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Yesterday afternoon, running a little behind, heading east on I-40 between Gallup and Albuquerque: an overturned big rig miles up the road shut down the interstate, and traffic was stopped. Curses! Now we’re really behind schedule. We’d been sitting parked among big rigs and fellow civilian travelers for an hour, scrub Indian reservation land and thunderheads to the horizon, when Katie’s longtime theory about median strip piss bottles came up as a conversation topic. Briefly, Katie has been observing plastic bottles resting in grassy Interstate median strips for years, and is convinced they are bottles that (male) drivers piss in and toss out the window to avoid stopping to use roadside facilities.

Rob is convinced of the solidity of his wife’s theory, Paul M agreed, and Paul L. of course was duty bound to object. Almost immediately Rob spotted what he considered a prime piss bottle suspect glinting in the New Mexico sun. After some negotiation, Rob agreed to confirm the identity of any fluid in the container, and Paul L. leapt out of the idling Yukon, snatched the brown liquid filled bottle from the median detritus, raced back to the Yukon, passed the bottle to driver Paul M., who handed it to Rob.As Paul L. scrambled into the back seat, annoyed truckers looking down from their rigs, Rob took a strong whiff from the median strip bottle, began screaming, “Oh, god! Oh, god! Take it away!” Paul jumped out, tossed the now verified piss bottle back into the median strip, jumped back in the car. Rob continued his anguished wail. Apparently the water evaporates in the hot sun, leaving a very acidic liquid behind.

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