12:30 hours - The Start
With my IBS, holidays have always been a tough gig for me. However, from a stomach and lower intestine point of view last year’s holiday in Menorca could not have to a better start. The weather had been perfect. Myself, wife and daughter had not had a cross word.
We decided on the Monday of the second week to take a drive into the capital, Mahon. The Capital city’s usually stressful busy roads had done little to put a dent in the day as we drove through to park in the central square. This is a City that we truly love; it remains to this day our Iberian home from home.
13:30 hours - The Joy
We dropped into a café that we had not visited before and for whatever reason other than total and complete arrogance, I decided to have a really strong espresso coffee. As we sat and chatted outside, people watching and taking in the sun, my choice of Coffee seemed well justified as my stomach held its own. Indeed after we left and went shopping for an hour or so I felt great. Hey, I felt invincible. I would drink strong coffee more regularly I irresponsibly mused. Now I know all the IBS experts categorically say “Don’t drink coffee, especially strong coffee!” However, I was on MY HOLS, and I had been a good boy for the last few months diet-wise. Live a little.
15:15 hours - The Boa Constrictor
If you are an IBSer you will know of the 3 minute warning. One minute you feel great and then a gurgling starts just below your sternum, within seconds it’s a rumble and by the time the contractions start your bottom is twitching like a buck rabbit’s nose during the mating season.
It was something of an understatement to say the customers of the Mahon restaurant could obviously sense something was wrong as I burst through the door, not perspiring but sweating heavily, crazed eyes surveying all in order to locate the toilet. As one, the twenty odd customers looked up from their food, in time with the cutlery landing on plates as children grasped their parents tightly “A madman or a terrorist,” I imagined them whispering as I lurched forward once again, head going this way and that in my search of salvation. With no obvious sign of a WC, trying to compose myself I strode purposefully towards a waiter serving a table no more than 20 feet away, “Senor, Buenos Dias. . .” I started when suddenly a lower bowel contraction that Roberto Boa Constrictor would have been proud of, stopped me fully in my tracks. . .”Oh my God, it was going to happen here, right here, right now in the middle of a restaurant, right in the middle of my new cream linen shorts.” Trying to retain some dignity whilst trying to calm myself, I asked softly and gently, “Toilet por favour?” Did I sense a little smirk on his face as he replied?
” Los Siento, Senor, the toilet is for customers only,”
You little shit!
With the tension palpable, the customers stared more intensely sensing the impending ‘stand-off,’ their hushed voices becoming a murmur as I heard my own voice literally scream out a single word “Toilettttttttttttttt”followed by another scream “Where’s the bloody toiletttt you little shitttt”. Such was the venom attached to the question that I genuinely thought the waiter was going to faint. Sensing he had more chance of stopping a two-ton Pamplona Bull, he stepped aside and pointed to the stairs in the right hand corner. “Toilet,” he murmured, under his breath, somewhat abashed. I attempted once again to regain my cool, but was suddenly undone by a monstrous fart, the volume of which one would admire in any other circumstance. New cool turned to old panic as a fair haired, slightly shorter and ever increasingly paler version of Usain Bolt ascended the stairs three at a time. There at the top landing was a solitary toilet. Breathless I pleaded, “Please God, please let the toilet be vacant, and please, please, please God let there be plenty of loo paper; and then suddenly, ignoring the fact the door was closed, I pushed hard and the door was open and I was in, and the door was closed, and there WAS paper and I cursed that I had gone for the trendy button-fly, pair of shorts rather than the more sensible zip type. Buttons flew like confetti as I tore the shorts from my body throwing myself onto the pan all in the same movement. Oh divine heaven, what bliss, what sheer, sheer bliss. Orgasmic, Kabooom!
Later, as the mists cleared and I sat there recovering, the reality following the panic began to dawn. What was now going on downstairs in the restaurant? Had the waiter called the police? Hope against hope, had all the people having lunch who had experienced my entrance now gone home? Was there a back way out? Whatever happened next, once I left the safety of the toilet, things were probably going to be very embarrassing. No excuses, I thought to myself knowing it was time to grasp the nettle and get on with it. I prepared myself as best I could. With my 'button-fly' shorts now 'sans' buttons it wasn't easy, so using my shirt to cover what modesty I had left, I opened the door and took the first steps down the stair back into the restaurant. As I pushed the door open the sniggers that greeted my entrance confirmed the fact that the “audience” had stayed to witness the final act. Trying to be confident but failing, I shuffled passed the smirking waiter who having suddenly discovered he could now speak perfect English opened the door for me to exit. “Do come back again soon” he said. I had no response other than a feigned sickly smile. “Sarcastic Bastard,” I muttered under my breath.
15:40 hours, no sympathy!
Solace was equally not forthcoming from my very patient wife and daughter who had remained outside during this episode. “That will teach you a lesson not to drink strong coffee, as if another lesson was needed,” cursed Maria. “And look at your shorts,” she continued, “You best get off before you’re arrested as a ‘Flasher.’ We are off to the market, I suggest you find your own way back to the villa.” Darcie our daughter just smiled, shook her head in a kind of “what are we going to do with him Mum ,” look on her face and hand in hand they disappeared down the road. Not one of my best days with my friend Senor IBS!