Potty

Am pootling along in South Ken pedestrian tunnel this summer morn, rejoicing that Busker Nemesis nowhere to be seen, when come upon small family gathering of mother and two infants around parked pushchair, up against wall of tunnel.

‘Well done, Joshua,’ say mother, bending proudly over toddler.

Beside toddler, on floor of pedestrian tunnel, a main thoroughfare for millions of visitors to London’s premier cultural hub, is pink plastic potty.

Eyeballs ping out on springs like cartoon character in ‘Loony Tunes’.

Stop dead in tracks just past pushchair, stunned.

American woman stop dead in tracks just past pushchair, stunned.

‘That’s the weirdest thing ah have ever seen,’ says American woman as we stare at each other with wild surmise.

Share horrific experience with colleagues when get to work. Opinion split between those who equally stunned and those who feel that potty training, no matter where, is an important rite of passage for infants.

Chinese colleague puts things into perspective by sending me news story from Sydney Morning Herald about mainland Chinese family who insist on child defecating in seat on Delta Airlines flight from Beijing to Detroit and child being allowed to do same on train in Hong Kong.

Realise that commuting traumas have not yet reached zenith in UK.

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