I should start by saying the thing I really hate to say: I was married before. The ex-husband (again, weird) had his fair share of issues, but I was too young to realize they were not just eccentricities.
One of the first (of many) red flags should have been his refusal to get up and urinate while he was playing PlayStation games. He was so involved in playing a VIDEO GAME, that he would grab the nearest plastic water bottle or soda can and PEE INTO IT. Yeah, I know. He would fill it up so that he didn’t have to walk over to the bathroom, which was RIGHT OVER THERE. It’s not like we lived in a five-bedroom, two-story home in Tulsa where the bathrooms are on the second floor and the gaming room was on the first floor. This was 300 square feet — Manhattan apartments are as big as normal master bedrooms. And we would have fights about this, as if he had any room to defend a Poland Springs bottle almost overflowing with dark-yellow urine.
His tinkle problems didn’t stop there. You would think all the video-gaming would strengthen his hand-eye coordination enough to get his wee-wee juice into the toilet every time, spot-on. Quite the contrary. Whenever I went into the bathroom, it was as if he had just finished peeing with his left hand while taking a phone call discussing complicated legalities of his latest case, and was just too busy to aim. But there was no phone or case file involved. He wasn’t a lawyer.
Late one night, he stumbled into the apartment, drunk and disoriented. He seemed to be “looking” for the bathroom, while I just sat in bed reading and half-heartedly wondered if I would have to help him throw up. When I heard him unzip his jeans near the TV, I could feel time slow down. I knew I could probably stop him, but part of me wanted him to have to deal with this situation. Before I made a move, he was already mid-stream, soaking the stereo-receiver-thing, which immediately shorted out, and later could not be repaired. I remember just laughing. That receiver connected the PlayStation to the TV. Lesson learned, perhaps?
On another occasion, I came home from work after a really hard day and thought, I’m going to have a drink. This was pretty unusual because I knew you weren’t supposed to drink alone or else you had some sort of problem. However, my problem was just starting.
On the floor near the couch was a bottle of pisco. This was not unusual because our couch was low to the ground and we didn’t have a coffee table, so many normal household items rested on the floor on a regular basis. Pisco is a Peruvian brandy with a light amber color and a tequila-like quality (so they say). This particular bottle was a gift, made of clay (so it was opaque) and shaped like some sort of Incan sun god.
I grabbed the bottle because I had never tried pisco before. It was so lovely and appealing that I poured some into a tall shot glass and downed the whole thing without coughing, proud of my ability to “drink” like Marion in Raiders of the Lost Ark. It tasted strange, but before I had time to dissect exactly what was wrong with the flavor, I poured myself another shot. Down the hatch.
As I swallowed, a very dark, sinking feeling started to overwhelm me, and my neck tensed up. I was reminded of dirty body smells and tastes you get in your mouth after intimate situations. (You know what I’m talking about.)
Looking back now, more than 10 years later, I often wonder why I didn’t realize this might happen. All the roads were leading to this. All the signs were there: CAUTION. URINE AHEAD. But at the time I thought, No. It couldn’t be. This didn’t just happen. It’s not real. I’m imagining this. That was pisco, right? Does pisco taste like that? OR am I in some kind of nightmare where residual PEE-sco has flavored the PEE-pee in this bottle, or does PEE-pee from a person who drank a lot of PEE-sco taste like that? The irony was just too much. DID I JUST DRINK PEEEEEEE??????
I was so completely filled with rage, that I could barely dial my cell phone.
“Did you pee somewhere strange today?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” he said.
“DID you PEE into some kind of receptacle that was sitting on the floor in the living room?”
“Umm, well, I mean I was playing FIFA 2003 and I . . .”
“Did YOU go PEE-PEE into a PISCO bottle in this HOUSE?!”
“What? Oh, yeah, into that pisco, yeah. Why? Did you, like, drink it or something?” He laughed as if I had powdered sugar on my nose or had seen a mouse and made a tiny, cute shriek. He laughed as if to say oh-you-silly-girl-stubbing-your-toe-it's-not-so-bad.
I reached a new level of anger. This is why people buy guns.
“So you drank ALL the pisco out of a bottle that you CANNOT SEE INTO, and then FILLED it with urine and CAPPED it back up and LEFT it on the floor and LEFT the house and DID NOT throw it away and DID NOT tell me. Is that right? Do I have it straight? So, YES. I DRANK YOUR PEE. LOTS OF YOUR PEE. I HAD TWO SHOTS OF YOUR PEE. You are an ASSHOLE.”
Of course, I scrubbed my tongue with pumice, and of course, there were many more fights with him after that. But the damage was internal, too. Mental. I never have and never will drink actual pisco. That door is closed. I find myself in bars with friends where they serve a “mean” pisco sour that I will not order. Every now and then I have to explain myself. But they all understand.
I am not married to this person anymore. Did I get a divorce because of his bizarre bladder issues? No. I would never divorce someone just because they left their pee in a convenient place for me to accidentally drink, which I did. But did it make us closer to each other the way that helping someone administer an enema on themselves after a surgery might make you closer? Nope. Absolutely not.