Since I moved to a new office with a significantly higher number of female employees, I have become a little bit obsessed with public poos. There are people who don’t give a shit and literally do a shit, unhindered by the presence of someone else in the ladies’ toilet. Then there are people like me, the shy-bottoms, who will scope the area before going in to a cubicle, and then wait for the head count to diminish with each flush-wash-dryer-door. Sometimes, of course, the head count goes up, with new people coming in, and then things turn into one of those Mind Gym games where you struggle to keep a running tally. The latter group of people might find themselves waiting for a good ten minutes or so before the area is safe to release the faeces. Woe betide two shy-bottoms who go to the loo at the same time – a war of attrition can arise in this situation and both will sit there, hoping that the other will flush and leave, perhaps occasionally making distraction noises so that it doesn’t seem weird to be sitting there in silence. I like to slam the door on the sanitary towel bin, so that it looks like I’m up to something vaguely menstrual.
Then there’s the halfway house, doing a poo when the adjacent toilet is loudly flushing or when the hand-dryer is blaring. This is a high-risk strategy – kind of like a game of musical statues without the prize at the end (although a good shit can be reward in itself – as Al Pacino asked in Glengarry Glen Ross, “You ever take a dump made you feel like you’d just slept for twelve hours?”). There’s nothing worse than the hand-dryer stopping abruptly and finding that you cannot stop the poo from splishing loudly. The dream quickly becomes a nightmare.
Of course you can think that you’ve done everything you can to poo in peace, and then then you are disturbed right in the middle of it all. This is when the second strategy has to come in to play – stealth – you must complete your shit, wash your hands, and leave before the other person emerges from their cubicle. As long as you don’t cough, or leave some personal possessions in the bathroom, they will never know that it was you who just did that machine-gun fart. If multiple people come and go, there’s always the option of deflecting attention and blaming the stink on someone else “Well I don’t know what Cheryl had for tea last night, but I don’t think it agreed with her!”.
The Japanese are people after my own repressed heart, and have invested significant technology in solving this problem – Christ, if we just had a radio playing in there, things would be easier, I’m not even asking for Mendelssohn. The hip fuckers out there will at this point say to me ‘Hey Vicki, why don’t you just relax – it’s only taking a shit, you fruitloop!”. To those free-shitters I would respond by pointing out that if I ever heard them taking a shit I would forever view them slightly differently, so it is therefore not unreasonable to suppose that others might do the same to me. Indeed a lady in Finance did a big poo while I was in the next cubicle, then came out and had the audacity to tell me that she liked my new hair colour like nothing had happened. I have not been able to sort out finances with her since without a voice in my head shouting ‘YOU DID A POO!”.
I am curious how other people feel about this topic; I refuse to believe that I am alone on this one. Are you a shy-bottom or a free-shitter? Spill!