(If you're offended easily by talk of the pottying processes, you should maybe not read this one.)
So Abe's brother Quentin has been living with us since February. The idea when we had him move in was that he would get a job and start saving money for college, but months have gone by and he has extended very minimal effort in the direction of obtaining some gainful employment. His days have been passed sitting blithely in front of the computer, sleeping and eating when it seemed convenient, and participating in family activities when moved upon by the power of the woman of the household.
Our initial condition for him had been that if he didn't have a job within two weeks of his arrival, we were shipping him back to New Hampshire. Sadly enough, those two weeks came and went, Quentin didn't get a job, and we couldn't find it in our hearts to send him back. Fortunately, another condition we'd set for him was that he needed to pay $150.00 in rent each month to help offset the increase in expenditures on utilities, groceries, and gasoline that his presence here would inevitably create. And this one we've been tough about. So tough, in fact, that when May 5th arrived and Quentin couldn't find the cash for this month's rent, I took his computer as collateral.
And lo and behold, on May 6th, he'd found himself a job.
Which is really where our story begins.
Quentin had been offered a job at Wal-Mart as a member of the nighttime floor cleaning crew, contingent on his passing a drug test within 24 hours of his interview. So on May 7th, I drove a full-bladdered Quentin to the drug testing office. I decided that Soren and I would wait in the car, imagining that it would only take Soren about 45 seconds to reduce the waiting room to rubble while simultaneously ingesting an entire People magazine, and also imagining that signing in, filling out paperwork, producing a urine sample, and surrendering the pee couldn't take more than 15 minutes from start to finish.
Oh, how wrong I was.
After an entire hour of singing Sesame Street songs and watching Soren push every button on the dashboard multiple times, I decided to call Quentin and see if there was a long line, if the paperwork was extensive, or if he'd failed the test.
"Hello?" he answered.
"Hey Quentin," I said. "You about done in there?"
"I don't know."
"What's going on?"
"I'm just drinking and waiting."
"Drinking and waiting? Didn't you tell me you had to pee several hours ago?"
"But it's just not coming now?"
"Well, um, how much longer do you think it's going to take?"
"I don't know."
"Not even an estimate?"
So Soren and I drove over to my friend Loriann's office. We spent another hour gabbing with her and making hearing aid box towers until she had to leave. So I again called Quentin.
"So, um, you....produced....yet?'
By this time, Soren was past ready for his nap, so I putted the car around in the foothills of Idaho Falls while he snoozed in his carseat. We drove up hills, we drove down hills, we drove past a wind farm, we drove past an alfalfa farm, we drove past several potato farms. It was really a nice drive, tainted only by the fact that I knew that I was devoting an entire afternoon to the production of a small urine sample.
Finally, two and a half hours after I'd dropped him off at the testing center with a completely full bladder, Quentin succeeded. He lost all his inhibitions. He cut himself loose. He went completely crazy. And he peed in a cup.
As we drove home, I tried to get him to explain to me why it was so hard for him to empty an already-full bladder on demand.
"I mean, gosh," I told him, "I had to do it every single time I saw my obstetrician while I was pregnant. And I was extremely fat, which meant that there was a lot of arm reaching awkwardness and a complete visual obstruction. And yet, I produced. Every month for nine months. And also, I produced while in labor at the hospital. So please, please explain to me what it so difficult about going into a quiet restroom with a full bladder, by yourself, while not in labor, with a very clear view of what you are doing, and producing a little urine. Please explain it to me!"
But he could not. "It's just so demoralizing," was all he said.
And the next day he got offered a job working as a gardener for the Idaho Falls temple, which means he didn't even really need to take that drug test at all.
And so are the days of my life.