The Great Soda Debacle Of 1999 - 02.08.99

I really shouldn't have bought the 2-liter bottle of soda. It was simply too good to pass up while I was shopping for something to keep me awake on the 5 hour drive. Like a true bargain shopper, I looked through the coolers at the convenience store and priced them quickly while trying to decide what flavor my mouth was interested in.

Then I saw it. Just to the left of the smaller and more easily handled containers of soda sat the 2-liter. Even though it contained twice as much as the next largest size and there wasn't a great selection, it was much cheaper than it's friendly little counterparts.

I thought ahead to the drive. It was solid 5 hour drive and I didn't want to make it any more by having to stop more than once right in the middle of the trip. If I got the big soda, I'd simply have to pace my drinking of it so the one stop would be all that I needed. Besides, I was feeling kind of tired, and I deduced that 2-liters of soda would contain a lot more keep- me-awake caffeine than a paltrey 1 liter or even (gasp) a tiny 16 ounce bottle would.

Bottle in hand, I paid for my gas and soda and headed out to my car knowing I had made the right decision. The cool thing is that with that much damn soda, I'd probably even have enough left over for a nice kick-in-the-ass mid-day drink the next day at work.

After I had gotten onto the interstate and my car was up to a nice cruising speed, I sat back in the seat a little more and reached over for a little soda. Unfortunately, I had a little trouble.

Now, I'm sure that everyone knows the size of a 2 liter bottle of soda, so I'll spare the details here. Hell, I'm sure that most people have even managed on occassion to pick one up and take a swig from one at a shindig of some sort. The problem arises when one tries to pick up the bottle and drink from it with one hand as one would with a normal, smaller-sized soda. Not only is it hard to hold onto with one hand (as I needed the other one to steer the car, duh), but there are structural problems that are inherent while doing so.

While I'm not about to explain the physics of it all, I will say that the plastic of a 2-liter bottle isn't meant to support a full 2-liters of soda when it is grasped by the neck alone. The bottle is meant to be cradled lovingly by two hands and supported as if it were a hammock, while being poured into small drink cups at a barbeque, birthday party, or other social gathering. Holding the bottle as I did causes the plastic on the underside of it to buckle in sadness.

Not being the easily daunted type, I was bound and determined to get a little more soda, and besides that, I was thirsty. I cranked my wrist into a more suitable position and rested the full body of the bottle against my forearm and tried again.

This time, the procedure worked to my favor and I was able to sate my thirst. However, another problem reared it's ugly head in the form of the huge soda bottle hindering my vision. This problem was easily fixed by drinking in the soda through the right side of my mouth only.

At this point, all of my problems with the soda were fading away. I was getting plenty of caffeine and soda, all the while making the bottle lighter and easier to maneuver. I could see to drive and all was good. After finishing off about a third of the bottle, I decided to set it on the floor and leave it until later. I still had a short distance to go before my first stop and I didn't want to have to make another one.

I made it to the halfway point in fine time, got some more gas, used the restroom, and was on my way again in less than five minutes. I didn't even have to buy any more soda for the second leg of the trip.

Once I got back up to cruising speed again, I decided to get the soda back out and have another couple swigs. I picked it up off the floor and took a couple drinks before setting it down again.

After driving for a little while longer and falling into a sort of driving daze, I found myself chewing on my fingernails nervously. It's one of my bad driving habits that usually pops up just over halfway through a trip and doesn't end until I've made a conscious effort to stop or all my fingers are chewed down as far as they'll go. Luckily, I made a conscious effort to stop, and instead of chewing on my fingernails, I decided that I would sip on the soda.

Once again, I went into sort of a zone, and the next thing I knew, I had finished all but a small portion of the soda. I still had well over an hour before I would be home, and I could already feel pressure on the inside of my bladder.

That pressure didn't go away, and ten minutes later it was exponentially worse. At that time, I started deciding what my options would be for relieving myself. One option would be waiting until the next rest area and use the restroom there, but I decided against that as I would have to turn off my car and walk and it would simply take too much time.

My second great idea was that I might possibly be able to skinny forward in my seat a bit, then open up the 2-liter bottle that I had just emptied, and then use it as a repository. I nixed this idea quickly, as I really couldn't have devised a satisfactory position, and relieving myself all over the inside of my car wasn't at the top of my list.

Finally, I decided that I would simply pull off on the most deserted exit ramp that I saw, relieve myself into the ditch, and get back into my still-running car and take off again.

I started scouring ahead every time I passed an exit, but they all seemed to be busier than I had really hoped for at that time of night. Finally, I spotted an exit that had the right appeal. It was dark, very under-used looking, and I couldn't see anyone coming from either of the side roads.

I ramped-down the exit and about 200 yards before the crossroad stop-sign, I put my car in park, flipped on the hazards, and ran around to the side of the car.

It was then that my eyes became a little more acclimated to the light, and I could see why the exit had looked deserted. There were abandoned gas stations on either side of the crossing road, and besides the two lamps marking the exit, there were really none other to be seen close. Still, I had to go, so I got down to business.

Fortunately, nobody bothered me the entire time that I stood there. The abandoned gas stations were the only thing that gave me a scare, but as soon as I was in my car and on my way, even those were out of my mind. I had only lost 3 minutes worth of time by making the stop and for some reason it seemed a lot more reasonable than the 5 it would have taken at a rest stop.

When I got home, I put the 2-liter bottle in the recycling bin and knew that I would probably end up doing the same thing the next time I made the trip. I mean, why would I pass up such cheap soda?