Maybe it’s age, a propensity towards flatulence, or a combination of both, but lately it’s with unerring frequency that I experience something I have dubbed the ‘colon fart’. And while a straw poll suggests this isn’t the most common of physical ailments, those brave enough to share their own experiences of the phenomenon suggest I am not entirely alone in having them. But that doesn’t make them any less pleasant; not due to the entirely benign effect they have on me, but because of the assumptions they elicit in others.
Let me explain.
Imagine you are sat on a train, or stood at a bus stop, or hanging around in a waiting room. It’s quiet. If you’re on the train, it’s at a station. If you’re at the bus stop, the traffic has lulled. And if you’re in the waiting room, you’re in England (people who strike up conversations with strangers in this country are either mad, pervy or foreign – it’s just not done).
Suddenly, and quite unexpectedly, you feel a build up of windy-pops in your lower gut – a bottom burp is imminent! In the privacy of your own home or car this would be quickly released with (one would hope) a satisfying parp and the sweet noxious smell of success. But alas, civilians are present. Most of us have an in-built predisposition to protect our fellow man, and so you instinctively want to spare them the trauma of inhaling your internal smells. It’s only polite. And of course (especially if you’re English) you want to protect yourself from the shameful embarrassment of letting rip in public. Thankfully, due to years of finely honed sphincter control, this is not a problem: you simply clench in the appropriate manner, and let that little bubble of toxic air ascend back up your rectum for safe and considered dispersion at a later time. Civilians protected; embarrassment spared!
Unless, inexplicably and uncontrollably, it turns into a colon fart; a painless yet agonising physiological process by which the rearrangement of pressures within your lower digestive tract creates a resonant cacophony of intestinal noise that, for all intents and purposes, sounds like you just farted, even though you altruistically held it in.
Everyone looks around to see the perpetrator of this most heinous of social crimes. What the hell are you supposed to do? Loudly explain to the gathered masses that while that may well have sounded like you just passed wind, it was in fact an internal rearrangement of gases, and that if they consult their olfactory senses they’ll notice that no odour has been unleashed upon them? Of course not. You just sit there and absorb the glaring condemnation.
Actually, during one particularly excruciating episode of colon farting, some other bastard sat nearby took the opportunity to use my resonating rectum to disguise his own ‘silent but deadly’. And I knew exactly who it was, his face unable to hide the delight of slipping his awful stench into the room and letting me take the blame! I doubt bouncing up and down on my seat and yelling “It wasn’t me, it was him!” would have remedied the situation.
Curse my ebullient bowels.