Public trouser removal

It’s early morning. Or it’s not that early. It’s 8am. Which some people may not consider to be early, but it feels early when you, y’know, have to wake up 8am. I’m standing in my bay window drinking coffee and feeling confused. I’m confused because it’s a beautiful day outside, with nary a cloud in the sky. And yet it is raining. Sideways. It does this a lot in Cornwall, and I don’t quite understand the physics of it because, as hard as I try, I am not Carol Kirkwood.

My confusion is caused by the fact that I recently acquired a pair of waterproof trousers, and I don’t know whether to wear them or not. They’re an amazing invention. They’re basically a coat for your legs. I didn’t realise how much I needed that in my life until I could look back on how things were before. But it’s sunny as it rains. My waterproof trousers are amazing, but if I wear them to work and the rain stops I’ll look like a bellend.

I eventually decide to take the plunge. I pull them on, tucking my dress into the waistband like a class act, and shuffle out of the house making a plasticky noise with every step. Once outside, I climb onto my bike and set off up the hill for work.

The hill doesn’t last too long before it flattens out, but by the time I get to the top I’m already sweating like a pig badass athlete. I’ve made the wrong clothing choice. The rain has all but stopped, the sun is fully out, and the trousers are making me feel like something you boil in the bag. I am at a metaphorical and, coincidentally, literal crossroads.

In a split second I make a choice, and pull into the car park of the doctors. I happen to know that there’s a little space behind the building where I occasionally leave my bike when I have to go in. I hop off, quick as a flash, and whip down my waterproofs.

I have a skirt and tights on, so it’s not terrible, but it mostly certainly isn’t pretty either. I’m not about to take my boots off in a wet car park so the trousers get stuck around my ankles and I have to hop from foot to foot and kick my legs to get free. I bend down to get the elastic cuffs (have I mentioned these trousers are stylish?) over my heels, and I feel a breeze somewhere that means my knickers are on display. But it’s so close. With one final pull, I emerge victorious from my nemeses.

I pull my skirt back down and turn around, only to find a nurse standing by my bike. She has a bin bag in her hand. All she wants is to get to the skip and to not have seen what she’s just seen. But it’s too late for both of us.

We nod a polite good morning. I get back on my bike (in a skirt this time, so it’s no more dignified) and she finally gets to get rid of her rubbish. I cycle away.

We will never mention this again. Even though I live in a small town now and we both know I’m going to be seeing her in about a week to pick up my repeat prescription.

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