When a disabled toilet is disabled..

by Pseud O'Nym

Remember Sunday?

Of course you do, it being literally a sun day, the first proper weekend of warm weather and all. I certainly do! But not for the reason you might think. I invite you all to read about my experience I can now think about with a mixture of detached calmness and the absurdly comic, which I was so not feeling when it was actually happening.

My partner – the BFJ -and I set off for Trent Park, it being not only very large and wild, not only with good access, but also not far from my Mum’s house, which we heading to later. And as anyone who read my post about cycling to the Southbank will be aware, the one thing I hate more than crowds, are crowds with children in them. There were loads of them there, but fortunately they were concentrated by the café next to the car park, and equally fortunately Trent Park is so large that they were easily diluted.


There is a toilet block at the edge of the car park, and the BFJ needed to avail herself of these. As I was just fine and dandy, I offered to wait outside but she felt somewhat embarrassed about using it herself. So I said I’d go in with her. She unlocked the door with my RADAR key, which I keep for occasions such as this – because some disabled toilets are locked to prevent misuse – and we went in.

It’s at this point I’m going to veer off down Tangent Street, but it’s important you understand what informs this. When one is in the heady first few months of a relationship, and you do all you can preserve an air of mystique about yourself. It’s not that you are acting so much as making every effort to present the best possible version of yourself to them. Of course you do. It’s completely in your interests to do so, as the goal is to keep having regular and energetic horizontal gymnastics for as long as possible.

But the effort required gradually becomes too much. The best version of you has an expiry date, but it isn’t sudden. You just don’t become a slob overnight, I mean they don’t go the bed one night with the Brad Pitt from ‘Fight Club’ and wake up the next morning with the Brad Pitt from ‘The Big Short”.

It’s like a battery slowly draining, you feel increasingly comfortable around them but you ease yourself into revealing yourself to them by degree’s, farting being the best example of this, being the one that everyone knows. When the best version of you is running things, you’d never dream of farting in front of them. You hold them in because you’d rather risk internal organ damage than external organ non-damage and but eventually there’ll comes a time when you’ll just let rip. Then you’ll be commenting admiringly on their pungency. Dutch ovens, contact farts, and stealth farts follow soon after. The same thing happens with swearing. And other bodily functions.

Everyone does it. Their quirks might differ but the effect is the same. I myself frequently stare at a tissue after I’ve blown my nose in with all the curious fascination of a patient doing a Rorschach inkblot test.

(At the bottom of this post is a clip of Micky Flanagan expelling how swearing is an indicator of how likely a relationship is to be successful. Be warned though, it contains language that some people might find highly offensive from the start and throughout! Just so you know.)

And we’re back now, in the disabled toilet in Trent Park. After doing what people do in toilets, we try to get out. The door has other ideas.. The door handle won’t open the door, and as the BFJ wrestles with it I think ‘This is a door handle made for a council door. Is it going to well made or is it going to rubbish. How much wrestling can it take before it snaps off in her hand unexpectedly like my patience will snap if this happens’, but wisely do not say.

Nevertheless, the fact is we are trapped, locked inside a sealed windowless room, but fortunately, help is at hand, in the form of a sign with an emergency contact number. We call it and eventually a person answers it. Unfortunately, whilst she said all the right things you’d expect someone in that situation to say – apologies basically – she was not encumbered with common sense. Could she give the cafe a call and ask them to help? No, she didn’t have their ‘phone number and Googling it didn’t occur to her either.The nearest park ranger was thirty minutes away, but the people who it had happened to earlier in the day had attracted the attention of passers-by and slipped the key under the door to them.

Yes, this same thing had happened to someone else and no one had though a sign on the door alerting people to this was a good idea.

Worse was yet to come. I know you’re thinking ‘How could this possibly get worse?’ but it does. After some time, we attracted a passer-bys attention, slipped the key under door, and they released us from our enforced but brief incarceration. Thinking a sign on the door alerting people to the very real possibility of them getting trapped inside, the BFJ went over to the nearby ‘Go Ape’ adventure centre to get sign made. She came back with some shocking news, because when she’d explained what the sign was for, she was told ‘Oh not again, it’s the fourth time this week that’s happened.’

You might understand it happening on the day and the council being on the backfoot. Had the park not been as busy as it was, who knows we’d have been stuck there? What about if someone was alone and couldn’t get a ‘phone signal? What then? But for it to keep happening, to the extent the BFJ got the reaction she did and for them still not to have done anything, well that’s taking the piss!