Saturday, October 05, 2002

Scaryduck story

The winner of the Guardian's best UK blog competition was, an excellent blog and well worth a read. Now although I am still relying on my traumatic testicles in ribcage problem to trigger significant growth in my readership, I fear the scaryduck approach may be more my style. It seems Mr Scary's strategy for a good blog is to tell largely unrelated stories about himself, so here's one that all my friends seem to love.

About 3 years ago my tortuous commute used to take in Amersham, Chorleywood, Chalfont and Latimer, Rickmansworth, Moor Park, then a long hop to Harrow on the Hill, Finchley Road, and finally Baker Street. It took an hour to travel about 30 miles, but I was able to enjoy a seat and a long read in the process.

One night Emma and I had an argument. I don't recall what it was about, but it was significant enough for us to cook our own tea. I raided the fridge to find a cooked chicken breast from the night before so I bunged it in the microwave with some beans and a potato, naturally slamming the door loudly enough for Emma to hear what I was doing.

The following morning, I was back on the commuter treadmill. I jumped on the 7.53 Met line train from Amersham as usual but after an uneventful 10 minutes we were ordered off at Rickmansworth because of a defect. I know that London Underground gets a slating for their inefficiencies but this was unusual. We were expected to wait for the next train into London, one which had a completely different set of stations on its route. Once re-trained, our journey continued. We passed Moor Park, and entered what was on my normal train a non-stop run right through to Finchley Road. I began to feel a touch unwell. This is not unusual, commuting generally does nothing for my health, I always feel tired and run down and anyway I occasionally suffer from an irritable bowel which requires me to sit on the toilet with a copy of Heat waiting for it to pass, quite literally, through my ringpiece... Something you maybe didn't want to know, but believe me, that's the trailor for Andy Pandy The Movie before the main feature of Scum starts.

Expecting the discomfort to pass I shifted in my seat. I stopped reading and stared out the window, hoping perhaps to enjoy the healing powers of the morning sun. But it got worse, I began to cramp up, we passed another station and the pain intensified. I stood up to try to alleviate it but it wouldn't go away, I began to bend double with the cramps, I started to break out in a cold sweat. I was panicking, not only about the pain, but the fact I was stuck on a train... a train that, to me, had a completely random set of stops. If my original train had not broken down at Rickmansworth and I had continued on my normal route my next stop would have been no less than 15 minutes away, I had to hope, nay prey, there was a stop. The train trundled on, and the discomfort and pain increased, the previous night's chicken was having its revenge. My body was rejecting its Salmonella based poisons through the only orifice it knew. At that moment, my body had no truck with petty social niceties and so I began to work out how I could discretely crap myself whilst standing on the train, how I could disguise the smell, and how I could walk with a vaguely normal gait once I got to Finchley Road.

Tube commuters have a heightened sense of awareness when it comes to detecting the brakes being applied. It allows them to kick and push people out the way in good time to see them off the train. The brakes were being applied, we were stopping.

Now my panic turned to what kind of station we were pulling into, Tube stations, particularly the smaller ones are not known for their facilities, very few have Duty Free, for example. Chances are that there would be no toilet, moreover, there may not be any Underground staff to point me in the right direction. The cramping was so acute I'd decided along time ago that if I could get to an inspector I wouldn't hesitate to go against my natural reticence to ask to use the staff facilities. Critically, though I needed to find a toilet.

We pulled into Wembley, and Wembley, was good. It's a large station with lots of people working at it, perhaps I'd be saved. I jumped off the tube and ran up the stairs towards the exit. The cramping seemed less intense, but that was because my adrenalin was pumping. My strategy was that by heading for the exit I was more likely to bump into a staff member, and if I didn't, I would be at the ticket office where I could ask directions, and if that failed I'd be near the exit and hopefully close to a café or flowershop with the requisite facilities. At the top of the stairs I saw an Underground worker. I asked him the way to the nearest toilet.

By some small miracle there was a customer toilet, situated under the stairs I had just run up. I ran back down, and if it were at all possible, began to relax. My muscles were exhausted with having to 'hold it in'. I was nearly there, NEARLY THERE.

At the bottom of the stairs I spied the toilets, I went in. I was about to blow, there was no holding it in, not a second longer. I opened the door and looked for the cubicle.... The cubicle.... The cubicle.

Where was the fucking cubicle? This was a toilet with two urinals and a hand basin. The only public convenience in the whole world without the facility to crap. And I needed a crap, in fact, there was no need, there was no want, I was having a crap. And if I didn't make a quick decision it was going straight in my pants.

So I was standing in the middle of a small deserted station toilet during rush hour. At any second someone could walk in. Making its way down my bowel was a package of poisons rejected by my body and, against all normal conventions I didn't have my trousers off in preparation for the impending evacuation. Without immediate action I was, for the first time in some 25 years, about to poo myself. What's more, I was about to poo myself with the sloppiest poo imaginable. Choices had to be made and risks had to be taken....

Urinal or basin, urinal or basin. One of them was about to get it.

I don't remember the rationale, but urinal it was, in one swift movement I undid my trousers, pulled them down, pumped into the urinal, lifted my trousers and walked out of the toilet. One. Swift. Movement. Five seconds after I had shat in the urinal of a public toilet I was standing waiting for a Met line train into Baker Street like nothing had happened.

I joined a busy train and had to stand. I was paranoid that people could smell me, but no one seemed concerned. My paranoia was soon surpassed.

By the cramps...

It was happening again it was like I was having unexpected twins. No sooner had I recovered from the first then I had to go through it all again. As it happens an Indian lady was standing in front of me, I'm not sure what her height was in conventional measures, but she came right up to my nostrils. Moreover, she had enjoyed a curry the night before. This was perfect in bringing on the symptoms in double quick time.

I was cramping, I was doubling up.

We pulled into Baker Street. On the South Side of Baker Street there is a toilet, but we pulled into the North side. I needed to go south, before, once again my innards reached their southernly destination. Adopting a face like I was late for an important meeting I bustled past people and ran to the toilet. I got into a cubicle, ahhh a cubicle, and bombed Dresden swimming baths once again.

I sat, exhausted, I was sweating, drained and more than anything looking down at my boxer shorts. I hadn't crapped myself, but the lack of facilities at Wembley followed by the running around at Baker Street had caused my buttocks to exercise what I can only describe at "The Cream Puff" effect.

The pants were to only victim of the horror, discarded in a skip outside the toilet. I vowed I would take a trip to Marks and Spencer at lunchtime. My torture was over.

But I never took a Metropolitan Line train again.


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