the F word

Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it.

Or maybe they don’t. I’ve never actually heard a bird fart.

In all my years of writing about health and wellness, I know without a doubt that breaking wind is a natural process that needs to be actioned as and when the need arises. It’s unhealthy to hold it in. That’s all good and well, but I’ve recently made a foray into the world of corporate cubicles during my peak working hours and I’ve found that allowing the natural gas process to flow is near impossible.

I’m curious – how do the masses cope? Is there a colossal collective ‘sigh’ as workers make a bee-line for the exit door at the end of the day, or have people learned to sneakily give way to nature while going about their daily work activities?

I assume that men don’t suffer to quite the same degree as women, who can barely even speak about the wholly female monthly flow, never mind noisy bodily functions. To fart in public is simply not on for most women. Not that they don’t do it – women are most definitely human. The problem is that you never quite know how its all going to play out. You may think you can do it silently and without too much of a weirdly out-of-focus look in your eyes, but what if you misjudged the amount of gas? What if you strain just a little too hard and it makes a noise? How do you recover your dignity and quite frankly respect if you erupt in front of 40 or so relative strangers that you have to see every single day?

Ah, there’s always the public bathrooms you say. But no, not really. More cubicles, albeit with actual privacy, don’t really give you the freedom to make a noise. Even in buildings where the number of toilets in relation to number of staff have been scientifically calculated, there’s absolutely no guarantee you’ll be in there alone.

This strange world I’ve found myself in has open my eyes to the incredible variety of people and personalities you’re likely to encounter daily – from the 30-something creepy nerd who still lives with his parents, to the social media guru who simply must loudly announce every single thing she is doing in a rambling monologue. And of course, the constant drone of terribly irritating popular radio show hosts. I’m astounded by how different people are and how comfortable they are with letting all their stuff hang out. Except flatulence.

I’ve been spying on the corporate inmates around me to see if I can identify the moment one of them shifts slightly in their office chair or pauses in the corridor for a quick offloading. I haven’t managed to spot a gaseous moment yet.

Maybe after being stuck in cubicle world for a while, human bodies evolve to deal with natural gas in other, less potentially embarrassing ways? If I manage to survive in cubicle world for longer than two months, I’ll let you know.

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