Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Do Not Disturb

We are all people on the go. We have things to do and people to see. Most of us spend a good deal of time each week away from home. And nature doesn't stop calling just because we're far away from the comfort and privacy of our own personal bathrooms. When we spend 9 hours a day at work, we're going to have to use the bathroom there. The public bathroom, available to all. And since it's at work, it's a pretty good bet we're gonna run into someone we know when we go.

While we are both standing there at the mirror washing our hands or making sure our teeth are debris-free after lunch, we can engage in pleasant chit-chat. We can say a quick "hey" as you're going in and I'm coming out. Maybe even have a short exchange if we haven't seen each other yet that day. Sometimes the bathroom can be the perfect place for passing on the latest juicy office gossip.

But the second that stall door closes behind me, all that must stop. I want to engage in the suspension of disbelief. I want to believe that there is a cone of silence covering my completely and totally private stall. I want to delude myself into thinking I am in my own, private bathroom with no one else around.

I need to pretend that you can't hear the strange sounds emanating from my body and that the occasional unpleasant smell accompanying those sounds exists only to me. In turn, I will pretend that I do not hear you ripping the wrapper off a tampon or that I am totally unaware that you have, for whatever personal reason, had to tear off a second wad of toilet paper. I definitely want to forget that you can stand on the other side of my stall door, look through the crack between the door and the wall, and see just how much my thighs spread on the toilet seat.

We do some awful stuff in the bathroom. It's the kind of stuff that is so intensely private, we hide it from our spouses and our mothers (once we reach a certain age). So I would really like to pretend that there isn't someone sitting just 2 feet away from me while I'm doing it. But the cone of silence doesn't work when people try to talk to me while I'm in my stall. So, please, respect the cone. Don't talk to me. Pretend I'm not there, just as I am pretending you're not there. And definitely do not tap my foot! (That one's for you, FH.)

I will be more than happy to talk to you as soon as I am standing at the sink, washing my hands.


Meryl said...


BellsforStacy said...

HAHAHA. I have this same problem. People talking to me and I find myself mouthing "shut up, shut up, shut up!" with my eyes closed.

Bob S. said...

So Glad I'm a guy.

This isn't a problem for us usually.

We maintain silence, avoid eye contact and barely acknowledge the existence of another person in the rest room.

Kylie said...

Oh my word. I am sorry your experience was so traumatic. But I totally agree & understand.

S said...

Kylie's alive! Yay! Just this afternoon, I thought to myself it has been way too long since we've heard from Kylie.

My experience wasn't that traumatic. There's just a couple of women who don't seem to have my need for boundaries.

Bob, I've always been just a little curious to see just what goes on in the men's room. Urinals are just such a bizarre concept to me.

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