We returned from two weeks in Ireland and Northern Ireland last night. It was lovely. We ate potatoes for every meal. Skylar now thinks we are going to name our first baby "Maeve." We are not going to name our first baby "Maeve." There's a fight in our future.

While traveling around the island, I had a thing happen that I will be unpacking for the rest of my life. I tweeted about this in the hours that followed, but I feel like I need to give a fuller accounting to Stranger. So here it is.

Buckle up, and be ye warned: this is a poop story. If you proceed, you are not allowed to file a complaint with the Stranger complaint department. Your complaint will be disregarded and we will be legally obligated to sue you. That's internet law, baby. Trust me. I'm probably still a lawyer.

I think the culprit was oatmeal. We had been traveling for 11 days by this point and, as typically happens when I step anywhere outside of the boundaries of my very small property, I had basically not had a bowel movement since before the war.

Why does my body do this when I'm traveling? Is this a trauma response to having to use restrooms that I didn't personally clean and christen with a dedicatory prayer? Can this be explained through evolution?

I don't know.

But I have learned that there is nothing to be done about this. I'm basically 40 and I've tried everything in the world there is to try and nothing works. I just travel in determined constipation and then suffer a great reckoning when I've returned to the privacy of my own home.

But on that fateful morning on day 11 of our trip, I ordered a large bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. I consumed the meal and then Skylar and I ventured off, away from our Derry hotel into nature. Giant's Causeway, they call it. A breathtaking hike along cliff edges dropping off into an unforgiving sea, all this 90 minutes away from Derry.

We were about one hour into the hike when I first felt it. A churning deep within my soul. A fiery gurgle within my bowels.

"I think . . ." I started to say to Skylar before pausing, as if I was a tv psychic who was just starting to receive a premonition. "Yes," I nodded. "I think I have diarrhea."

Skylar reminded me of his rule "for the thousandth time" that I wasn't supposed to keep him updated on this part of my life. But eventually we made it to a restaurant back near our car and he suggested I go use the bathroom there.

I'm going to admit that I went into the restroom review from a place of pessimism. Circumstances have to be pretty unique for me to be willing to poop in a public space. Maximum door privacy. Certain tile that has a clean and warm feeling to it. A toilet that has never felt the caress of a human ass. That kind of thing.

So, when I walked into this restroom and saw a row of half-broken stall doors and water on the floor, I turned myself around and marched right back to Skylar.

"Too dirty," I explained. "I can just wait the 90 minutes until we make it back to Derry."

Skylar sighed, but didn't bother arguing, for he knew I was unshakable in my testimony.

So we climbed aboard our Irish vehicle and set off on the left side of a country road pointed in the direction of Derry.

The drive started out pleasant enough. We were listening to a podcast on Irish history. The wind was in our hair. Green fields dotted with sheep all around us. It seemed like the kind of day when nothing could go wrong.

After one hour of driving, I suddenly felt it. A stark advancement. A battle cry from within me. A moan from an area of my gut I didn't even know existed until that moment.

"Uh . . ." I started to say. Then a stream of sweat began gushing from my brow. Within seconds, my entire head was drenched.

"I'm definitely going to shit my pants if we don't do something dramatic."

Just as I started to request that Skylar pull off to the side of the road so I could commit a public atrocity, he noticed a Tesco (grocery store) just up ahead.

"Hang on!" he told me like he was driving a spaceship in Star Wars and was about to put it into hyperdrive.

I was screaming as he pulled into the parking lot. Like, actual, guttural, screams. This looked like every movie you've ever seen where a woman is about to have a baby in a car. My back was arched. I was holding onto my bulging stomach like it was a dam I was trying to hold together. "THE CONTRACTIONS ARE 2 SECONDS APART."

I got out of the car before it even came to a complete stop, sprinting as much as my body would allow toward the front door of the Tesco.

Once I arrived inside, I spotted the one restroom they had—a private room with one toilet. If I had the capacity for any positive emotion in the moment, I would have been grateful that this was a single, private place. But so desperate was I in that moment that I would have pooped on stage at a rodeo if that's where the only available toilet was.

I slammed the door shut and tried for a split second to lock it but the lock was broken. There was no time to care about such trivial things. "If someone barges in on me, that's their problem," I thought, as I sat down and immediately shit the sins of all mankind into that (not very clean but it didn't matter at this point) toilet. I pooped stuff I ate in the 90s. There were Pop Rocks and Gushers in there.

It was an explosion unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. And it just went on and on and on and on. I truly do not understand how my body had that much stuff in it. I thought I was expelling organs after a while.

Oh the relief. I don't know if heaven is a real place, but I imagine if it is it just constantly feels like how I felt on that toilet.

After a full eternity of this, I finally stood up and decided I should probably go find Skylar to let him know every detail against his will.

There was a red cord hanging from the ceiling just next to the toilet. "How fun!" I thought of this flusher. I was in a very good mood. I was truly high with the ecstasy of demonic expulsion. I reached up to pull the flusher cord. I thought it sort of felt like something a train conductor might pull.

I giggled to myself as I reached for it, and then shouted a high-pitched "choo-choo!" as I gave it a firm tug.

But flush, the toilet did not. And a flusher, this cord was not.

Instead, a loud siren sounded.

This was an emergency pull cord for anyone who might need help because they've fallen, or something.

And I could tell, from the sounds of it, that this siren was being broadcast throughout the large Tesco. For everyone to hear. For the dozens of employees who were duty bound to answer the emergency call.

Oh the panic I felt in that moment.

Realizing that I may only have seconds before that unlocked door would be pushed open by innocent hearty Irish people who were just trying to make a living, I frantically began a search for the real flusher.

I have never looked for anything so hard in my life. I checked the wall. I checked the floor. I reviewed the entire anatomy of the toilet. Nothing. No buttons. No levers. Nothing.

"Maybe it's on a sensor!" my distraught brain suggested. I did a fakey sit to see if that would set it off. It didn't.

Look. I don't know what I was supposed to do here. I will spend the rest of my life thinking about this.

I was not in a right state of mind.

I immediately did a calculus. So much quick calculus. And I decided that people were going to be rushing to the scene any moment and there was nothing I could do to help resolve what I had just done to that bathroom so my being there was really only going to make this situation worse and more awkward for everyone.

So instead of hanging around, I just opened that door and began a brisk unhinged walk out of there. I looked exactly like the Joker just after he blew up that hospital.

A quick search turned up Skylar in the snack aisle. He saw my face of absolute ashamed panic, looked up at the ceiling where the siren was still sounding, and then said a defeated, if not accusatory, "what did you do?"

"We have seconds to get out of here," I informed him like a British spy who has been living a secret life. "I don't have time to explain."

Skylar abandoned his snacks and rushed to the parking lot with me where we got into our car, and drove off into the sunset, saying a quick prayer for those poor employees who didn't deserve any of this.

I told Skylar everything. He listened, mostly shaking his head.

After I finished giving him the entire account, he sat, quiet for a moment, and then asked what seemed to be the only question on his mind.

"But why did you say 'choo choo'?"

~It Just Gets Stranger