A Pause for Thought that never was (Radio 2 doesn't do bodily functions, alas)
Last year I was being very grown up and I booked one of those hire-by-the-hour cars that you can pick up on a local street. We were going to the garden centre, a sure sign of maturity. Loading up the car boot with plants and pots and I thought proudly – here I am, finally arriving in adulthood.
Driving back home, we got stuck in a long traffic jam and I realised I really should have used the bathroom at the garden centre. Not to worry! I thought. Adults use their wits! There, a shortcut, and I turned down a small road on the left. A very small road. A road that got narrower and narrower until it became obvious it wasn’t a road, just a passageway to someone’s garage, until it was clear that there would be no way of turning the car around. I panicked – how was I going to reverse the car out without scratching it, it wasn’t even my car and it had to be back in 20 minutes. The panic suddenly made me laugh, and the laughing and the panic combined to make me need a wee more than ever. I realised I was going to have to get out and pee in the passageway. I tried to open the car door and found that the walls of the passage were only a fraction wider than the car. I couldn’t get out.
There’s a prayer in Judaism that you say after going to the bathroom. It thanks god for keeping our passages open and working because a blocked passageway would make it impossible to survive. Trapped in my hire car, the perils of a blocked passage had become horribly apparent.
So, this is a story about pride coming before a fall. Or about wetting yourself in a hire-by-the-hour-car, aged 35. You can go to the garden centre, you can buy all the spider plants you like, childhood is never that far away.