I had hoped not to write any more words about bodily functions. There are only so many times one can wax lyrical about the contents of a nappy before one realises that the Pulizer Prize is not in one’s future (even if one does use the gender-neutral pronoun so elegantly). We’d made it through potty training. We’d made it through the constant removal of pants. We’d even made it through a rather bleak fascination with what happens to poo once it goes down the loo. But we’ve not made it through the urine.
And sadly I’m not talking about Mini’s urine. She’s certainly had her moments. My favourite (least favourite) was her repeatedly removing her nappy at 2am, weeing on the mattress and shouting maniacally “don’t take your nappy off mummy! Don’t take your nappy off!”.
This wee belongs to someone else entirely.
Transport for London have installed lifts in as many of their larger stations as they can manage. Most of them are so labyrinthine-ly impossible to find that I avoid them, and prefer to continue working on my biceps up and down the stairs. But, one exhausted afternoon at Bank, I decided to make my way down a few miles of winding tunnels from the DLR to the northern line and into the lift.
As soon as I got in, my eyes starting watering. The stench was horrific: it was like an ammonia coffin. Given its location, my best guess was that pissed city workers had decided to use it as their own personal men’s room at the end of a long night’s bonhomie and back-slapping.
And then I got really p***ed off. Perhaps it was delayed trauma from the election result, or a toxic-high from the urine, but the pee-soaked lift suddenly symbolised something that made me angry. The only people who use those lifts are the elderly. Or people with disabilities. Or the daytime carers of young children. The only people who use them are the people who need help on the stairs or who are using a particular station because they can’t get their wheelchair out on the rest of the line.
The people doing the pissing almost certainly don’t fall into those categories.
The people doing the pissing lack the imagination to understand what it feels like to either rely on the kindness of strangers or use service-provision that someone (more powerful, more thoughtless and more entitled) has made as unpleasant as possible
I was reminded of my interaction with HMRC about tax-credits. I was reminded of the 32,675 single parent families who have had their benefits capped in the last two years – and how 70% of them have a child under five. The government doesn’t insist that lone parents of pre-schoolers seek work, but with the cap, they’ve made it impossible for some to even pay their rent.
The facilities and benefits being provided for those of us who are forced to use them (not through choice, not through laziness, not because we are scroungers) are literally being p***ed on by those in power. And I think that’s worth being angry about.
This post is dedicated to all the lovely men who have never weed in a lift. May your future be sunny and bright, and all your Christmasses be white.