I-459 was slow but steady. Traffic was moving, and although it slowed up at the I-65 interchange, I moved past that point with general ease. On the other side of the 65 interchange, traffic slowed to a stop. It wasn't horrible at this point though because about every two minutes or so, we'd move a little bit. I figured it had to do with people trying to get on 280, and I was right about that... sort of.
I had finally made it to 280. Judging from the looks of the exit ramp and some posts I saw on Facebook, I didn't think 280 would be a good route for me, so I stayed on 459. Around this point, I started thinking about the gallon of Gatorade I'd had earlier in the day. As I looked down at the empty Nalgene bottle, I thought, "This could be bad later." But the urge wasn't bad. What WAS bad was the insane headache that had come on due to my earlier dilated eyes. I tried to relax and just listen to the radio coverage of the storm and traffic. It didn't help, because at some point on this stretch of the road, one of the local meteorologists had called into the radio station, and he, too, was stuck in the horrible traffic. Fabulous.
Every now and then the traffic would move a little and I'd get excited. After several hours of that, the excitement passed.
Speaking of passed... by 2:30 pm the idea that I could hold my bladder any longer had also passed. I looked around my car to try and determine my best plan of action. I was not really able to get out of the car to use the bathroom, because, well, the rest of Birmingham was sitting around me. Two men had easily gotten out of their trucks and walked to the woodsy edge to relieve themselves, but the thought of me squatting over there with my bright white behind sticking out was unbearable to me. And hey, it was still daylight folks. There was no hiding here! And the occasional walker down the side of the interstate didn't make it any easier of a decision. (Walking Dead reference #1) With cameras on phones and social media at hand, I thought it best to look for an answer from within the confines of my car.
I had one styrofoam cup and one tall coffee mug with a handle. In my mind, I thought the handle would easier to navigate. Using my coat as a shield to the other cars, I began to prepare myself. Okay, let me stop here for a minute. I've had to tinkle in a cup a few times in my day, so I was fully aware of my horrible ability to do this in a clean manner. In addition to this reality was the fact that this was a tall coffee mug. This meant that if you were sitting behind me in traffic, you either knew exactly what I was doing, or you somehow thought I'd grown two full feet in the last two minutes.
Trying to keep yourself shielded while performing a coffee cup relief maneuver is challenging at best. I slid the mug in place and lowered myself, trying to aim as best I could. This is where I lose track of what happened in this moment. I didn't want to let er rip and risk a waterfall in my seat. So, I tried to "easy does it" - which, is it just me y'all, or is that hard for a woman? Every now and then I slid the mug to the side to check my work. Urine in the cup - success!!!! When the cup was semi-full, I decided to just stop and empty the cup. I rolled down the window and created a yellow snow spot beside my car, replaced the coffee cup into my cup holder, returned my pants into their upright and locked position, and then sat down in the seat.
About 30 seconds passed before I realized it. It wasn't just warm in my car, it was now warm on my seat. But what do you do in that moment? The damage had been done.
I was about three miles away from the Liberty Park exit, and everyone was just sitting in park, not moving. Up ahead, I could see about ten 18-wheelers jack knifed and blocking the entire three lane interstate. People were moving to and fro on foot, but at that distance, I couldn't tell what was going on. I found one of JM's blankets in the backseat and stuck it under me to try and soak up some of the tragedy down there. People were texting me left and right, and I was keeping everyone informed via Facebook. In fact, one of the most hilarious moments of the day happened on Facebook. See it here:
Pretty soon, I saw a few cars beginning to move. They appeared to be moving into a single file line down the hill and across the bridge. The girl behind me was riding too close to my bumper which really started to make me mad, but even worse, the Tahoe in front of me started sliding to the right uncontrollably...
Tune in tomorrow for Snowpocolypse - Chapter Three