This week, as the image above suggests, it was coming face to face (well not quite, but you know what I mean) with a most unsavoury-looking derriere. Twice within a period of six hours, no less. At least it was the same unsavoury bottom both times: at least I wasn't tied to a chair and forced to watch a parade of differently unsavoury buttock arrangements. For the record, I would like to point out that I'm not comfortable with the fact that my imagination just came up with that scenario; not comfortable at all. Time for an orange pill, methinks...ah, hello Morpheus.
To get hurriedly back on track and away from that nightmarish image, I should reassure you that I need no reminders of how lucky I am in a great many respects. In particular, among my many fortunes I am married to a truly wonderful, intelligent, funny, loving and beautiful woman. This was the first thing that flashed self-defensively into my mind as the - let's be blunt here - disgustingly fitlhy, smelly female drug addict/thief/burglar bent over to show me the alleged abscess that had bravely taken up residence on her skinny, filthy, smelly backside. I didn't ask her to, of course - nothing would induce me to encourage such a thing - but she was very keen that I take a look at the horrific injury which was the cause of her random screaming and occasional melodramatic cries for help.
Yes, I was at work (a relief, then, that these things don't happen to me on my own time - at least I get paid for this kind of suffering) with responsibility for the welfare of persons awaiting the next step of their legal system journey. At the start of the shift, the street urchin (she might have stepped right off the pages of 'Oliver Twist') had been yelling for help - indeed, she'd been doing so for the previous two days, even after a trip to the hospital to medicate her for the discomforts of narcotic withdrawal - and the signs had not been good. An hour into my shift, in conversation with her "Will you stop making these bloody ridiculous noises!", she had, in order to demonstrate the latest reason for her distress, suddenly swung around and bared her rump at me. "Look!" she said, pointing to a large red zit on her right butt-ock (I can't help but be Forrest Gump whenever I use that word). "It's an abscess!"
Now, while a prisoner's well-being is important, the use of the emergency services to deal with an emerging boil goes a little beyond the remit, and the decision was made to let her sit out (oops) the discomfort since she was due at court in a mere few hours. The fact that she was happily lying and sitting on the affected part didn't really help her case much.
Five hours later, she was still at it, whining and yelling like a toddler who has trapped his/her fingers in the plughole. "For goodness sake!" (well, perhaps something a little stronger...) I said as I approached the door of the cell, to be met with her arse for a second time.
Now, I freely admit that that a comely woman's bottom (or woman's comely bottom) is a source of much visual wonderment to me; I have stared at women's bums for most of my fifty years, and have derived joy from doing so. However...all bottoms are not created equal, and this one was one of the very unequal ones, with or without the pustule.
Without going into too much detail, I was flung - by the sight of this grubby, smelly and slightly disfigured bum (the 'thing' had indeed grown and become much more angry-looking) - into a reflection upon how lovely my wife's bum is, and in turn, to thinking about how lovely she is in every imaginable way (except the snoring; the snoring I could do without). I felt fortunate to be loved by such an outstanding example of humanity - and I always do.
I was, moments later, also left reflecting on how fortunate I am not to be that woman in that cell. I know from my conversations with her that she has almost nothing. No family. No friends. No home. She has ery few possessions apart from what she stands in. She is, by her own words, almost entirely devoid of hope, which is the saddest part of all. She has forsaken dignity, which is a step upon a very dangerous and potentially lethal slope towards darkness. Her plight is desperate. I am fortunate indeed to have all that I have and not to be in her place. I once stared through a doorway into that place; a place in my mind that I shall never visit again, not even to stare into and wonder at. It is a terrible thing.
But not as terrible as the boil on that woman's arse, up close.