Unaccustomed as I am to shopping at Dundrum Town Centre – I’m more of a Jervis Street Shopping Centre kind of gal, me – I did find myself in the public toilets there relatively recently. For those of you who have never frequented La Dundrum T.C; the ‘public toilets’ are not like those you might desperately stumble into at, say, Pearse Street train station, only to discover the ultra-violet, junkie-thwarting lighting situation in place (which is NOT conducive to inserting a tampon, just so you know).
Nor are the toilets in Dundrum akin to any you might find at a music festival. The best example of their ‘condition’ comes from the mouth of Ass Monkey, when I performed at the inaugural No Place Like Dome festival a few years back. Firstly, the Portaloo-To-Festival-Reveller quota was way off, resulting in our discovering several ‘presents’ lined up beside our jeep the next morning. Whilst yours truly refused to exit said jeep until we had not only left the site, but shoved the jeep through the most bad ass car wash we could find several times, Ass Monkey bravely made a dash for the main arena. As he passed the portaloos, he could hear a girl crying out to her hysterical friends outside: ‘Oh my god, it’s disguuuuustinnnngggg…. Oh… oh fuck…oh no…. I’m after puking all ovvvvverrr myyyyselllllfffff….Noooooo!!!!’
No. The ‘public toilets’ in Dundrum T.C. are pristine, designed to the flash level that one would expect and never runs out of toilet paper. It’s like weeing at a 5-star hotel, with the exact same quotient of richer-than-you, thinner-than-you, scorpier-than-you clientele present. It was at said jacks that I spotted a New Mammy. Now, before I became a mammy myself, I would never have noticed this woman in a million years. I would have been gossiping with my own mammy (my shopping partner of choice), checking myself out in the mirror, wishing for bigger boobs…completely oblivious to anyone else around really, never mind a struggling parent.
But now that I am a mammy, I notice other women with babies, or who are pregnant, all the time. This woman, in the Dundrum T.C. toilets, had a tiny new baby in a pram, and was nervously looking from the toilet stalls, to her new sleeping baby, to the stalls again – over and over and over. She had the look of a nervous, confused, twitchy person and in a second, I knew what great impossibility she was dealing with.
‘Need to pee?’, I asked, nodding – all knowing and all worldly.
‘How…how do you do it…?’ she trailed off, completely perplexed by the logistics. I didn’t blame her.
‘I’ll mind the baby and you go wee’, I instructed. Without batting an eyelid, she and her ready-to-burst bladder ran straight into a cubicle. I mean, I could have been anyone, but apparently I have an honest face AND my mam by my side does lend me some credibility. I mean, she was born a southsider after all, you know. Yar and double forking yar.
When New Mammy got back to us, and thanked us, I let her in on the couple of things I used to do. Like wheel the buggy all the way to the end of the row of cubicles, park it there and piss with the door unlocked so that I would have no hassle chasing after someone who tried to steal my baby. Obviously, I’d be able to see the wheels of the buggy moving from under the door and knickers down or knickers up, I’d be quick enough to punch said baby-snatcher in the head before they’d even left the jacks.
‘Or’, as my increasingly smart-arsed mother pointed out. ‘There’s always the Baby Changing toilets next door’.
Erm…yes, well there’s always that. Rather than getting stuck entrusting your baby to the good graces of lunatics like me, you should probably check what facilities there are for parents in advance of anywhere you go. Most places will likely have them these days ;o)