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Baked Onions and Cranberry Juice

When I was in Russia, I got terrible cystitis. I was in agony for three weeks. It was genuinely one of the worst things I’ve ever had. My landlady obviously noticed that I was peeing every ten minutes and suggested taking me to see a gynaecologist. Over my dead body was I seeing a Russian gynaecologist. It’s not that I didn’t trust their skills; I’d just heard one too many tales of baked onions used in medicinal capacities.

I decided that the best way to get her to leave me alone was to pretend I was better. Rather tricky when, as I say, I was peeing every ten minutes. So, in a bid to hide my ongoing condition from her, I resorted to peeing in an empty cranberry juice carton that I kept in my room and emptied periodically. It was super gross, I know. Afterwards when I told my best friend she said, ‘Lauren, that’s one of the trampiest things I’ve ever heard.’ Desperate times call for desperate measures I suppose.

It gets worse. I took to secreting the carton behind the curtain in my room. Lyuda hardly ever went in there, and as I was hiding out in there most of the time, I figured it would be fine. A few days earlier some plants had appeared on the outside window ledge. I didn’t think anything of it, and assumed it was just Lyuda looking to spruce the place up a bit. So imagine my panic when one afternoon, Lyuda opens my bedroom door and waltzes over to the window. Turns out she was just looking after some plants for a friend for a few days (as you do), and the friend had now come to collect them. I sat rigid on my bed as she opened the window, leaned out and passed the plants to her friend, blissfully unaware that a carton full of my pee was hidden behind the curtain less than a foot from where she stood. I remember thinking, if they kick that over, is my Russian good enough to explain? At the time, I think it probably was. Nowadays my Russian is so rusty that if the same thing happened to me now, I’d have to just shrug and say something like, ‘Well, that’s a shame.’

They didn’t kick it over, thank God. After that I took to secreting it beneath my bed, figuring there was far less chance of it getting knocked over down there. Lyuda never did bring it up with me again, so it obviously worked, even if it is one of the trampiest things I’ve ever done.

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