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Sunday, 8 April 2018

The Confessions of a Public Toilet Butler

If you’ve followed my blog over the last 5 years you’ll have probably noticed I have written a lot about dung. Specifically, dung that has been produced by semi-feral children.

In this latest instalment, I’ve come to realise that kids are amazing at not only desensitising you completely to brown matter, but also making their excremental movements an entertaining topic of conversation.

Am I right in thinking there’s just something about their absolute joy in the pooing process that unless you’re a miserable git, you can’t help but laugh?

Picture the scene, I’m in M Shed Museum in Bristol and I’ve got both kids when the brown alert gets parped by the eldest, and I’m dragged along to the toilet.

We’re in a spacious cubicle. I can’t describe the stench, so I won’t bother. It’s sickening. This is a day’s worth of filth festering inside an enclosed space. I’m holding the baby just hoping this is going to be a quick one but knowing in my heart this is going to be a 10 minute job.

Aside from the sensory overload from the flavoursome aromas I’m happy because I’ve missed the boy and just picked him up off his grandparents and I’m looking forward to taking him sledging. This is par for the course of parenting. Grit your teeth and get on with it.

The conversation begins.

“Daddy I’m not gonna poo unless you leave the room” 

“Ok fine. I’ll stare at the wall.”

“I want you to go though. Go away.”

“No, don’t worry, look, I’m staring at the wall.”

Panic sets in. There’s no way I’m leaving this cubicle. I need to see he’s washed his hands, and I’m not sure he’s familiar enough with locks yet. I mentally picture a scene of carnage with him locking himself in. Fatherhood is full of paranoia like that.

The seconds pass and I hear the gentle plops of progress along with satisfied grunts.

I mimic the grunts. Can’t help it.

Laughing ensues. But now I’m just getting impatient.

“Please hurry up.”

“No. I want to sit here and poo alllll night long. HAHAHAHA.”

I hide my smile. That’s a good one.

“Seriously mate, it’s really hard holding Leo up all this time, my arm’s killing me.”

Frustration in my voice. I’ve been carrying him for ages, and it’s not like I can put him on the piss soaked floor of this hellhole. He’s also bored and doing his universal struggle movements to signify “put me on the damn floor so I can explore.”

Nothing good ever comes of putting a baby on the floor in a public toilet. When you’re on your own with one you have to pee sitting down while they flail around in your lap, grabbing at the toilet roll.

I lift him up onto my shoulders in a desperate attempt to keep him “entertained” and I take a toilet selfie because this is the type of crap a dad blogger feels like he needs to do in ridiculous situations like this.

A picture of me looking frustrated in the toilet with my baby on my shoulders
Absolutely fed up.

Charlie sees an opening to get one up on his baby brother.

“It stinks in here dunnit. Why don’t you put Leo on the floor so he can get all smelly and get pee on ‘is clothes!”

“No way, I’m not doing that!!”

More laughing ensues. Haha, very droll.

“Please hurry up. How much longer are you going to take?”

“I dunno, I think I got about 10 more poos to go.”

“OK. Keep going.”

“Daddy, what happens when all the people in the world die and there’s no one left in the world?”

[AUDIBLE LOUD LAUGHING FROM MAN IN NEIGHBOURING CUBICLE]

“Uhh. Wow. That’s a good question.”

Where the hell did that come from?

I thought of Stephen Hawking’s prediction that life on Earth will become unsustainable, and I pictured Elon Musk’s happy face, colonising Mars.

“Well maybe, well, what if everyone didn’t die, but actually some of them escaped to a different planet so they could live there instead of dying here...?”

“But why would they do that?”

“I guess they didn’t like the idea of dying! Look mate seriously it stinks here, it’s gross, we need to get out of here. Please hurry up.”

[LAUGHING IN NEXT CUBICLE INTENSIFIES.]

After 10 minutes the ordeal was over. I could start a podcast, 'awkward conversations I have in public toilets for the amusement of strangers'. It happens a lot.

Maybe this is weird, but I enjoy these scenarios, all the weird moments we get thrust into as parents. One day, my eccentric lord won’t need his butler’s stimulating conversation or helpful advice when we’re in public toilets. So I’d better make the most of it. 

I’m just glad I don’t need to wipe his arse any more.