dunny (n) Australian colloquialism meaning a (usually) outside toilet. Popularly used as a simile e.g. “As noisy as a dunny door in a storm” or “…stuck out (conspicuous) as a dunny in the desert.”
One day I am in London on holidays; it is Sunday morning and I am walking around Covent Garden. Suddenly – probably from an unhappy convergence of the English beer and Pakistani curry of the night before – I need desperately to find a dunny. Not in the next half hour or even the next ten minutes. Right now.
The urgency is such that I cannot trust myself to even walk so I stand very still where I am. I open my street map to give some ostensible rationality to my sudden immobility.
I look around hoping for a sign of a public convenience but nothing greets my cross-eyed gaze. The pubs are closed; no gallery or restaurant beckons my bowels welcome. Slowly, ever so slowly, I shuffle back towards the tube station thinking surely this will provide relief in the form of a public dunny complete with graffiti and plastic toilet paper. Right now that would be a sight more glorious than the Taj Mahal.
Soon, however, I know that I am not going to make it. I stand on the roadside, pretending to be waiting to cross. There is not even an alley or tree in sight. I am doomed to humiliation and, probably, arrest.
Then I notice this angry man talking to himself and crossing the street towards me. He walks by and then stops as if he has just remembered something. He comes back and stands in front of me. He pushes his half-shaven crazed face into mine and yells at the top of his voice, “F#*K OFF!”
Then he strides off, frequently looking menacingly over his shoulder as if to dare me to ignore his succinct advice. And then I suddenly realise that I do not need to go to the dunny anymore. I get on the tube and make my way back to my hotel without a murmur from my hitherto loudly aggrieved digestive tract.
And I think with gratitude of the strange quirk of fate that led me so unerringly to the one crazy Londoner who could scare me shitless.