Friday, July 20, 2012

Bathroom Etiquette

I have a whole slew of peculiar eccentricities when it comes to numbers, social contracts and germs. I'm a hypochondriac who's afraid of needles to get blood tests. I have to do everything in even numbers - eat, kiss, steps taken with each foot. I don't like to touch anything in a public bathroom and will do as much as I can do avoid this when I'm in them and still wash my hands.

Also, for some odd reason - probably related to my face - I get a lot of strangers talking to me. On the bus, on the train, on the street, on planes. Anywhere. They will approach me, ask something or say something, and then just stick around. And because I'm so damn Canadian (RE: polite) I find it very hard to extricate myself from the situation lest something force me (e.g. the train I have to get on arrives and they are not getting on it).

All in all, I live a mildly awkward life.

There is, however, one place that I've found that people mostly preserve the sacred code and that is in the public restroom. Everyone knows that - in the men's room, anyway - you go in, do your business, and you leave. Like in an elevator, you don't speak (unless it's just you and your buddies), you barely make eye contact with anyone if you can and then you get out.

So when the fuck did it become okay for people to just chatty-McChat-chat in the goddamn bathroom?

For the longest time - and the worst offenders are at work - it would just be I'd walk in, nod at whoever was at the sink if they noticed me, I'd go in and do my business and leave, nodding at whoever else walked in. Now, it seems, I walk in and whoever is at the sink not only says "hello" but does their merry best to engage me in conversation.

"How are you?"
"How's your dad?"
"How's work treating you?"

I bluff past this until the bathroom proper where thankfully there is but one urinal and two stalls. On my way out, whoever is coming in says something to me. When I'm at the sink, someone comes in and chats. Someone comes out of the bathroom stall and chats.


The worst is walking into the bathroom, some people are chatting and then on my way out they're still there! No. The bathroom is not a place to have a chat. It's a place to piss, shit, wash your hands/face and get the fuck out.


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