(Pubished here https://bit.ly/2pAiheg)
There are two kinds of people in the world.
Those who stride in to the office bathroom and those who hide in it. The former, are usually the people who own the cubicles and who make it their life’s mission to tell the rest of us what they ate and drank for their last twenty meals. Like that ultra-motivated athlete in every Nike commercial, they just do it. I, on the other hand stand there in a corner, mimicking the body language of a kitchen lizard who’s just realized that the lights are switched on.
In case, you haven’t guessed it by know, I have a serious bathroom anxiety. The clinical term for which is paruresis aka the fear of answering nature’s call in presence of known people. It makes my everyday trips to the office bathroom feel like the long walk across the wall, all the way to the night walkers.
As if showing up for early morning meetings, keeping my desk tidy and keeping tabs on the latest office gossip isn’t exhausting enough, that my self-conscious brain has to spend the rest of its valuable time in acknowledging another people’s presence in the bathroom. To prevent a gross attack on my cubicle neighbor’s auditory nerves, every day I remind my bladder to pretend like he’s Tushaar Kapoor from the movie Golmaal. But only less irritating.
Each time, I spot a familiar pair of heels from the little gap between the cubicle door and the floor, I feel the urge to get up and leave. You may call it an expensive pair of Charles and Keith, but I’d like call it a full-frontal blow to my privacy. It makes me wonder, how a society that fought for individual rights year after year, finds it perfectly normal for coworkers to their business standing/sitting, an arm’s distance away.
You know what’s worse than having to make a small talk with a lady colleague? Making a small talk with her on a commode. Dear, cubicle neighbor please don’t tell me what you ate for lunch today. Much to my dislike, I already know. Besides, let’s not pretend I’m the only judging out there. I get that your bladder works faster than Flash travelling through time but you don’t always have to say “I’ll wait for you outside” each time I take 50 seconds extra. Yes, I take long because I’m I use the flush 5 times to drown the peeing sound. No, I’m not wasting water, I’m merely preserving my self-respect. Like you should respect yours by not leaving a floater. Or for that matter taking a dump at all in the office loo! I mean, shouldn’t there be a blanket ban on pooping during work hours? I mean really? You just went in the morning. You need to again? But given our rajma chawal addiction I guess pooping won’t be banned anytime soon and as a rational human being I get that. But please get that bathroom decorum, deserves a serious dialogue. At the cost of sounding like Sheldon from Big bang, I have to say the idea of printing out every body’s bathroom schedule and mailing it to the entire staff sounds really nifty. It’s just like booking a meeting room but for a private cause.
Mrs. Funnybones in one of her recent articles confessed that she is willing to share with her husband-her heart, her body, her life and (grudgingly)even her food but she will never her share her toilet. She said that to her HUSBAND. The man she exchanges bodily fluids with. Because, that’s what logic demands. Boundaries. Both in personal and professional worlds. But for some reason ladies, especially in India, are known to have the habit of going to the bathroom in multiples of two as if there’s a picnic going on in there. What’s really happening there is an overload of information that nobody needs. You don’t need to know whether the girl from the sales division washes her hands after a pee but in there you will know and you will be left with a crippling habit of carrying a hand sanitizer. You don’t need to know that the girl who thought was your officer buddy is fond of cauliflower but in there, by the gift of smell, you will know, and you will be forced to reevaluate your friendship with her.
But it is not only for this reason that bathroom visits need to be alone. It has been noted in ancient texts over thousands of years that bathroom are our private sanctuary. An escape from the grind of daily grind of life. A place to clear more than just your head. On days, you feel the need to assert power over yourself, the commode becomes your indisputable throne. When darkness dawns upon your soul, a ray of light piercing through the (exhaust) window fills you with hope. All great artists have known to have their Eureka moments while channelling their beautiful tooshies. I dare you to name one who had it while listening to their boss complain about the company’s bottom line from across the door. Or while sighting extra-terrestrial things on the bathroom floor. Yes, that happens in ladies room. And for the sake of your mental well-being, don’t ask me what that is.
But rant as I may, I know the world wont change. Bathrooms will remain depressingly communal and Japan will have to come to my rescue. Japan, the inventor of amazing things like baby metal bands and TV shows called Kimodo v/s Kommodo, has patented the technology to cure our bathroom shyness. Apparently, every bathroom in Japan comes with fitted with Sound princess an electronic device that emits the sound of flush, every time, the bathroom door is locked. The flush sounds masquerade the sound of doo doo and pee pee splashing into water saves us from the worry of being judged, or scorned. It is the things wet dreams are made of.
Now all I need is crash course in making a small talk with my cubicle neighbour and my bladder will oblige me with blessed release.