet wide, between the gated yard and the road. We were lucky to get the spot we did — it was relatively safe and at least had the benefit of lighting from inside the gates we were parked outside of. It did not, however, include toilet facilities.
Because we knew ahead of time we weren’t going to have a toilet all night, we stopped and ate dinner, used the restroom, and did all the things we needed running water to do. He got parked and all snug beside the delivery, even got a couple of channels on the television. We had been relaxing approximately 4.2 seconds when the active yogurt cultures I made a point to eat with my healthy dinner of raw spinach and lean ham on flat bread decided to become extremely active. So active, in fact, they caused the spinach to mutiny and seek an immediate way out of my body.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“My tummy doesn’t feel so great.”
“Aw babe, really?! I asked you if you had to go when we stopped.”
“I didn’t have to go then. I think it’s the yogurt. Really, I’ve got to go.”
“There’s a grocery store about a quarter of a mile away – can we walk, or do you need me to drive you?”
I already felt bad for making him get up. I didn’t want him to have to re-position the truck on the teeny side street, so I mustered up the courage to walk a quarter mile to the nearest restroom.
“I can do it. I’m good. Let’s walk.”
I would like to state unequivocally that it was the longest quarter mile of my entire existence. Not only was I convinced that every car passing was full of hoodlums heading to our truck to bust the windows out and steal our entire livelihood, I was fairly certain I might soil myself before making it to the harshly lit oasis of grocery store, where the treasured toilet was located.
I made it, and I don’t wish to be indelicate, but I spent more than the usual amount of time in the bathroom. As it turns out, the ham, spinach, yogurt and everything else I had eaten for the past 24 hours decided to leave my body in an unhurried, yet violent fashion. I emerged from the restrooms quite some time later, and George had disappeared. I found him with a basket, absentmindedly shopping and strolling the aisles.
“Good Lord, I was going to send someone in after you! I had to get a basket and shop, I was looking like Lurky McLurk hanging out by the ladies room. You OK?”
“Yeah, I’m good. You done shopping?”
“Ummm, yeah. I figure about $25 worth of stuff should cover what you did to their bathroom, right?”
“Seriously. You were in there a long time. Should we buy more stuff?”
This is where I would have totally walked off and left him if I hadn’t had to walk a quarter mile in a not-so-good neighborhood to get home. Sometimes, living on the road is hard.