Oh god, this one is embarrassing….
It’s also slightly out of place in the timeline of things, but what the heck.
Setting: Westcliff on Sea, Essex, England, circa February 2011. Beautiful sunny day, late morning.
Context: Second trip to England. First trip only 2 months prior. Recently split up with long term boyfriend.
So here we go…
It is said, in one sector of my friendships, that to be pooed on brings with it the best kind of luck, and will result in a positive and significant life change. This change, of course, usually happens after the horrifyingly embarrassing event that is required prior. This is the story of that fateful horrifyingly embarrassing event.
It was winter in Canada. Things were not going well on the social or ‘life path’ front. There was only one thing for it. I had to go back to England. So while at work one day I, very much spontaneously and irrationally, booked myself a flight to England without telling anyone. I mean ANYONE. I was already assured accommodation, but it was still a very risky move. I didn’t tell my parents, I didn’t tell my recent ex-boyfriend, I didn’t even tell my friends right away. I was going to be going back to the best place in the world for a week and it was strangely a magnificent feeling.
What wasn’t a great feeling was finding out on the day of my imminent departure, that my flight was 12 hours delayed. Bloody Canadian winters…I ended up waiting in the terminal with nothing to do, for 12 HOURS. I felt very much like Tom Hanks in ‘The Terminal’…which I haven’t seen, but I would imagine it’s very much the same feeling across contexts, being trapped in an airport terminal. Eventually I received the privilege of boarding the plane, in a zombie-like state. It was another night flight, but this time I passed out nearly instantly. Screw the tiny food, I’m going to catch as many winks as I can. And I did. I woke up once the sun came up, which was about four hours sooner than it should have, and I eventually, groggily landed in the London Gatwick plane station.
Freedom, pleasure, and the comfort of that familiar smell that was England helped me relax instantly. I hopped on the train, made myself pretty and went south to Brighton for a weekend of educational entertainment, cricket viewing and awkward moments in the local rock club.
Sunday I was off to Essex, which is where I get back to the point of my story. Took the train, hauled my luggage, swore constantly that I would pack lighter next time, and eventually arrived at that wonderful flat were my best mate lived, and where I had first begun my English adventure a few months back. I was a few hours early, and when I reached her flat after walking for about a half an hour from the train station, I dropped my suitcase with significant enthusiasm (that bit is important).
I waited around for a bit, warming my face in the bright soft sunshine. I let my body relax and pleasantly anticipated the returning pleasure of being at home in that flat once again.
My mate walks up eventually, with a big smile on her face and we do the whole hugging thing that people do when they haven’t seen each other in a while. We walk up to the door, she opens it up and I lug my suitcase inside. It’s feeling very heavy still, having been dragged all the way from Brighton earlier that morning. I take off my shoes and schlep the thing up the white carpeted stairs into the main room of the second floor flat.
The flat is just as I remembered it, now with a bigger TV and coffee table that wasn’t there before. It smells the same, it feels the same and I am wonderfully relieved for a ever so brief moment. I look back to my mate to get her attention, and I see that something is bothering her. I then follow her gaze and find myself looking at the stairs.
Quite literally, shit….streaked all over the door mat and in orderly streaks up the stairs. Balls, was that me?
What had happened was, when I had enthusiastically dropped my suitcase out front of her flat, I happened to do so into a large pile of day-old shit, pleasantly deposited by one of the local wildlife. I dropped the suitcase on it right where the wheel was, so as I pulled the thing up the stairs, it wheeled it’s shitty wheel along, making skid marks up the pristine WHITE carpet.
I was mortified. She was horrified. Being an enthusiast of cleanliness as a rule, this was one of the worst things that could have happened to her that day, and it didn’t make for a very warm welcome for me either. We went to cleaning it up with strong chemicals right away. I apologized like there was no tomorrow, which was very much my style of dealing with such situations. Not like I have to very often, but in any case. She kept saying “one day we’re going to look back and laugh at this” in a terribly uneasy voice. I didn’t believe a word of it, I was so embarrassed, I could have died. In no way was this going to be funny in a couple of months. To make matters more humiliating, when her current man came by for a visit, the story was retold in great detail and I was once again the subject of ridicule. Well isn’t this a fun trip!
We spent much time talking about the incident, about how “Gee, isn’t it great, your Canadian friend comes to see you and the first thing she does is she drags shit all over your flat!” and on a lighter note, the universal significance of POO related happenings and how they change your life. She told of incidents she had had, resulting in her needing to get a mudguard on her bike and a life changing job related event soon after. Apparently it was very good luck to have dragged POO throughout her flat. It was going to improve my life apparently. So here’s to hoping.
Now, a year or so later we still joke about ‘THE POO!’ and how hilarious and awful it was at the time. I didn’t believe her then, but I guess it is rather funny now. I’m not so sure about a significant life altering event having happened, but maybe I missed it. And to think, in that photo up there, just a handful of lines above right here, I am standing there smiling, standing in POO.
-Miss Hailey Jane