So anyway, readers, going to the toilet is something we often take for granted. As a bus driver, however, this can cause a few issues. Normally I would know what my shift was and just use the bathroom accordingly, but sometimes, dear readers, one can get caught short. In the past I had a spot of salmonella poisoning. It kind of crept up on me and before I realised it, I was rushing to work every morning and as soon as I got there I had to go and use the rest room before my stomach exploded. Mind you, it was a good three months before I realised that I was making quite the habit of this and finally went and pooped in a jar for the lovely people at pathology and got a diagnosis. Miraculously, almost straight after the diagnosis the salmonella cleared up by itself, no medicating required.
In the interim, however, I would have to go potty all of a sudden, and there was no delaying. This all happened when I was driving on the Gold Coast and the drivers had no toilet facilities except for what they could find at the local parks, service stations or shopping malls. One day my stomach started churning and I knew that there was a toilet at Pacific Fair, a giant shopping mall about ten or fifteen minutes away. I stopped and picked up a couple of Swiss guys who were painstakingly counting out ten and twenty cent pieces for their $6.40 fare. I snatched the coins out of their hands and counted them as quickly as I could, tossing the coins into my tin, my scalp prickling. I floored it up to Pacific Fair, and before the passengers had even disembarked, I had secured the bus, grabbed my money tin and hot footed it into the toilets which were opposite the stop.
Another time I was driving along with no passengers on. “Running special” as we used to call it, or “dead running” to start a trip at a different location from where I finished the last one is a common occurrence. Suddenly I got that old familiar scalp prickle and upset stomach thing going on. At least I had no passengers on board, but my mind started working overtime to figure out where the next lavatory might be located. I remembered that there was a service station just up the road, so I pulled over in a cloud of dust, parked up and hobbled in. Only to be told that they didn’t actually have a toilet (yeah, right) and that I should try the pub next door. Well, I was not supposed to go into the pub in my uniform but I figured this was a special occasion. I raced in, eyes wildly looking around for the familiar toilet sign, and found the loo just in the nick of time.
A similar occasion occurred when I was dead running somewhere else and had to think on my feet, or my arse, if you want to be literal. I parked on the road and walked in a very funny, stiff, upright manner towards the shops and servo. I was tossing up to go straight to the shops which were further away but definitely had a toilet, or the servo, which was closer but was an unknown quantity. I tried the servo first as it was closer, but no dice. I had to go into the shops. By the time I got in there I was practically praying to the God of Corks to not let me explode before I managed to get my bottom in contact with some porcelain. That particular god must have been smiling on me that day as yes, I did make it. And yes, he even provided toilet paper!
Just a side note: here in Canberra where I now drive, the drivers are provided with facilities at particular terminuses. These are normally where the routes begin and end. The drivers are all provided with a key to get into them. There is usually also a meal room with a cold water fountain, fridge and microwave oven, along with a table and chairs to use.
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