The Race Against the Shitty Tummy: Loo Chronicles Reloaded

Image  The first story revealed what happens during those moments when you think you are in the privacy of the toilet. Apparently we can all relate to the actions and inactions of what happens in the privacy of the toilet by nobody speaks out because it’s perceived as nasty. Those ‘ewwwww’ moments indeed! 

Unless you are a baby or you need medical attention, any other situation where you shit your pants is an aberration of the social norm.

Sometimes there is a humorous twist to such a situation happening to a normal adult and this has been inspired by one of the characters in Sex in the City 2 (the movie) where on vacation in the Emirates, an American woman gets a tummy upset after heading into town and has to rush back to the hotel to take a quick dump before she shits her pants. But not before she unleashes some droplets in her pants.

Let me give a little background to my situation. Tamale is a city in Ghana where the indigenous populations mostly do their ‘ewwww’ in open air. Just as the livestock mostly roam freely in free range grazing system, so do the local people also shit freely in the open air. Doesn’t mean that because they shit in the open and you will find them squat at the roadside as you drive around the city. Traditional rules and taboos apply.  The shit adds up to animal dung to serve as manure for the sparse vegetation but also as effective for soil enrichment. Furthermore the sun and nature literally takes care of that shit (no pun intended) and so there is no need to clean up the place after taking a dump. Just clean your behind and head out to the next business of the day.

Sometimes when these local indigenes come into contact with the water closet toilets, they still treat them like they were still operating in the free range system by just dumping their ‘ewwwww’ and then walking away. Public toilets are sometimes messy that one will have to wade through dumps by little children on the outside before one gets inside the main toilet. In public institutions such as the hospitals or schools, sometimes the toilets are messy and not appealingly comfortable at all.

It is against this background that many ‘enlightened’ city dwellers would rather go to toilets in their homes and familiar places, sometimes hotels, rather than go to public toilets. So no matter where they are and in what state they find themselves in, it is important that they head back home to take a dump which is the best and most comfortable place.

Against this background, here I was with a running tummy from the night before caused by eating some delightful food. Every time I have had a tummy upset it has always been from eating food good enough to die for and that has set me wondering if it is my destiny that I will die by good food. The food has gone down well until I felt some rumbling in my tummy at dawn, which I ignored at first but then got serious when I realized I had to scuttle into the loo and spent quite a considerable amount of time in there that kept me away from my early morning love ritual with my roommate. Wow! It was serious when I also came to the realization that I couldn’t even fart and any attempt to fart resulted in hot drips from a place the sun don’t shine. Now that’s discomfort. Especially when every time you have to control your breath and hold your ass in tight check.

However feeling much better and a patriotic citizen, I decided not to call in sick but to report to work which is a 40 minute drive via taxi from home. This decision was taken against the strong conviction that I won’t take any food or drink until I got home later in the day. I was so confident about this decision until around midday I got thirsty and drank water. Kai! That was the beginning of the end. My woes began.

Immediately I had finished the 500ml of sachet water, my stomach responded ‘gbrrrrrr’ immediately, like a computer that has data inputted and responding accordingly. Thinking that it would pass I just sat there stiffly but alas it didn’t and it felt very uncomfortable. Here I was stiff as board sitting at my desk and when asked a question I had to answer carefully because some syllables would let me expel breath and that I wouldn’t want to do because to expel breath meant that it pushed the contents of my tummy uncomfortably closer to the exit which could lead to disgrace. It was now time to rack my brains on some of the yoga chants on breathing that I had read from God-knows-where I couldn’t even remember.

Sitting there stiff as a board, I thought of my options. Public toilets, none existent because my office is situated in a village so they practice open range system mostly. The office is still being set up so it has no toilet facility in the whole building. The only place available is the District Assembly building and I have never been there so couldn’t assess the state of that toilet. Last and final option was then to leave the office and just hold my breath for the next 40 minutes, by my calculations, to get home to a more comfortable loo and dump my load. Thus another interesting chapter of my suffering began. Now I had to run with my running tummy in a race to get to the house before my tummy outrun me.

First there was no taxi so I had to settle for a piggy back ride on a motorcycle. With a fragile tummy and mind you my breathing exercises in place, it is arguably the longest journey I have ever undertaken in my life to get off the bouncy potholed and dusty untarred road onto the good roads that were relatively smoother. The whole time I was on the motorbike I had to squeeze my buttocks tight for fear of soiling my pants. The guy dropped me off and I could only mouth a thank you without saying the words. I am sure he was wondering why i was the definition of uptight.

