It’s been a hard week for my dignity. There’s no good way to ease anyone into the sad events I’m about to relate. All I can say is, if bodily fluids are not your bag, then perhaps give this a miss because this week’s column could basically be summed up as “A Short History of Me Pissing Myself”.
Before we get into the latest in the ongoing saga, if you are planning to contact me to encourage me to do my pelvic floors, please don’t. The horse (or piss, as it were) has already bolted. I try to do the Kegels, but frankly, it is far too little, way, way, way too late. It’s bleak, but at 37, I would make an excellent ambassador for Depend incontinence products, should anyone in their marketing department like to make an offer.
The week started well in that I did all my urinating in toilets for the first few days. So far, so good. Then on Thursday, I had the idea that I would bring my two older boys to JumpZone, an incredible trampoline wonderland in Dublin. There, everyone is furnished with rubber-soled socks and shown a safety video in a small holding pen before being turned loose. It’s hard to hear what’s being said in the video but one section I did catch, and flagrantly disregarded, was the bit that implored us to “stretch” before embarking on the fun.
I even remember having a private scoff at this advice. I’m a runner, I cycle, I go up and down stairs largely without incident. I don’t need to stretch. What I need to do is pee immediately beforehand, which I duly did.
Well, with the very first bounce — despite having just peed — I was moist of gusset. Tragic. I left the trampoline dejected, though annihilating a pack of nine-year-olds in the Dodgeball cage did lift my spirits. With jumping out of the question, I deciding to try out something call Beat The Wall. Beat The Wall consisted of four walls of varying heights covered in grippy material that would-be wall-beaters must try to run up and scale. I sprinted towards the wall and before I’d even gone four steps, was felled by a white-hot pain in my left calf. I veered sideways and crumpled to the ground. Oh, the humanity. It was agony.
Limping and slightly damp from mild self-urination, I accepted that I’d been beaten, not only by the wall, but by JumpZone in general. It was a low moment. Little did I know the worst was yet to come.
Three days later and I was in Aldi doing the weekly shop — or enjoying, as I like to call it, me-time. When you have children, doing the weekly shop alone is one of life’s great treats. I look back on it now with a sort of grief for the innocent that I was — perusing the miscellaneous aisle, ignorant of what was about to befall me. I was in the queue to pay when I felt the first stirring of disaster. I needed to pee. Now the thing is, despite the non-existent pelvic floor, I have only ever had near-misses. Some of these near-misses have been nail-bitingly close but still I have managed to get to the toilet and, alright, I admit it, sometimes a well-placed bush. So I’d reason to believe this would simply be another close call.
Had I not been locked into the cash-register line, I probably would have abandoned the shopping trolley and gone in search of a loo, but as it was, the woman on the till was already scanning my things. A huge queue of people was behind me. There also didn’t appear to be a loo or bush anywhere in the vicinity.
I began stuffing the shopping into bags with every muscle in my body clenching and a desperate chant of “oh-god, oh-god, oh-god” reverberating in my head. I was locked in silent combat with my bladder. “Don’t do this to me. Please don’t do this to me,” I pleaded. Then the fight was over. A trickle, then a stream, began its journey down my leg.
A certain lucidity descended. The clear-eyed resignation of someone who has abandoned all hope. “It’s finally happened,” I thought sadly. “I’m pissing myself in Aldi.” I assessed my options as I heroically continued packing the shopping. I could pretend to faint? Fake a seizure? Gravity was taking its course with the piss but I was still managing to somewhat staunch the flow with sheer force of will. “Cash or card?” asked the lady. “Card. Thanks,” I replied through clenched teeth (every part of me was clenched at that point). I decided that much like the wall, the wee had beaten me. I was wearing tie-dyed tracksuit bottoms; if you have to be pissing yourself, they’re not the worst things to be wearing, And what a sad realisation that is to be coming to.