Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Water Closet

I don't use the men's office bathroom at work. Because it's right next to the (tiny) office kitchen and the coffee maker, where you can bet someone is surely milling about at all hours of the work day.

Sure, it's fine for a...No. 1? A piss? How euphemistic do we have to be about this?

Your mileage may vary, but I'm going to dispense with the pleasantries forthright and talk like an adult, or a reasonable, hand-drawn facsimile thereof. Just pretend we're two friends talking in a bar or a salon. It makes my exposition easier, and it's more honest when discussing the subject: shit.

Children, cover your ears.


In my thirty-seven years, I have never liked using public bathrooms, for various reasons. People tend to be, by and large, completely disgusting, for one. It's easier to be rude to a stranger than to a friend, but while I've seen absolute horrors left in public bathrooms, I've also held get-togethers at my home where people have pissed, indiscriminately, all over my toilet seat. In fact, this happens, too, at my office. And the floor I work on isn't staffed by many male employees, so I know, when I go to take a leak, who the culprit is. I could be the inter-office Eric Snowden, disclosing who hawked a loogie on the bathroom floor, who sprayed piss all over the place...but it goes to the top. So, instead, I'll close my pretty mouth.

Because I want to talk about shit.

(Somewhat thematically, perhaps, when trying -- multiple times -- to provide a link to The Atlantic's article "The Private Lives of Public Bathrooms," I keep getting 502 Bad Gateway. Feels appropriate.)


I'm gun shy. I prefer home-court advantage.

And now I'm using euphemisms, so screw (fuck) it, here's the deal: I can't take a shit anywhere that is not my home. Oh, desperate times -- bowels clenching, knees shaking -- call for desperate measures, and any toilet will serve in a pinch*, but 99 times out of 100 I can't shit comfortably when I'm not at home. I physically cannot. The gates of Mordor are closed to me dropping the One Ring into Mount Doom.

It's weird, right? I won't take a shit in the office bathroom, but when I feel the need to make, I take the elevator down to the -- appropriately titled -- 2nd floor. There are two men's stalls there, but even then, dropping trou in a quiet environment, I rarely complete the mission.


The women in our office have a slightly better bathroom setup (it's not next to the kitchen and the coffee maker), but it's also not ideal. It's a single room -- or so I suppose; I've never been in there. Yet.

The office is relatively quiet, so I'm assuming that they feel the same way about taking a dump as the men do. It's embarrassing and kind of stressful -- while also being completely irrational, given that we all have to take shits every day** -- to do something so private while being in such a close proximity to people you have to see every day. Working in an office environment is not conductive to regular bowel movements.

The women, however, have recently taken to turning on their bathroom sink at full blast whenever one of them needs to take a shit. Reliably, after lunch, my female coworkers will head to the bathroom, one after another, and turn on the faucet to max strength to cover up the sounds that they are scared they might make.

And I get that it's not easy to poop. And I get that something so normal is so hard to feel free about.

But what a fucking waste of water.

 * roll with it

** and if you don't, step up your fiber game, bro

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