The only things I intended to do were blow my nose and wash my hands. Isn't that what a bathroom is for? Evidently not. For when I burst through the door in search of tissue, I became party to an animated conversation between two stalls at opposite ends of the row.
The conversation wasn't typical bathroom gabbing though. No exchanges about men or shopping or coworkers. It was an intense intellectual debate regarding the writing abilities of certain authors. One stall loved the emotional expression of a certain writer, but the other stall doubted the writer's technical acumen.
I hesitated to blow because it would have been so embarrassing to have one stall call out to the other, "Excuse me! I missed your last literary criticism because someone so rudely interrupted us with a noise!"
So I waited and sniffed quietly and knew I could hold out until someone flushed. But luck was not with me because the conversation got only louder when one stall flushed. There was not even a little tiny pause in the flow of words when it happened. If anything, the other stall knew her time was limited and and she began to speak more quickly and with more passion.
Stall one opened its doors, and goodness gracious! There was a person in there! And that person was someone with whom I once attended a meeting. We even had conversation at that meeting, but since the close of that meeting, this person has looked at me with a glazed and confused expression, as if to say, "Please don't make eye contact with me anymore. Your very presence here is a mystery to me."
So there she was, desperately rooted to her spot just outside the stall while the other stall continued to talk and talk and talk. Faster. Louder. The stall was desperate because she knew that she was going to be "indisposed" a while longer BUT her audience was finished and might leave. And then I knew the person looking at me was stuck. She had willingly walked into a deep bathroom conversation thinking it would last two minutes. But now she was being held hostage by the uninterrupted philosophy issuing forth from the stall.
I looked at the talking stall. I looked at the person in front of me with those haunted eyes begging my intervention. I looked at the rough tissue and abusively dry soap. And the decision was made.
I sniffed one last time, nodded toward the door, and graciously said, "Here, let me get the door for you because I never did blow my nose and wash my hands. I already have germs." We walked out together as the talking stall continued to hold literary court in the bathroom.