Look at the Disney Princess in the picture above. Actually LOOK at her face. Do you know why she has that frozen, slightly startled and not entirely positive expression?
It’s because she can smell a full nappy. In fact, she can’t just smell it: the odour of festering baby pebbles is so powerful that EVERYONE can smell nothing but cloying, choking, unimaginably foul turds. It’s worth pointing out that all of us: the family, the princesses and the rest of the crowd, are trapped inside a tower in sweltering heat in the middle of the summertime at Disneyland Paris.
Well, not all of us.
Daddy isn’t there…
…which brings me to the subject of today’s blog post.
I have a confession to make: it’s not good.
You know how, in life, there are things you’re proud of and things you’re not proud of? You might be proud of your family, your kids and your scholastic or business achievements….but know, deep down, that you’re actually a bit of a tit. You might be proud of your looks, but secretly suspect that from the wrong angle your face actually resembles a penis with teeth.
Well, I’m extremely proud of lots of stuff, but there is one thing I’m not very proud of. It’s something I don’t do very often, but – boy – do I ever pick my moments. Quite simply, it’s this: when the going gets tough, I tend to run away from stuff…and I mean that quite literally.
I’m like a spineless, cowardly version of Forrest Gump.
Occasionally, I use this is as a weapon. If I see someone I don’t like (which is usually either a bigot, an intellectual snob or some other form of odious, smarmy biped), I wave at them and wait until they’re really close…and then I RUN THE HELL AWAY.
Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. The next time you see that guy from the office who only ever talks about his car or his sexual conquests or that girl who always pays you compliments in a way that actually puts you down, walk towards that person and then run away. It will completely astonish them, and there’s quite honestly nothing they can do but watch. This is fantastic fun at Tesco, because it adds the thrill that, at any moment, you might have to do it again when you round the end of an aisle.
There are, however, two times that I have run away from a situation where I really should have been a man and stuck it out.
The first was when I was sixteen, and driving to work with my poor mum. In my defence, she’d bought a really crappy Vauxhall Cavalier which had spent more time in the garage than it had in the road outside our house. This lumbering hulk of a mechanical paperweight was about as useful as a condom machine in the Vatican, and it broke down so many times that I was sick – utterly sick – of it. So when my mum pulled up at a busy traffic crossing in Broadstairs at the head of a line of traffic and the engine suddenly sputtered and died on her….
….I got out of the car and ran.
I ran and ran and ran.
Then I went shopping.
I didn’t see mum again until three o’clock in the afternoon, when she came and got me in a taxi when I called her from Birchington….
…and that lovely story brings us to the event in the picture.
It’s the height of a high, sweaty summer at Disneyland Paris and I’m in the worst mood imaginable. This is because we’ve had to buy a ticket to get into a queue, and we’ve been waiting ages. AGES.
Nowhere else on the planet Earth do you buy a ticket in order to start waiting for hours, unless you happen to be attending a book signing by some ridiculously popular celebrity or you’re one of those unfortunate people who use British Rail in order to get to work.
So, for a meet and greet with the Princess, you buy your ticket at – say – ten o’clock in the morning and then you come back at three o’clock and wait for a few hours in a killer queue. Only, in this case, the queue is extra massive because Frozen is still at cinemas worldwide, every kid in the world wants to meet Elsa and they’ve chosen to house the Princess inside a tower that basically consists of a spiral corridor that just winds round and round and round and round like you’re trapped inside one of Willy Wonka’s demented creations.
There’s only ONE way out: you quit the entire experience, leaving your tiny children heartbroken and whining like safari park chimps when all the bananas are taken away.
There are no toilet facilities inside the tower, and if you move from your space in the queue, then you’re basically saying – in the words of Duncan Bannatyne – ‘I’m ooot’.
It is in this exact situation that my wife and I begin to get a tiny and very faint whiff of turdlings.
We look at each other.
Then we look at our six-year-old son, just in case.
Finally, our eyes alight on the usual suspect: our tiny daughter.
She’s smiling up at us, but it’s the sort of smile a body builder would give when they’re pushing five hundred pounds…so we both know she’s filling her shorts.
We look at each other again.
The horror creeps in.
It’s the worst situation imaginable because we know we’re in the middle of the tower and that there’s no way out….
…and that we have around twenty seconds before the families around us begin to notice the smell.
Boy, do they ever notice the smell.
A sort of ‘Whodunnit’ live action show begins, with a burly greek guy grabbing his nose and two women behind him saying, quite loudly: ‘Oh! What’s that smell? God, it’s awful!’
The heat in the tower intensifies as more and more people start to gag: an old man leans against the wall while his wife wretches a couple of times and two little girls start crying.
My wife is refusing to move. She’s saying it with her eyes, but the lack of intention is clear. We are at Disneyland for a BIRTHDAY….and they’re going to meet Elsa no matter what. She’s not going to Let It Go.
….not for anything.
It’s at this point that I lock eyes with my wife and she knows, she just knows, that I’m going to run.
I smile lovingly at her.
I look down at my two beautiful children.
I reflect on what an incredibly lucky guy I am to have such a perfect family.
Then I run.
I run and run and run.
I’m back at the hotel in just under an hour. Thankfully, the room service is incredible, so I have a pretty good afternoon. That Johnny Depp film is on: the one where’s he a lazy writer who hangs around in his pyjamas.
My wife gets back to the hotel just after 6pm. It turns out that Elsa wasn’t available for the Meet and Greet, so they met Cinderella instead.
The picture says it all.