Part Two of a Four-Part Special. Don’t say I don’t spoil you. Here we go then:
Toilets, and why aren’t there enough of them?
Toilets! Everybody needs a toilet, just everybody needs good neighbours, but if you’ve got IBD, you need a toilet as much as you need oxygen. We don’t do too badly in the UK for public toilets, but then I say that imagining that I didn’t need the toilet when I went out, like before I was ill. You’d go before you left home, go shopping and go again when you got back. I vaguely remember that life. It was around the time that mobile phones were just being introduced to the world and N-Sync were top of the charts.
Unless you’re in a major shopping centre I can’t think of a single place where there are public toilets, save for a few in central London which always smell like someone’s thrown up in them. Oh wait, they usually have. And don’t get me started on train toilets – they are a hell unto their own. The army could bottle that stink and use it like tear gas against jihadists and such. I reckon the only nice train toilet would be Thomas the Tank Engine’s.
Brighton seafront, for example, has one public toilet. Yes, one. It serves about 5,000 people a day in July and August and yet, there is one small building with about five toilets in it. Try waiting in that line when you don’t possess a colon. ‘I don’t have a colon,’ I say, ‘please can I push in so that I don’t have an accident right in front of everyone.’ It sometimes works. If I just get scowled at I yank my top up to show off my scars and at that point, I usually get a clear run.
The point is, Brighton in particular needs more public toilets. Every town needs more public toilets. If councils understood that a lack of toilets in their town centres actually meant that some patients with IBD end up housebound, isolated and understandably suffering from depression, do you think they might spend some money on a loo? What if we told them that we’re all millionaires, but we can’t spend any money in their town because there are no toilets? It would be a smart move, no? Perhaps we need to do more to make this happen (not the being a millionaire bit, that’s really hard, but the getting a toilet built bit).
Sometimes you find a toilet and wonder why they even bothered
There have been many unfortunate occasions when I’ve seen a sign saying ‘WC’ and thought, ‘Hoorah, sweet relief, I found me a toilet!’ and four seconds later I’m coming out again shouting, ‘a hole in the ground is not a *&£$%£$ toilet, people!’
Admittedly this has only ever happened in France, Spain, Italy, Thailand, Greece… wait, that’s actually pretty much everywhere but the UK. Excuse me, but who in God’s name decided that it was OK to expect a woman to crouch down on a wet floor to evacuate her bladder and/or bowels?
It’s alright for a man, they’ll just be peeing anyway (we all know that men save their poohs for the privacy of their own home) and they already wee standing up. There’s just way more chance of the floor being sprayed than usual, but that’s nothing we’re not used to. But wait, a woman? Er, someone tell these builders that our bodies weren’t really designed in such a way that we can pee standing up. Do they not know this? And a woman with IBD? Well, good luck with that.
It’s the 21st century, surely we can manage an actual REAL LIFE TOILET? People are going on holiday to the ruddy moon, for crying out loud. I mean, the technology’s there, come ON!
I’m getting angry just writing about this stuff. I’m going to sucker-punch some cushions.
Coming up in part three: Quarter Pounders and the perils of the dungaree!