Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Noise pollution

Apparently in some former Eastern Block countries the dividing walls in apartment buildings were so thin neighbouring families could have conversations through them without having to raise their voice. A case not so much of Big Brother is watching you, but the kid next door’s big brother is listening to you. And the rest of his family. It’s a horrifying thought for someone with ulcerative colitis. I think I would actually have died of embarrassment if I’d lived there. The entire building would’ve known when I was on the toilet. Several times a day my comrades would be subjected to phhutt-phhutt-phhutt-parp-parp-parp-phhutt-phhutt-splosh, followed by an almost eerie, pre apocalyptic silence, which would inevitably give way to a further cacophony of phutting, parping and general trumping; all the sounds you could expect to hear if you lived next door to a reasonably large dinosaur with a dicky tummy. What was once a private matter between the four bathroom walls and myself has become a little more public. For want of a better sound bite, I defecate at a high number of decibels. If I’m visiting someone’s home and I need to use the bathroom, it can be excruciatingly awkward. I’ve tried various means of muffling, but all to no avail. I’ve run the taps, stuffed towels under the door, coughed at the optimum moment. It doesn’t matter what I do to camouflage my bottom noises, the simple fact remains if I can hear what’s going on outside the bathroom door people can sure as hell hear the carnage going on inside it. And so, more often than not, I emerge shame-faced and sheepish. It’s just another peculiar symptom of UC I’ll just have to get used to. But if I ever visit any one of you and I say I’m just nipping to the toilet, do me a huge favour and put some music on. Loud.