Then I had to hop into a taxi which was more like a trotro because at almost every 200 meters somebody got off and another person got on. Now there was no way I could do anything or say anything else but just sit in the taxi and just pray we get to our destination quickly. Even when I asked the driver how much he will charge for taking me home he didn’t show interest and I gave up. Why would everything be going so wrong on a day like this?

Finally we get to our destination I just when I’m about to get down from the taxi I realize that I have left my coin pouch in the office and I only have Gh10 notes on me. As expected the driver frowns and just tells me he has no change. So here I am, holding my ass tight, doing breathing exercises, in a race against my own tummy and I have to go find change for this cab driver. Trust me! If it was a lesser denomination note such as GH2 or even GH5 I would have walked away right then because now I was just about a ten minute walk from home and I thought I could manage it.

In the end I had to go into a mini mart and buy a whole box of biscuits, something I didn’t need but could only use later, so that I could get change for the driver. I didn’t even wait to see his facial reaction when I just threw the money into the cab and took off. Now I had to get home and I couldn’t even run. To run meant the contents of my tummy drew closer to exit point and running meant I had to exhale vigorously. What a dilemma.

As if on cue, two large flies had already started following me and with my dislike of bugs they were getting irritating. It was as if they already had a sense of what was to come and here I was, walking stiff as a board, one step after the other, my biscuit under my arm, doing breathing exercises, not looking left or right but walking straight on in an attempt to win the race against my tummy. Even when Aburre, one of the boys i mentor in basketball called me ‘Senior Kola!’ i just waved and moved on, glad he did not get up to come to me as he usually does.

The closer I got home the more imminent it was that I was not going to make it. Even mouthing the words ‘oh shit! Oh shit!’ now sounded ironic to my ears and I could afford a small laugh, teasing myself, even in my misery. I felt so miserable that even the clothes on my back started feeling uncomfortable so first I opened up the top two buttons on my shirt, then I took off my wrist bands, then took the phones out of my pocket because they weighed me down, then unloosened my belt and by the time I got to the final lap of my journey home I was just about to jump into the loo and let loose and let go.

The final prayer was to pray the main gate was not locked otherwise I’d have to take the key to open 2 padlocks and a main door before getting into the house and that would have spelled doom and all my efforts gone waste. You can’t imagine my relief when I saw the metal grate ajar and found the main door unlocked. I just dumped whatever I had in my hands on the floor and in the same fluid movement taking off my shirt and rushed into the loo.

Finally I had made it. Wheeew! A journey of 40 minutes, timed to the last second had stretched for almost an hour but I had made it. Dayuuuuuum! That was close and now I could breathe easy. i am sure my sigh of relief could have been heard on the moon and as for the sounds of the rushing gas out of my system, if you ever had a race against your own tummy you will understand what it is like.

So i had made it and i came out of the loo about 20 minutes later, took a shower to wash off all the dirt and wash down the grit only to come back to the hall to meet visitors in the hall. They were these two cute female friends of one of my ‘daughters’ and they had heard so much about me and they had waited patiently to meet me. Finally they get to meet me on today of all days.

And I hadn’t even noticed they were sitting there when I walked into the house. Ajieeeeeeee!!

Later they confessed that the way i had rushed in they were scared because they thought someone was after me and expected my assailants to burst into the house any moment after i had come in.

Oh chale! When nature calls on you, you go on a race against your own tummy.


6 Responses to “The Race Against the Shitty Tummy: Loo Chronicles Reloaded”

  1. Kofi Gbedemah Says:

    Great piece. The two flies cracked me up. Just shared this with Joan.

  2. that must have been one shitty day!

  3. that must have been one shitty day!!!

  4. Salomey Abraham Says:

    hahahahahahahaha. I love this piece. I have a story like dis.only i wasnt so lucky and am not telling you but u can guess.hahahahahahahahaha

  5. Something similar happened to me too. Only my race was to get to the office quickly enough to dump my load. It was a holiday, the long trotro ride, the locked office door, and the last thing I needed was the security guard chatting me up while opening the doors. If only he knew, but I made it to the loo. A really unforgettable experience. So Kofi I can more than relate. Nice article.

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