|Caught with one's trousers down|
One day, when I worked for the post office, in King Edward building London, I was having my dinner break, but needed to go to the lavatory. Nature had suddenly reared her head and was making it clear, in no uncertain terms, that her divine call should be answered. It is, of course, the sort of call that one does not trifle with.
In King Edward Building's north east side there was a rather tantalising collection of toilets on each level as one went down the staircase. One floor ladies the next gents, then ladies, then gents - all the way from the top floor to the sub-ground and lower basement.
The whole area had been closed off for several weeks while builders had renovated the entire stairwell and its many toilets. But they had finished - the north east staircase was close by and awaiting my discreet attention. So, with great aplomb, I hurried off and found the first level toilet door open. I whizzed in and noted the plush way the builders had done it out - I remember thinking, "This is bloody nice." I caught an impressive, yet fleeting glimpse of a neat line of sinks and the long open mirror where the urinals used to be.
Crash! I slammed the lavatory door and bolted it - pulled down my strides and skats then allowed my traumatised posterior to hover menacingly over the lav. I thought no more of the plush and newly renovated toilet because I was intent on my little party act in the isolation of my comfy cubicle. (Incidentally, I don't get invited to many parties.)
Suddenly I heard a group of young ladies enter the toilet and they were talking about a number of girlie things. I froze in terror - my bowels did too - I think they quickly developed a personality of their own in that terrible and bleak moment. It was then, that it dawned upon me, and I realised why; there was a line of wash basins, plus a fine long mirror, where the bloke's urinals were supposed to be. I had just run in with the main door already open. The one that would say Ladies or Gents. I had made a dreadful mistake and all the girls were outside the cubicle chatting away.
I found it a bit difficult to continue, yet I really needed to. What could I do? I was not going to pull my strides back up, open the door and say, "Sorry, my mistake." and walk off. I wanted to scream out a choice colourful metaphor that sounded like 'cough' but my masculine pride triumphed and would not let me.
However, if the young ladies outside stayed any longer, I would not have any masculine pride left. I'm sure you, the reader, could understand the delicate nature of my predicament. In the end, I just had to go ahead and fulfill my obligation to nature's stringent demand. As I was about this rather inconvenient task, the anonymous group of girls suddenly fell silent and I'm sure it was because of me.
I remember the patter of their feet as they scurried off amid incoherent whispers. No doubt wondering what little flower smelt so bad - probably being glad she was not in their little gang. It took me ages to pluck up the courage to open the door and bolt out. Fortunately, there was no one around and I was able to descend to the next floor and wash my hands. I certainly checked the sign on the next level, but it was a bit like closing the stable door after the horse had bolted.