What are they queuing for? I have one idea.
We were in Waterstones, Oxford, my son spending a fortune on books whilst I spent a smaller fortune on coffee. The inevitable outcome was a trip to the toilet, but, engrossed in my Kindle – ‘Mammoth Book of Horrors’ – I left it to the very last minute. Never mind, the toilet was but a few strides away.
The key to horror is the unexpected.
When the pain became almost unbearable, the anticipation of pleasure in release overwhelming, I closed my kindle and strode – no more briskly than necessary - to the toilet.
There was a small keyboard attached to the toilet with a polite notice informing me that only customers of Waterstones and the coffee bar would be allowed admittance. I would need my receipt. I would need to punch in the code at the bottom of this receipt to gain admittance.
I galloped back to the table, trampling over prams and old ladies, a small tsunami gathering strength in my nether regions. The receipt was still there. Thank you, God. I made it back to the toilet and stared hard at the receipt. There it was - my key to salvation in very small letters.
Only it wasn’t.
First of all the keyboard in question was small, the letters positively tiny. A sharp-sighted Lilliputian would have experienced difficulty – and worse – it was at chest level so you had to both stoop and squat, oscillate the eye from keyboard to receipt, and contain a mutinous bladder whilst doing so. It might have worked for a hobbit with spy glass, a dwarf with a toothpick. It wasn’t working for me. I was sweating. Why were they doing this? Which officious twerp was responsible? Was Waterstones suffering from an influx of tramps and itinerants swarming up two floors to use their special toilet?
And then the devil laughed. I heard it, though it may have been urine on the brain: One of the code letters on the receipt wasn’t on the keyboard. I checked - twice - three times -before with a roar I charged out of Waterstones and made for the nearest pub – where toilets don’t come with star-trek keyboards designed for elves.
Pleasure truly is the release of pain and I resolved there and then never to visit Waterstones again. I’d have had more success with an online toilet.