One of the things I really hate doing is going to a women’s bathroom. It could be the women’s bathroom in a huge public place (nasty – like the ones in Penn Station in NYC) or the clean and neatly appointed ones like in the building where I work. However , there are times (many) when the need to seek relief trumps avoidance no matter what the state of the facility.
Thusly resigned, after getting situated in ‘the stall,’ the next order of business is to make sure there is enough toilet paper. I am now religious about this because I once found myself high and dry (not) and had to beg a complete stranger to pass me handfuls of the stuff under the stall wall.
I also try desperately try to avoid a bout with number two. In fact, if I am indeed desperate and someone else is in one of the stalls, I am prone to developing anxiety, which can impede progress, if you know what I mean. When the inevitable occurs, I have a strategy. I have several in fact. But this particular one involves listening to see if I can figure out where my bathroom cohabitant is at with her progress. If it sounds like she is coming to the finish, I will try to wait. If I cannot wait, I try desperately to remain biologically silent, including tooting ‘announcements’ of what is soon to follow. However, since I tend to be a gassy person, well – you can do the math.
When I am finished, I wait in the stall until the all-clear of silence sounds – no footsteps, no phones beeping, no water running and no makeup cases snapping – and that is when I make my exit. A nice, quiet, anonymous exit.
The other day I had one of those “I just can’t wait” wait episodes, and to my chagrin, there was a woman in the only other stall in that bathroom. This was at 7 a.m. no less. As she seemed to be on a similar trajectory as I, I felt somewhat relieved. That is, until she started moaning. This was a new one and I was at a loss. Should I ask if she was okay? Should I just continue to keep my mouth shut? I once heard there is this unwritten rule of toilet etiquette that you don’t carry on conversations with the woman in the next stall. I’ve been wary of toilet chats ever since.
Anyway, after taking care of my own business, I listened for a bit longer and decided that my stall-partner was not in any real distress. As I always try to do, I whisked myself out of that bathroom so neither identity would be revealed to the other. Once again, I succeeded in guarding my identity as the phantom in the toilet.