There is nothing remotely pleasant about having irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). You can eat a perfectly good meal, identical in every way to one you have eaten before, yet by the time you have walked two blocks from the restaurant your abdomen is one rolling mass of cramps. You then have about fifteen minutes to find a bathroom --every second of which will be indelibly printed on your memory-- or you will never wish to wear your current outfit again.

I liked the trousers I was wearing today. A bathroom needed to be located fast. 

So started the near run towards the mall. I contorted myself into various peculiar postures at each set of traffic lights before falling through the doors of a large department store. Since I had no intention of being a paying customer, the anonymity of a multi-level shop was preferable to trying to sneak past the staff at Starbucks. 

Up the escalators I scooted, trying to smile in a pleasant and relaxed manner at the other shoppers and resist the urge to kick small children out of my way. Into the bathroom I fled to discover I was at the back of a line. 

It was okay... the line was moving quite fast... I could wait... probably.

My turn came and I zipped down to the vacated stall to see a traditional hole-in-the-ground toilet. I just couldn't use it. Normally, I shrug and squat but I knew I had to be there for a while. My knees didn't feel up to it. This meant I had to turn away, walk back up the aisle and join the end of the queue. To add insult to injury, this particular restroom had an accompanying make-up area so I had a significant audience of reflected women and lipsticks for my unusual actions. Lipsticks are so judgmental. I glared at one in its black tube, daring it to mock me. I might have been feeling slightly stressed.

The cubicle stayed unoccupied. Evidently, everyone thought that I had not used it because it was blocked or over-flowing or filled with monsters. I thought about saying:

"No, no monsters. I am merely rejected your entire culture by demanding you provide facilities like the ones I have in my own superior country."

Somehow it just didn't sound right. I waited. I tried not to soil my clothing. My turn came again and I silently prayed that the next stall to become free would be one with a western toilet. A door swung open and I stumbled in to see all my --greatly reduced at present-- desires in cream plastic. 

It was all going to be fine and what was more, I could even write my blog post on my iPad while I waited for the fires to abate. I'll leave you to decide if I really did that.