Thursday, September 15, 2011

Caught Short

For a lot of runners out there, most have experienced at some time or another, the dreaded need to get to the loo quickly, mid run.  It can be extremely ...uncomfortable.  I have been in "situations" many times, lets say it's a combo of lots of inhaling of air, gu gels, electrolyte drinks, last nights dinner and jiggling up and down rapidly, but the consequences are dire.  As are often the results.  I have never had an accident (TOUCH WOOD) but I have had a number of "near misses" - they are memorable for the resulting trauma - I'm thinking Hyde Park loos in London (I'm so sorry to the person in the cubicle next to me), the petrol station somewhere along Military Road in Mosman (seriously guys?  When WAS the last time you cleaned that toilet?  Months ago?  I swear you almost had me doing a double whammy - foul - three words - scrubbing, brush, disinfectant) and others less dramatic but still desperately uncomfortable.

But I'm the first to owning up to loving a good toilet story, and this is an oldie but a goodie.
There's a kind of loo culture that seems to go down at running events, it's the great equaliser.  No one, no one wants to get caught short during an event, and with nerves (the most natural and effective laxative known), gu gels, water and general crap you put in your body there is a high demand for a good (ahem) cleanse before a run.  During the off road marathon I did earlier this year, I heard chatting in the portaloo queues, "yeah, I only got a half a one out, I'm going to give it another go now", it's a general conversation topic "are you sorted?"

So I'm waiting for the start of a running event in Sydney, and along with 25,000+ other runners, I'm waiting in line for the busy row of 15 portaloos.
The murmurings start ..."there's no loo paper left..." " any of them?", "apparently not".  Great, competing in a run with drip dried undies.  As I'm considering my options, a portaloo door opens and a fit, serious-runner-looking man dressed in white comes out and calls out tentatively to the crowd;
"Excuse me, but does anyone have some toilet paper?"
The crowd shakes their head, poor bastard.
I decide my options could better at the next row of portaloos.  I head over there and wait in the line. I hear the chat "there's no loo paper here as well""Crap!".
Murphy's Law, I have chosen the painfully slow line, the person in the loo ahead of me is taking forever.  As he comes out, I swear he looks me in the eye, and shakes his head, silently mouthing "I'm sorry".
Like a slap in the face, the smell hit me as I entered the cubicle.  He could not have been well.  Or else there had been a dead rat up his bum for the last few weeks and he'd just managed to get rid of it.  Breathing through my mouth, I did the quickest wee possible, not bothering to properly close the loo door, nor drip dry.  I was out like a shot so the next person soon to be assaulted by the smell, would know it was not physically possible for me to have created it in that amount of time.
As I exited the area, who should I see queuing, but the fit, serious-runner-looking man dressed in white.  Looking hopeful.
Poor bastard.

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