Back in the mid 1990s I lived in a large highrise building on the edge of a rough neighborhood. When I first rented in the building I thought nothing of the fact that my apartment was on an upper floor, but I soon came to realize the the elevators were slow and often nearly unavailable. When there was lots of traffic into the building a large crowd often gathered in the lobby waiting for one of the elevators to mercifully land on the ground floor. Needless to say, going out drinking was a bit of an adventure and my bladder capacity was tested to its limit at times.
One of the most interesting experiences was on a hot sunny Saturday when I arrived home after having had a few brews on a nearby outdoor patio. When I arrived at the building there were probably about 20 people milling about waiting for an elevator, and more people came in the building as time passed. One in particular caught my attention. A young, tall mixed race guy, about 17 or 18 years old I guessed, was pacing nervously on one side of the lobby. Soon it become clear that he was becoming increasingly desperate. He wore loose track pants and a basketball team jersey. He held a basketball in one hand, leading me to surmise that he’d been playing at the outdoor courts in the nearby public housing project.
I tried to keep my eyes on him without staring conspicuously. He bounced the basketball on the floor a few times but this behavior soon ceased as he tucked the ball it into his side with one hand and put the other on his crotch several times, bending over slightly, as if in pain, and tried not to make eye contact with anybody in the growing crowd. One elevator arrived and quickly filled and he tried to push his way to the front, but like me he was not successful in getting a space. The look on his face was one of near alarm as the elevator left but a couple minutes later another one arrived and about 15 of us elbowed our way on. I was on one side, and he was on the other, right at the back of the cab, so for a time I lost sight of anything but his ‘fro.
The elevator climbed slowly, stopping it seemed at each floor as I felt my tight bladder reaching the point of desperation. We stopped on about 9 or 10 different floors, each it seemed entailing an interminable wait until 4 people who were beside me exited the elevator on the 28th floor, after which there were only three of us left on the elevator, me, an older lady who stood with her face almost flush with the door, and the young basketball guy, who stood, his head and eyes downcast, at the back of the elevator in the exact spot he was standing at the beginning of the ride. But instead of moving he seemed totally still and as looked downward I saw that he didn’t make it. At his feet on the floor tiles was an unmistakeable pee puddle, at least two feet across and seemingly growing. I looked at his pants and noticed the dark wet nylon material down the front of his pants and inseams glistening under the harsh elevator light. The older woman hurriedly exited the elevator on the 30th floor and young guy ran off the elevator behind her, turning in the opposite direction in the hallway, urine still dripping from the bottom of his pants.
Finally, the elevator arrived at my floor, one from the top of the building, and I was about ready to burst, but I was erect given the events of the ascent, which is probably the only thing that held my urine in my bladder. After fumbling with my keys, and realizing that pee was starting to down my pant legs, I ran into my apartment and let go on the tile floor, flooding my pants and creating my own puddle, but wishing that I’d let go on the elevator like the young basketball player. I lived in the building for about another year and saw him several times, and I never looked at him without in my mind recalling the events of that hot Saturday afternoon.