Wednesday, July 04, 2007


No one likes public toilets. Even the best maintained ones threaten to reveal some horrible remnant of a previous visitor, although one does what one needs to do, and gets on with life. Not Mrs H! I didn’t know her well, so her extreme aversion came as rather a surprise.

We were at a thoroughly nice restaurant. The sort that has proper porcelain facilities, not dug pits. She went to the toilets, and returned quickly. "Mr H," she said, "We have to go. The toilets are disgusting. It's like a farmyard in there."

I couldn’t help but take that a little bit personally. I had been in there only moments before, and it had seemed satisfactory. Had I had some psychotic break, wherein I had smeared faeces over the walls, without knowing it? I was quite sure I hadn’t, but if one is mad, does one know it?

Mr H, however, seemed unsurprised. He sighed heavily. "We’ll be back soon," he said, with the tired tone of experience.

They left by taxi, to go home, so Mrs H could use her own toilet. We warned the kitchen to hold the meals, and sat, pouring cocktails into empty stomachs, until the H’s return. Unfortunately, they lived some distance away, so an hour passed before they returned.

The first time I met the H’s, was at their place. It was a cool summer evening, so we sat outside. "Do you mind if I have a cigarette?" I asked. Mrs H's face pinched slightly. "Of course," she said in a voice that said otherwise. "Over there will be fine." So, I stood in a distant corner of the garden, like a naughty child.

"How rude," someone murmured in my ear afterwards.
"It's fine," I shrugged. As a smoker, I have become used to feeling like a Typhoid Mary, although I did think the required distance a little extreme.
"She's terrified of getting cancer," someone whispered.

People mock her behind her back, and her fastidiousness is rather amusing, but one can’t help but feel a bit sorry for someone who is so permanently afraid.

Life lived in fear, half-lived, etcetera.


Oswald Bastable said...

Catch a big bag full of roaches and crawlies and release them into her home!

mojo said...

vaginismus with associated urinary retention ... diabolical ...bloody pubococcygeus muscle ... in some people it has been known to clamp so tight as to be able to up-skirt a bottle of whisky and steal it from a bottle store ('look, no hands')... the human body is such a remarkable thing.
Poor Mrs H tho.'

unPC lesbian said...

ha last flatmate could only do number 2's in her own home, so it was always keep clear when she arrived home after staying over at her boyfriends. The child has the same affliction, needless to say the return home after 3 days at school camp was pretty monumental!