Saturday, August 23, 2008

23rd August

I used to so hate going to public loos.

But something I've noticed about going to the festival is that now, miraculously and strangely, it has become a pleasure.

But this evening I did a foolish thing. The restaurant we were in was crowded, and after we had eaten we went to the loo. Whic was also quite full. And then, when I was in the cubicle, I coughed. I have had flu the past few days and could not stop myself. In fact, it did not even occur to me that I should stop myself until after I had coughed.

My appearance has changed in ways I do not fully understand so that without my especially trying I am taken for a biological female; and my voice, also, it seems. At least people don't respond with shock and embarassment when I talk to them so I have to assume that there is nothing incongruous in it.

But my cough is a man's cough.

And sure enough, as soon as I had coughed, and was thinking, "You shouldn't have done that" I heard one woman say: "Are we in the right loo?" And another said, "Sounds like there's a man in here".

And I froze. There was something rather comical about it, and I laughed afterwards with my fried: but I was also afraid. And as I sat there waiting for them to go, a strange thing happened.

I wanted to pee, but I could not. This is precisely why going to men's loos was always such an ordeal: if ever I had to pee in the common trough, I would feel so acute an anxiety that my sphincter would refuse to relax. And I would be unable to pee.

I think, in retrospect, it was because my body knew what I was unable to consciously recognise: that I was in the wrong place.

And, absurd as it will sound, part of the joy in peeing in the ladies is (and this forms part of a much wider, much deeper joy) because, for the very first time in my life, I know I am in the right place.

This is, of course, profoundly unreasonable.

But joy is not reasonable.

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