Happy Wednesday everyone! It’s time for another story. This one is a mix of a few stories around a topic. I hope you all enjoy it.
The misadventures of the bladder
I have a weak bladder. More recently especially. This had led to some interesting events and many embarrassing moments throughout my life. I think it stems from being at secondary school and holding it all day. I wouldn’t go to the toilet from the time I left home at twenty to eight until I got home at four each day. Simply because I couldn’t see well enough to go down stairs to the toilet in the basement. The stairs were redecorated to ‘help’ me and they made them a navy blue with heaps of glitter flowing in it and a black stripe on the edge. They might as well have taken the stairs out all together and made it a ramp because that is what it looked like, to me anyway. I also took a few trips down them missing out more than a couple steps on my way down each time. That is the only adrenaline rush I ever needed.
Not that I wanted to use that toilet anyway, the rumour was that many years before I went there a girl hung herself in that toilet. Nobody ever checked if it was true or not but it was enough to frighten me. Not that it takes much to frighten me. I have weak nerves as well as a weak bladder. I was only prepared to use that toilet, even though I never did, because the toilets upstairs in the main hall were the meeting place of an older group of girls. They hung around in the toilets at break and lunch as if they were a secret agency and didn’t want anyone to see them. Either that or they were hiding from a male teacher. They would be in there eating their lunch and I have a problem with other people and food. Generally other people touching my food. I can’t drink out of a glass somebody else has drunk out of, I can’t eat off a piece of cutlery somebody else has eaten off. So, girls eating lunch in the bathroom ruled out me ever going within touching distance of the door handle let alone actually going toilet in there.
This is what I believe was the beginning of my misadventures. It certainly wasn’t the end of them. Trains are disorientating for me. You can sit in your seat and not know if you are going to be travelling forwards or backwards. It doesn’t help that I can’t see which part of the train is the engine so when I find my seat it really is a mystery. But the toilets on trains really are the things that haunt my nightmares. For one thing, you have to walk past everyone else in your carriage to get to the section where the toilet is. You might as well have a large sign stuck to your forehead in neon flashing letters saying “I’m going to the toilet”. As if that isn’t bad enough you don’t know until you get there if the toilet is already occupied. If it is not only have you tried the handle and let the person in there know you are waiting but, I know from experience, it makes them try and hurry whatever they are doing. It’s a very awkward moment between two people when they have to squeeze past you as you swap occupants of the toilet. Both of you at this point also know you heard everything that happened in that bathroom since you have been there. Its an intimate knowledge of a stranger that you could probably have lived without knowing. I know I could have. It’s happened to me many times, I have been both people in that situation. Toilets are difficult for me in general because I have hypermobility in my fingers and so locks can be difficult to navigate. Luckily, I am also disabled and I can use disabled toilets. It’s a luxury I don’t think I deserve. An expansive space, an easy handle lock that I can fit my whole hand around rather than using two nimble fingers to gently edge a bolt lock shut. No fear surrounding me as I use the bathroom that, maybe this time, I won’t be able to get the lock open and I will be stuck in the toilet forever. I’ve even been known to think up a list of toilet monster names for myself just in case this ever happens. The toilets on trains are not like disabled toilets. They are small and not very helpful for blind people. There are little signs with instructions hidden behind the toilet and behind the sink, you would have to be a contortionist to be able to read them. And that is if you have working eyes never mind eyes that like to do their own thing. I’ve become accustomed to spending most of my time on a toilet, not just on trains, because of being locked in. I’ve always gotten out eventually but there is one moment that I remember well.
It was 2014 and my whole family was on the Eurostar on the way to Disneyland Paris for my sister’s eighteenth birthday. We had been lulled into a false sense of security when they upgraded our tickets to first class for free. They had fed us up like they were the Witch and we were Hansel and Gretel. We didn’t suspect a thing. Then it got to the inevitable moment when a few of us, my Grandma, my Sister and I, all needed the toilet. It was lucky on this train there were enough toilets in a row for us to all go. Then, unbelievably, all three of us got stuck. We pulled on the locks but they wouldn’t budge. The toilets were our prison cells for the next ten minutes or so. At least they were next to each other. We could talk to each other through the walls like we were convicts in a production of Les Misérables. Then finally we were freed. Nobody could believe how unlucky we were, its bad that one person could get stuck but for all three of us at the same time it was barely believable. Although, I would rather get stuck in a toilet than what happened during one of the trips to London. If you have ever wondered what the walls of the toilet stall feels like when travelling at a mid to high speed, I can tell you it feels like you would imagine hitting a solid wall feels like. It hurt. Yes, the train jerked when I was the most vulnerable and with no chance of stopping myself, I was propelled off the toilet and into the wall. It happened fast and it took me a few moments to realise that I was now sprawled on the floor. I had to try and leave the toilet with a dignity that I no longer possessed. And that everyone in that train carriage that I now had to pass on my way back to my seat almost definitely heard the impact I made with the wall. It was not my best moment. These are only some of the misadventures of my bladder.
That’s it for today’s story, I hope you enjoyed it!