Intentional Design or: There’s a Reason for That Door


I’m a naturally shy person. I tend to lurk about, mouth closed, until I get a good read on any new situation I find myself in. For the most part, I keep a low profile.

This shyness translates into a natural modesty as well. I hate changing in the open locker room at the gym. I’m the squirrelly weirdo who nabs a bathroom stall to dress.

And I will always wait for the private shower stall. And yes, I have been late to work because of this.

Even if I have the house to myself, I still go to the bathroom or bedroom to change. No shedding of dirty gardening clothes as I meander through the house.

I don’t eat in the bathroom; I don’t change in the kitchen.

It’s a rule.

And this modesty thing makes me hate public bathrooms for more than the obvious reasons. I go in them only out of absolute necessity. If I think I can hold it the 45 minutes it will take me to get home, I will.

Because people talk in there. Why do people talk in there?

A public bathroom is about the last place I’m going to go if I want to make a new friend. It’s right up there with prison  and Klan meeting. And I’d hazard a guess that less than .0000001% of all lifelong friendships began in one.

Please, don’t strike up a conversation.

A simple nod is sufficient, if you really feel the need to acknowledge that we are two human beings occupying the same space. I prefer to think of the other occupants as ghosts, slipping into and out of my reality for a mere moment before being swallowed back up by the ether of anonymity.

The only allowable  conversation between strangers in the public arena should come down to these five words: please pass me some tissue. This should be followed by a silent hand off, and a one syllable expression of appreciation. Thanks.

What a glorious design! Four walls and a door provide both privacy and a natural deterrent to conversation. Or not.

A couple of days ago, I had surgery. On the way out of the hospital, I had to use the restroom. I went in, closed the stall door and attempted to sit without ripping out the abdominal stitches or crying.

“It’s a nice day.”

This was from the stall next to me. I assumed it was a girl talking on the phone. ‘Cause those nutjobs are out there too. Really, you can’t put that thing down long enough to satisfy a basic biological requirement? Are you talking someone through CPR right now?

So I didn’t respond. I was too busy trying not to inhale.

A little foot scuffled toward me under the stall. “Hey. Isn’t it great that it’s finally nice out?” The foot, encased in a red Ked, circled at me.

You have got to be kidding me.

“Mmhmm.” My acknowledgement was high-pitched both due to disbelief and the fact that breathing hurt.

“Do you know what time it is?”

“No.” I didn’t care, I was too busy trying to figure out how to stand up. This was a hospital. Shouldn’t there be help bars on the walls? I eyed the little red “Pull For Assistance” cord in dismay.

Finally, I braced one arm on the toilet paper dispenser and the other on the mini trash receptacle (gross!) and heaved, praying they would bear my weight.

Upright and wishing I had telekinesis to pull my drawers up, I couldn’t help but sigh when she kept talking.

“It’s got to be after one. Do you think it’s two yet?”

Did you just have a baby in the toilet? Are you filling out a frigging birth certificate in there?

“Don’t know.”

Drawers up, I gimped my way to the sink and scrubbed the first three layers of skin off my hands and forearms. She said something else, but the sound of rushing water drowned her out.

But I’m pretty sure she asked if I could pass her some toilet paper.

 

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7 thoughts on “Intentional Design or: There’s a Reason for That Door

  1. I saw an e-card recently that said: “People think I’m quiet because I’m shy. Actually I’ve been silent judging all of you and I think you’re all idiots.”

    Wow, that’s a lot more talking than us guys do. If we see each other before we.. do anything, and it’s the urinal, we might say a few words but otherwise just stare at the wall. If a stall, conversations cease the moment we enter one. That’s just the rules. At the sink washing hands, sure, conversations are fine. I can’t image someone talking that much. I’d be breaking out the taser. 😉

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  2. I so appreciate you, and I knew it before I learned of your restroom etiquette. Again, I have hope for the world. Hope you are recovering nicely from your surgery.

    Great post.
    Karen

    Karen

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  3. Oh my goodness, this was fabulous! I can totally relate. I have at times cut off a shopping trip early so that I can go home to my private bathroom. I can chat in the public bathroom with someone I know well, but to a stranger? Who does that? I agree: “Please pass the tissue” would suffice. Enjoyed the post!

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  4. OMG, funny I’m just reading this now, because last night at the movie theater on our way out the door I suddenly realized I had to go — BAD! So I ran into to take care of business, when who should enter the stall next to me but my mom, who it turns out ALSO couldn’t wait. And she started talking to me. SERIOUSLY? Mom, STFU! I want to PEE, not chat. *grody* Please write a post on how to make the people in public restrooms remain silent. I need that advice. BAD.

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    • I know – that whole chatty pee trait kills me. Who does this? I don’t know if it is worse for it to be a stranger or someone I know. If It’s someone I know I’d probably feel obligated to chat, so that might be worse.

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