I was walking down the hall to the faculty room today – to refill my water bottle from the yummy water dispenser as opposed to the yucky drinking fountain that’s practically outside my door – and I passed by the restrooms. This is normal. The restrooms are in the hallway. But weirdness ensued when I heard a full-voiced conversation happening between at least two unknown (to me) young men. I didn’t hear much, because I didn’t actually stop walking to listen (shame on me?), but I heard this:
“Not necessarily. You can’t make that kind of rash judgment.”
“I’m pretty sure I can make any kind of judgment I want.”
Which, in itself, isn’t the weirdest conversation. In fact, it’s kind of charming and nerdy and self-aware, and I like it. But the location. The location is … odd.
Do all teenage boys take a buddy into the bathroom and have a chat about judgment? And was this weird because they’re boys? I’m going to say no. I think I would have found it equally weird if girls were having the same chat in the same place, because I think most people, male or female, who go inside a bathroom stall, would like to pretend that they’re not doing whatever it is they’re in there doing. As opposed to – in a manner of speaking – inviting someone in to chat.
Which leads me to ponder upon the places that are strange conversational venues.
And mostly I think about public restrooms. For instance, when a person is simultaneously using, say, a movie theater bathroom stall and a cell phone, I always flush many more times than necessary. I feel honor-bound to give the person on the other side of that phone call a heads up about where the chat is taking place. Because IT’S WEIRD TO TALK ON THE PHONE WHILE YOU’RE DOING RESTROOM FUNCTIONS. It’s just weird.
And I wonder where else it’s weird. Because in general, I’m a fan of spontaneous conversation. I may have been known to strike up a grocery market chat over the merits of one brand of ice cream over another, or the joy that is freezer-aisle cinnamon rolls with cream cheese frosting in little plastic bags. I talk to people about clothes in clothing stores. I talk to clerks at every conceivable check-out register. I stop people walking past me at high school football games to tell them I like their hair.
But not in the bathroom.
Not in the bathroom stall.