Tuesday, July 21, 2015

On Stall Talkers. Or, the Post Where I Write about Jesus and Poop.

The way I see it, there are two kinds of women in the world.

Stall Talkers and Stall Sitters.

Everyone knows we ladies like to go to the bathroom in packs. We chat the whole way to the door, chat while we wipe the smudged mascara away from the creases around our eyes and then complain about said creases as we smooth the flyaway hairs down and try to get our bra straps to stay put. We share stories about our kids while we wash our hands or maybe even give feedback on one another's outfits while we pick remnants of spinach out of our teeth.

I don’t know what goes on over in the men's room, but I will tell you this much. Bathroom time is prime social time for ladies. And there are some who choose to take advantage of it to a higher degree than others.

Stall Sitters will talk like crazy right up until the moment their stall door closes and locks. Then they shut up. They like to have a little quiet time to take care of business before commencing social hour upon their emergence from the stall.

Stall Talkers see the walls of bathroom stalls as physical barriers only and will continue their conversation long after the lock has been secured on the door. It doesn't matter that they can no longer actually see their friend's face or that they are now adding inadvertent bodily sounds to their prose, the show MUST go on!

There was a pretty significant phase in my life when I was a Stall Talker. I grew up in a house with only one bathroom and sometimes you had to multi-task a bit. If my mom was in the bathroom but I really needed her to agree to drive my friend and I to the movies because I was on the phone with said friend at that very second which meant I had stretched the spiraled cord (yes….the CORD) out so far that it now looked like a strand of my curly hair when I'm stranded outside on a humid day, I was NOT about to wait until she was done in there and then risk trying to call my friend back and getting the dreaded BUSY SIGNAL.

I'm betting there are kids I work with right now who have never actually heard a busy signal. In other "make you feel old" news, the movie Clueless came out 20 years ago and the twins Chandler and Monica adopted would be turning 11 this year.

I cannot even tell you the number of times growing up that my mom would march right into that bathroom with no concern whatsoever for a closed door or a person on the toilet. If she needed to get something done in there, by golly she was going to do it.

I grew up a Stall Talker.

Then I had kids and I became a Stall Sitter - simply because it was suddenly impossible to be one.

Once I had babies who grew into toddlers who could walk and talk and open door handles, I came to truly appreciate the beauty of a closed bathroom door. There was a solid five year period there where I rarely got to conduct my bathroom business in solitude. I always had some sort of company - the door handle jiggling, shrieking and crying, fingers crawling from underneath the door, a kid who has suddenly become a home invasion prodigy picking the lock and marching in to play with the toothpaste.

I have one particularly vivid memory of a nursing newborn, a clingy toddler and a bladder that couldn't wait. I made it work. One kid ate while the other kid emptied a box of tampons all over the floor.

But now that the boys have mostly moved beyond this stage, I confidently close and LOCK that door. When I'm in public, I prefer to push the pause button on conversation during stall time because I can't help but find it a smidge weird.

It's just that somehow I managed to make friends with a whole gaggle of Stall Talkers! All the time, I find myself awkwardly trapped in a conversation with someone who wants to just keep plugging along while the Tinkle Tune plays and I wind up offering little more than the obligatory "Uh huh" and "Yeah" until I have safely flushed, zipped and emerged. What's even worse is when the Stall Talker waits for you to come out and just keeps on a'talking to you while she and her empty bladder and freshly washed hands wait for you to get 'er done.

And then I come out and she looks at me all like "I know what you did in there."

There are plenty of situations where I work well under pressure.

This is not one of them.

Know what's really fun though? When I, a Stall Sitter, find myself inadvertently sandwiched in a stall in between two Stall Talkers. Suddenly these gals can't just use their normal speaking voice to carry on their conversation anymore and have to kick it up a notch. So now I'm trying to use muscles I didn't even know existed to keep my presence as inconspicuous as possible while the women on either side of me are straight up yelling at one another about the cute striped skirt they found on clearance and the concerns about whether or not it would go with that pink top she got last week and is it too skanky to wear to church this weekend?

Honey, if you have to ask your bathroom buddy if that skirt appropriate for church…..it's not. I can tell you right now from my isolated bathroom stall, it's just not. 

So let's agree to disagree on this one. If you are a Stall Talker, I extend to you grace and acceptance. 

(Custom suggests I add a "in the name of Jesus" at the end of that last sentence, but I'm not sure what his stance on the issue of toilet talk is because I suspect that must have been recorded by one of the disciples whose work never made the final cut for the Bible. Pretty sure that guy was a Stall Talker who just couldn't get enough grace and gospel talk so he just kept on going and likely wrote down stuff that Jesus said while pooping. I'm sure it was great and all because, hello, he's Jesus. It's just that I think it's kind of a violation of Jesus's privacy to record his bathroom banter. Just my two cents.)

(And yes, I'm positive Jesus pooped. Fully human and all that. Although I might argue that even though it's not explicitly stated in the Bible, it wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if he was the one person EVER who could actually say for real that it didn't stink.) 

(If someone actually HAD written down stuff that Jesus said in the bathroom, I'm pretty sure it would be recorded in the Gospel of John.)

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