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Trusting a fart, and nine other things I'll never do again

I was up far too late the other night, because what better time to go full-on self destruct than during a global pandemic when you've got to be on an 08:00 Microsoft Teams call in little more than 4 hours?

Standing on my balcony, enjoying the silence of Lockdown London and wishing I had a Camberwell Carrot with which to mitigate the respiratory menace, the sudden appearance of blue lights on the street below made me drop my metaphorical spliff in momentary panic.

They hadn't come for me, it transpired.  Not yet, anyway.  Turned out it was an ambulance gliding, almost silently, into a space on the road several floors below in the deserted ghetto.  It pulled to a halt, and after a pause a paramedic descended from the passenger side, stood motionless for a minute in the road, and then released a thunderclap fart of such enormous proportions that it set off car alarms a mile away in Maida Vale.

For a second I was stunned.  Should I clap for the NHS?  Would all my neighbours emerge in these wee small hours and start banging saucepans and hooting?  They make enough noise early in the mornings already, frankly. I didn't feel anything should disturb this moment of commune between me and the already overstressed sphincter of an essential worker. Especially one thoughtful enough to avoid assaulting the respiration of his driving colleague, in the obvious absence of appropriate PPE.

The subject of flatulence had raised its head earlier when I'd been chatting to a Twitter chum. When does it happen in a relationship, if ever? 

Do you get farting out of the way early, perhaps on the third date, like a trumpet voluntary to celebrate the kissing?  Do you avoid floating your air biscuits for the duration of a relationship, terrified in case your partner should catch a whiff of the winds of poo wafting from your derrière?  It's a tough decision, because if you get it wrong, you're damned.

Because farting is always funny. Isn't it? As a fresh faced pre-teen choirboy, seated on a pew constructed like a wooden box, or, as sound engineers might recognise, a bass speaker, I once let one rip at mid point of a sermon by the Bishop of Oxford.  He actually paused mid-flow, as the booming notes of a full octave of flatus reverberated around the 1000 year old church and a dozen choristers dissolved into hysterical laughter. It probably felt like a Richter Scale 7 earthquake from his vantage point in the pulpit. I hadn't been listening, but I can only hope he was talking about God sending some kind of plague or pestilence upon the land, because it sure lingered above the choir stalls for a few minutes.

One girlfriend; the first time she stayed with me in the ghetto a handful of years ago; parped herself a bugle solo of exquisite brass section top notes from my living room, at the exact moment that I re-entered my flat carrying breakfast ingredients. She'd perhaps have got away with it ten seconds earlier, but the giggling fit that engulfed us both remains a fond memory long after the less pleasant aromas and skid marks of that relationship have faded.  

A more recent lover, drifting into sleep that very first night together, with my hand tucked comfortably between her legs, unknowingly dribbled out a breeze of long-withheld sphincter spasms that fluttered my fingers like twigs in the wind, provoking a smile rather than revulsion. It didn't smell, although naturally I was following Bill Clinton's policy on inhalation anyway.

She was mildly horrified when I shared this moment with her the following morning. I guess you had to be awake to have felt that surge of intimacy, rather than embarrassment tinged with precisely none of the relief she'd achieved the night before. Sorry I raised it. Sometimes it feels better to let these things out.

There's a point at which I might just feel I share too much information. I do have a filter, most of the time, but I'm also guilty of failing to apply it often enough. It's why I checked in with a Twitter blogging chum, to ask if I could reference the fact that she'd messaged me to tell me she was too embarrassed to 'like' or comment on my last post, because of its subject matter, even though she'd enjoyed it. She told me that I wasn't to quote her. So I haven't, Lucy. Honestly. Although wanking is nothing to be ashamed of. Much like farting, it's just something we all do.  Except my first significant ex, who'd never even contemplated a bout of self care in her life, let alone a fart. And she's a doctor, FFS. It's not right, is it?

So while I ponder the things she wouldn't do, I've been thinking about the things that I'll never do again. We all like a list, too. So I figure it's time to give you one, so to speak:

10 things I'll never do again:

  1. Pick someone up at the airport.  "The One" always warned against this, because once you've done it, and I've jumped through hoops to be there, any subsequent time you don't make it is like a dagger to the heart.
  2. Go to Alton Towers on a Bank Holiday weekend.
  3. Let my guard down with someone I haven't yet met. It's been so long since I interacted with an actual woman that I've almost lost sight of how safe it feels behind a screen and a keyboard. I'm not fooled.
  4. Beg. You never have to convince the ones that matter to stay.
  5. Accidentally purchase reduced fat cheese
  6. Date a narcissist. You'll go from being the love of their life to nothing you do ever being good enough. You'll give everything, and they'll take it all, until you're depleted mentally, emotionally, and financially, at which point you'll take the blame. This is not a subtweet. It's nobody you know, & I've long been blocked.
  7. Trim my pubes with nail scissors.  They're far too pointy & sharp.
  8. Put more than one kiss on the end of a message. I've seen 4 become standard, then more. And at the point they start to reduce, something in your heart dies a little.
  9. Look for hidden meanings. If someone says "You're too kind", they mean it, and you should run away, rather than thinking it's a compliment.
  10. Trust a fart. You don't need the details. Believe me on this one.
Things change, as we go through life. What we thought was certain becomes more uncertain. Last week's 'for ever' turns out to be this week's 'terms and conditions apply, sucker.' Caveat emptor. Things are not what they seem. Or what they used to be.

So for now, get used to the blue lights, gliding silently into your road.  And never, ever, clap a Trump.

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