This blog is not for the faint-hearted. Its contents will never persuade anyone to give me work – certainly not after they read this post.
Mr Mason and I like to live dangerously. Well, just sometimes. Today is week 3 of our Mindfulness course and this week we are doing Mindful stretches. It’s the kind of scene you see in a good old fashioned sit-com. Lots of people lying on blankets on the floor stretching in a variety of poses. Some are lithe and supple, some are less so and therefore the rolling around is less attractive. There is also the problem of bringing the knees up to the chest. There is a palpable ripple of anxiety that goes around the room as the less flexible of us wonder whether there will be a telltale escape of gas. Having consumed just an apple on the way to the class, I wonder if it will be me and rarely have I squeezed the requisite muscles harder so as not to embarrass myself in front of a class full of the wealthy of Fulham together with a smattering of us cancer and ex-cancer lags. Luckily, no-one lets rip which is a huge relief. It could so easily have been Mr Mason. As a teenager I went to a yoga class with a friend. We were the lithe and supple ones then and the rest of the class were – well, probably in their thirties and upwards. During a bending move, one of the older ladies let out an enormous fart and my friend and I, together with the rest of the group, laughed. The difficulty came when the rest of the group stopped their polite giggle and we were still laughing, so much so that movement became impossible and we had tears of laughter running down our faces long after everyone else had gone back to the serious business of yoga. I believe we just left the class in the end and never went back.
Passing wind can be a fraught business. I was once in the ladies toilet at the Natural History Museum with my friend L (she of the plastic bag knickers) and, once in the cubicle, she farted loudly. On emerging, she asked me whether I thought it was rude to fart in a public toilet. I think the answer has to be no. If not in a toilet, then where? On a trip to Newcastle with her once, she also let rip loudly as we were walking along. She says she cannot help it but I can’t help feeling there is a sense of merriment about her flatulence and that she is perhaps more at ease with herself than many of us are. Before we were married, Mr Mason and I were shopping when I was overcome with that terrible urge we are all aware of (apart from my friend, L, obviously) and succumbed to it silently and deadly. It was so overwhelming I moved away, my eyes watering. Mr Mason, still in the days of viewing his bride-to-be as wholesome and attractive, glared menacingly at a young man who was also shopping at the same time. When we emerged, Mr Mason asked if I had smelled the terrible aroma. I admitted I had. He went on to say he had given the perpetrator a suitably disdainful look to let him know he knew he was the source of the terrible stench. It was many years before I could admit the perpetrator was myself and that I put it down to his Mum making me eat Smash (the dehydrated potato product that, reconstituted with water, tasted like I imagine cardboard tastes). The Smash also still had lumps in. I rest my case. Mr Mason’s godfather is extremely deaf and often lets rip, possibly congratulating himself in slipping one out silently. Unfortunately for him, the rest of us are all possessed of good hearing.
That evening, as we retire, I make my way into the bedroom to hear a girl saying “Look at her! Did you ever see a woman as ugly as that?” which quite upset me until I realised Radio 4 was on and it was a programme about The Twits. Mr Mason has not smuggled a small child in with the express purpose of upsetting me. What a relief. As I root through my box of medication to find the requisite pills to take, Mr Mason takes a sudden interest. In many respects, Mr Mason and Dog are as one in that they take interest in the noise of anything vaguely crinkly eg plastic packets, biscuit packets, crisp packets. They see them as a source of treats which, in this case, is not forthcoming for Mr Mason. They also have synchronised their bladders somehow which would surely make the basis for a good study. I turn out the light and lie in the darkness, knowing that sleep will be coming for me shortly, reflecting on what an entertaining thing flatulence is and that, old as I am, I will never cease to find it funny. Happily, I just can’t grow up.