Hospital Distraction

A carelessly discarded object lying on the footpath provided my son and I with many moments of hilarity this week as we walked from our car to the hospital. It took our minds off our troubles. The object in question – a used condom.

My son being the switched-on kid that he is, saw it first. Bets were immediately placed as to how long it would stay there and how many people would see it and would hurry past it. “It’s gross but funny at the same time,” he said,” but I bet that no one, not even the street sweepers will want to pick it up. You could get anything from it, maybe even leprosy.” He bet it would stay there for a whole week. Hoping to show some kind of faith in my local council I bet it would be removed in two days.

Two days later it was still there, well, what remained of it. The rubber ring bit was still there but the rest was gone. Hypotheses were quickly formed regarding its fate. After much discussion we concluded it might have been caught on the sole of someone’s shoe, blown into pieces by the bad weather, or eaten by a dog. Further bets were placed concerning the fate of the remaining rubber thingy. I felt it would be gone by the end of the day but my son stuck to his original prediction of the end of the week.

The days melded into an endless succession of trips to and from the hospital. Hundreds of people accompanied us on our trek – on bikes, skateboards, in prams, in wheelchairs. Boot-wearers, sandal-wearers, sneaker-wearers, stiletto-wearers. Dogs snuffled, cats pranced, street sweepers hovered, but the condom remained.

Jokes were formulated that resembled urban myths – the only condom to survive a nuclear holocaust, one of the objects found a thousand years from now when the hospital site had become an archaeological dig, the only condom to have ever taken root in an urban street. (Taken root, get it? For all you non-Aussies out there ‘root’ is Australian slang for well, you know – hubba hubba.)

The days passed, Alfie was discharged and insisted on walking to the car. My son began to snigger as we neared the spot where the condom lay. Lots of nudging and winking ensued. It was still there. A week later. My son did the victory dance. He had won the bet.

It’s funny how a discarded object can provide a welcome respite from the tension of dealing with a life or death situation. An object that would normally draw my ire instead drew my mirth. I wonder if the person who discarded the condom had any idea at the time of the peculiarity of its fate.

9 thoughts on “Hospital Distraction

  1. It is so like you two to notice something like that under duress. You are both as quirky as each other but it is your natural quirkiness that has kept you going this week. What will you notice next, I wonder? Please, no more condom stories – as the kids say – TMI. Gross.


  2. desperatewriter – now that is a good one. LOL!

    Jules – you are right as usual. Me bad, very bad. That was way too much info. Interestingly enough, however, it kept the boy and me from crying all the way to the hospital every day. It was a perverse kind of light relief but light relief nonetheless.


  3. I absolutely loved this! That absurd bit of distraction is exactly what you and your son needed to help you balance out the raw emotions of the week. It is delightful that you share the same warped sense of humor and not the usual mother reproach of “don’t talk about that”. Who knew that a used condom could be so entertaining! I bet you’ll still laugh about it 20 years from now!


  4. Josie – it was a weird and very funny thing to focus on. It gave us the laugh we needed.

    Meleah – hip hip hooray! I never thought I’d be cheering for a used condom but you never know what the day’s gonna bring, that’s for sure!


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