Content warning: Poos. Like really, so much poos.
There’s a wonderland just five minutes walk from our house, a special place of reading and quiet, where the kiddie section often has a slide set up or a few ride-on toys bumping around, just because. A place with kindly people, chilled drinking water, comfy sofas, a toy collection, jigsaw puzzles. A sanctuary. A library.
Pity I can never go there again.
On Friday Juney and I were leaving the library when I realised I needed to pee.
“Hold on Lovey, can we just go to the toilet before we go?”
“No,” she said, unapologetically. “We can’t.”
I wasn’t prepared for this. “But….I have to go”, I gibbered lamely, taking her hand and leading her to the toilet.
“But I don’t want to”
This, I realised, is what I get for trying to be polite and phrasing it as a request. Phrasing a demand as a request isn’t really fair, is it?
“Well, I have to, so can we just go? You don’t want mummy to piddle herself, do you?”
“I don’t mind. You can hold it, mummy.”
We usually use the big disabled toilet because I can’t fit both of the kids and myself in a stall in the ladies’ loo, and so we headed there out of force of habit. I managed to get her inside but she was feeling stubborn by this point and wouldn’t stop fiddling with the door. I tried appealing to her better nature with “if I can’t go, it’s bad for my body” before remembering that toddlers don’t have a better nature. I put the heavy bag of books by the door and she pushed it aside. I got a little cross. Then eventually I got down on her level and we talked it out. We smiled at each other and had a hug and, feeling proud of myself, I finally went to pee.
I lifted up the toilet lid and recoiled. The seat was smeared in poo. I looked closer. The lid also had streaks on it. It had the exact look about it that a loo gets if someone has tried to clean up poo with only dry toilet paper and has given up when, for some incomprehensible reason, that completely fails to work. Hastily withdrawing, I noticed that the floor I’d been standing next to had a huge smear of wiped poo on it. There were little blobs of it that hadn’t been cleaned in a shockingly wide radius. It was even on the walls.
Some one had just had a really shit time.
I hustled us out of the toilet as quickly as I could, appalled to think that we’d been breathing in there for so long, and was about to go to the ladies when some sense of civic duty nagged at me. Maybe other people don’t look as carefully as I do. What if someone sat on it?
The Covid-19 library sign-in monitoring desk thingy was right next to the disabled toilet so I approached the young man presiding over it.
“Excuse me. Sorry to bother you…someone’s… had a little accident in the disabled toilet. There’s poo all over it. Sorry”.
“Oh,” he said, sympathetically, peeping at Juney “that’s alright”.
He motioned like he was leaving to deal with it so I apologised again and walked away before the horrible truth dawned on me.
He thought it was us.
He was right next to the loo, he’d seen us go in, and we’d been arguing in there for almost ten entire minutes. Why would anyone spend ten minutes in a toilet covered in poo if they were not the people who had made it that way?
He thought we’d gone in there and one of us had done a huge sloshy gushing poo and I hadn’t even cleaned it up properly and instead I had just shamelessly gone and told some poor librarian about it and then walked away and left other people to deal with it. And there was nothing at all I could say to convince him otherwise.
We went to the ladies and I finally did my piddle and when we came out I found him and one of the main librarians, a lady we interact with multiple times a week, peering into the disabled toilet from the safety of the hallway.
“Is it really that bad?” she was asking him.
“Whoever it was did try to clean up” I informed her earnestly, “but they didn’t get it all. You can still see splatters all over the place”.
She blue-tacked an out-of-order sign to the door. I tried to maintain the aura of a helpful bystander (this should have been easier considering it is exactly what I was) but I caught the look the young man gave me as we left. So I guess we’re never going back to the library.