The Silent P

Now, I’m not one of those people who can’t do their personal business in a public restroom. I’m pretty lax about the whole situation, to tell you the truth. If I have to go, I go. I care even less about the condition of the facilities now that the need to go is even more urgent.

But I suppose I can understand how one would be self conscious about such bodily functions. I know that I am a little bit out of the norm when it comes to things like burping, farting or otherwise making my body known in public. That’s fine. But there’s prudish and there’s just plain freaky.

Maybe it’s just me, but it completely weirds me out when I go into a public restroom, see another pair of feet in a stall, but hear nary a sound. No breathing. No rustle of clothing. No spinning of the toilet paper roll. No tinkle. No flush. When this kind of thing happens, I find myself paying extra attention to all the normal sounds of bathroom use that I am making. I don’t think I’m excessively loud in the restroom, but when there is another person present, even though they are secluded in their own stall several feet away, every sound seems more pronounced. It unnerves me.

I can understand if you’re trying to be courteous and hold back the gas or would rather not drop a deuce in the presence of a stranger. But no sound at all? I don’t know. It worries me. It makes me feel like I should say something. Like ask this other person that I only know exists because I can see a pair of ankles and shoes if they are okay. I don’t, of course, but part of me always wonders, as I wash my hands, fix my hair, and walk to the door, if that person is going to make it. Because what if they never have this public space to themselves? Do they just not go? Sit in the bathroom for hours and just hold their breath, bladder and bowel for all eternity? Can’t a person die from that sort of thing?

On the other end of the extreme, however, are the restroom stall cell phone talkers. These are people I worry about for completely different reasons. I know that some folks will take their phones with them into the bathroom at home. I don’t quite understand that, either, but at least I don’t have to listen to the conversation. When you have a phone conversation in public, I think it’s always best to keep it appropriate for a public place. Because there are certain things the public doesn’t need to know about you, your medical issues, your sex life or what have you. To have a cell phone conversation in a public restroom seems to cross the line even if the conversation itself is not covering anything more than who is to pick up your children from daycare that day.

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