I remember a few years ago in a busy shopping centre Jess announced that she really needed a toilet, could I see any signs? I answered that no, she looked perfectly comfortable to me.
Public toilet incidents – I should say toilet incidents that occur in public – are something many people dread. Last night I experienced an event, though a minor one on the continuum of public matters of the toilet, that affected some passers-by more than it did me.
It was a surprise trouser cough while walking down a busy street involving a lovely young family and their dog.
We'd just left a restaurant called Chutney, operated by the terrific gentlemen pictured above, and were stumbling towards home, having binge-drunk in moderation as usual. Coming the other way on the narrow footpath was a family comprising mummy, daddy, seven-year-old, baby in a pram, and a deliriously happy-looking golden retriever on a lead. In order to get past cleanly Jess slowed her pace and fell in a step or two behind me, thereby narrowing our combined street footprint and giving the familial rabble the space they needed to get by without having to disentangle to any great extent.
Two things happened at once.
I had almost gotten past the group when an accidental but rather audible 'parp' delivered itself from my caboose. This was bad enough but it was precisely at this point that the poor old retriever happened to swing his snout in the direction of my bum, such is the wont of dogs whose head height matches the average human crotch height.
To the casual observer (in this case the whole family plus Jess) it appeared that the doggie had heard the toot and purposefully swung back to steal a deep sniff.
Blessedly, I had rounded a corner and was out of sight almost right away and was spared any direct embarrassment. Jess, however, was still abreast of the group and eye contact was made. She described the brief non-verbal interaction as follows.
"I'm not sure who was more embarrassed," she said.
"I kind of gave an apologetic shrug on your behalf. Farts happen, after all. Plus men are disgusting pigs. That kind of thing."
But the poor family seemed even more mortified, according to her, as the realisation dawned on them that they owned the kind of dog that likes to sniff farts in public. She got the impression that in Spain, owning a dog with vulgar habits brings shame to the family.
I'm probably the only one who knows that the dog is innocent. I had enough peripheral vision as we passed to clearly see that the dog was swinging his head purely by coincidence before I delivered the ripping fart. Just an unfortunate coincidence of timing.
Karma being what it is, when we arrived home we found the cat's diarrhoea to have returned. I think he's feeling better now. He doesn't seem to experience the same degree of shame as does the average Spanish golden retriever.
All that aside, I can report that Bar Chutney was a terrific find. The operators are a Frenchman and a Brit couple who moved to Spain a decade ago and started cooking. To establish a point of difference in this city of beloved tucker they opted to go for Indian flavours, which are quite rare here.
The food is bloody terrific, though apparently it does make you fart.