Arizona has become a laughing stock.
While there are a small handful of reasons that could make us an object of ridicule – like the joke of a budget deficit or the hilarious demise of the school system – the reason is a more fundamental one.
We can no longer pee.
The Arizona Department of Transportation closed 13 of its 18 rest stops across the state to cut down on expenses.
Americans across the nation have dubbed Arizona as “The state where you can’t go,” according to an e-mail from my mom in Michigan.
I think people in Iowa are even making up some bumper stickers.
ADOT calls the rest stop closures a “temporary suspension,” with the hopes of perhaps re-opening some in June after it sees if it’s still broke.
Closing the rest stops will let ADOT “reallocate funds to ensure the safety or the traveling public by focusing on roadways first.”
Those roadways better be in tip-top shape as folks who have to go will be hitting 120 mph or more to get to the next town with a bathroom.
Although this move may save some money, it can give rise to a variety of problems.
Like having our bladders explode. Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe was reportedly killed in 1601 when his bladder ruptured during a banquet he didn’t want to leave.
Other bursting bladder stories come in the form of the sweat shop worker, the assembly line guy or any employee with a draconian boss who won’t let them leave their work stations to go the bathroom.
OK, the bladder isn’t really known to burst and kill us just because we have to pee. It takes a combination of factors – like alcohol abuse, a bladder weakened by tumors or trauma – to make such a scenario a reality. Brahe is now thought to have suffered from a bladder infection or mercury poisoning.
But holding it in is still dang uncomfortable. It can also lead to urinary tract infections, crankiness and a host of psychological problems.
See how dangerous these rest stop closures can be?
Other injuries that can threaten us due to lack of rest stops are just around the bend. Zooming like bats out of hell to the next bathroom town cannot be all that safe, nor can stopping on the side of the road for much-needed bladder relief.
Not only is public urination illegal, but it, too, could get us killed. We become ideal targets for semis, dump trucks and wayward Winnebagos that could swerve off the road and squash us like, well, roadkill.
Crawling down into the brush for privacy may save us from roadside semis, but it puts us in even further danger.
Who is to say what coyotes, rabid bandits and javelinas lurk in roadside brush – not to mention the threat of cholla jumping at our private parts.
The solutions seem slim – and grim. Peeing in a cup barley works in a doctor’s office, never mind trying it while racing down the highway. Not drinking any liquids to keep our bladders empty could lead to dehydration and strange hallucinations.
Perhaps we should just take our road trips somewhere else this year, like Michigan or Iowa, states where we still can go.
Ryn Gargulinski is a poet, artist, performer and TucsonCitizen.com Ryngmaster who likes horror movies set in gas station bathrooms. Her column appears every Friday on Rynski’s Blogski. Her art, writing and more is at RynRules.com and Rynski.Etsy.com. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do these closures make you alter your vacation plans?
What do you do when you have a bathroom emergency on the highway?
Have you ever gotten a ticket for public urination?