I am grateful to you for all of the "Good mornings," "Hellos," and "Hi theres" offered from the stalls. While I cannot express to you the level of discomfort it causes me, I even appreciate the sentiment behind the questions that require response, "How are you?" "Are you an attorney?" No one could ever fault you for a sunny disposition. Try as I might, I cannot reciprocate.
To avoid further restroom avoidance on my part and the medical issues that will surely insue, allow me to explain my comfort level with restroom banter and what I feel are reasonable parameters. First, it is my firm belief that the walls partitioning off stalls are not merely for visual privacy. We all know what's going down next door. Instead, they are there to provide some fiction of solitude, similar to one's own personal facilities at home. This is where you and I seem to differ. Evidently, you think the space above and below the walls is there to allow for some real get to know you time. It's like speed dating. For friends. On the toilet. Well, I could not like it less. Maybe I'm uptight, and maybe I'm just a bit unfriendly, but that is one place I will always be at a loss for words.
Where I can be more sociable is by the sinks, or at the door, or on the sidewalk, or really anywhere beyond the inner sanctum of the stall. We can talk about your shoes, your dog, your heart murmur, your wayward son, your dinner plans, your no good husband, or the man outside that may or may not be Sean Connery.
I tell you this so that I won't be misunderstood. I will continue to offer only the weakest oh, hi or complete silence in response to your salutations if they are offered from behind the walls. I will continue to wait you out and stare angrily at your shoes because revealing myself to you is not an option. Then you would know, for sure, that it's not a deaf person you are speaking to, but that overeager whatshername with a complicated relationship with the common printer.
Yours certainly aren't the gravest of public restroom sins. I can't even begin to understand how someone could do the unthinkable in a public restroom. I would sooner commit hari kari. All the same, please accept my neuroses for what they are and, if you would be so kind, accomodate them.
Yes, that's me who opens the outer door of the restroom, sees someone else is in there, and quickly leaves, turning the corner to avoid discovery.
Photo from: http://fascistsoup.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/bite_me_toilet_3001.jpg