Have you ever suddenly had to pee in a very non-pee-friendly place? Like a tiny boutique in which the young clerk, who must still have a bladder like a Sherman tank (just like yours used to be!) says, "I'm sorry ma'am, we don't have a restroom for the public. The Walgreens across the street, down two blocks and through that little walkway, they have one. Wait, did Walgreens move? No, it was the CVS that moved."
By this time your bladder is in full panic mode with its metaphoric air raid sirens filling your entire consciousness. And you just know there is a closet-sized restroom in the back of the boutique, past the Employees Only Beyond This Point sign. You know, because she didn't say "no restroom," she said "no restroom for the public" and you've cracked that sneaky code.
You're wondering if you could somehow get past the clerk with a boxing feint. You wish you had a friend with you because she could distract the clerk by climbing atop a display table and singing the "Star Spangled Banner" or tossing all the New Zealand wool sweaters on the floor while you rush into the back, find that bathroom and plop down on the toilet, the door not quite closed behind you.
How did things get to this state??
I never took an anatomy class but I don't think the human bladder shrinks to the size of a grasshopper's as we age. Does it? (If someone Googles that, let me know what you find.) So why do I suddenly have to pee every twenty minutes? Every twenty minutes gives me time to drive somewhere, pee, do something brief like drop off the dry cleaning, pee, do something else brief like buy a single banana, pee, etc. You start to see the pattern emerging.
And have you ever had to use the facilities in a supermarket? First, you're in trouble because you have a cart full of potentially melty stuff that you have to temporarily abandon, and second, their bathrooms can be a hefty hike from the part of the store we customers see. You walk through a big set of white swinging doors, past the meat department, beyond the shelves of cans, down a long industrial hall and into the gender specific restroom with an Employees Must Wash Hands sign. Whew! You are definitely doing that bathroom dance by the time you get there. Then there's the long walk back to your cart, now holding room temperature items that you will be very tempted to switch out for still-frozen treats.
I think when you reach a certain age, city hall should send you a map of all the restrooms in your town, color coded as to likelihood that you will actually be able to use them. Is a purchase required? Blue. Do you just have to smile and ask nice? Green. That sort of thing.
And if you're reading this but not of a certain age, if you're still walking around carefree for hours at a time, it's not too early to prepare. Keep a notebook. Map out all the back alleys, shortcuts, really leafy bushes, and you just may be okay when the time comes. Trust me on this. You won't regret the notebook.