As the pandemic has upended the lives of so many people, living in close quarters has changed the way we interact with the world around us. And as society slowly opens up, I’m working on several methods to remember how to comport myself in public – namely, how to hold farts in and release them silently, an ability that used to be like second nature to me.
Here is how I’m relearning how to – ah, yep, I just did it again. Sorry.
As more and more people are vaccinated and hanging out in small groups, the lost art of identifying an emerging fart so that it doesn’t catch you by surprise is on the top of a lot of people’s minds. In the past few weeks, I’ve had to actively hone in on that skill, with a periodic phone alarm asking, “Are you about to fart?” Most of the time the answer is no; but it’s put this concern back where it belongs: at the front of my mind, at all times.
It hasn’t stopped the farting, but I’m definitely thinking about it a whole lot more now.
Fortunately, it’s a gorgeous time of year – a time when you can go for a walk and get ice cream, or a milkshake, and some cheese and a rich, creamy dessert and go hang out in the park with friends. Unfortunately, you may be so out of touch with your own body that the farts will come out in a violent, uncontrolled fashion. Not everybody is able to hold in their own farts, and that’s okay – we live in an ableist culture that prioritizes the ability to “hold in” and hide perfectly natural processes of the human body. But for some of us, holding in farts may have been a unique point of pride, and losing it may have caused a full-on identity crisis. Again, these are just some people.
But for many people, the ability to emit a silent, unrecognizable fart was almost unconscious behavior. But this pandemic changed everything – turning us all into little hermits who get to fart however and whenever they want. And now my fart-holding muscles are weak and out of shape, yearning to butt-Kegel their way back to doing the job they were born to do – to hide our beautiful, vulnerable, human bodily functions from the other gaseous, leaking humans around us. And isn’t that what living is all about?
So for anyone who has been burping, farting, and just kind of screaming in the privacy of your own home for a year, trust that you can regain the basic abilities you once had, even though most of them were just kind of forced on us for arbitrary reasons. I still haven’t, but the butt-Kegels have been a lot of fun!