Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A little less conversation, a little more urination

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I'm fed up with people who think they can chat with me while I'm pissing.

Just so we're clear: If you enter a public bathroom and it so happens I'm in front of the urinal in a state of address, and it's clear I'm pissing, I am officially too busy to talk to you. I'm pissing. Catch up with you once I'm done.

We're all adults here, and during your bog-standard bathroom break I think we can both safely endure a temporary span of silence long enough for me to piss. I also don't want to make eye contact with you. I'm pissing. I can see enough of you out of the corner of my eye thanks to the miracle of nature that is peripheral vision. I am likewise too busy to nod at you and/or mouth the word "Hi." If indeed I'm pissing, then that requires a small amount of concentration which I'd rather not divide between pissing and greeting.

If I'm pissing, I do not want to answer the question: "How you doing?" I'm evacuating my bladder -- that's how I'm doing.

And I'm tired of answering "Fine." It only encourages you to continue the conversation. Maybe if I start being perfectly honest with you, you'll leave me alone to finish pissing. Maybe I should say: "Well, I was sort of uncomfortable a minute ago because my bladder was full. Now that's easing up a bit because I'm draining the urine from my bladder through my penis into this receptacle." What would you rather have: silence, or that?

Listen: I'm not an old man with prostate problems -- I'm a young, vibrant man who can start pissing and finish pissing in 30 seconds. Sixty if I've had a lot of coffee, tops. The answer to how I'm doing can surely wait until then. I'm not going to stun you with any wisdom anyway. I'm going to say, "Fine," regardless of whether I'm micturating or not, so why not wait until I've finished relieving myself and put my private part safely back in my jeans?

If I'm not OK with you asking How I'm Doing, then I certainly don't want to discuss how my day is going, what my commute is like, what I think of some sports team, or what I've got planned for the weekend. Before you ask me any of these questions or any others, first take a moment to decide if you absolutely need to interrupt the confidential act of pissing, or if we can stand there in silence for a while until it's done.

Not that I don't want to make conversation. Whatever. I'm just saying, there's a reason why human beings go away from the rest of functioning society and withdraw to small, often-locked rooms when they must piss. You might even say pissing is private! Yet because we operate in a world where we have communal bathrooms, people are forced to endure a small invasion of privacy for the sake of efficiency. Let's not make pissing in a public bathroom any more invasive than it already is by inquiring, while I have my cock out, what I'm having for lunch or which highway exit I take to get to the office.

So the rule: When I'm pissing, there is to be no talking, no nodding, no eye contact, no communication of any kind. Let me go about my business for half a minute. When I've zipped up, talk all you like.

Is it because the partitions between most urinals only go up to the shoulder? So you can see my face? Is that what encourages you to try to engage me in a dialogue while I'm pissing, the facial contact? Because those partitions are there, as far as I know, to prevent you from seeing my penis. But you're understanding them as an obstacle to be overcome via chit-chat. Wrong-o. Maybe we need to build higher partitions that reach up past the head -- I don't know, I'm just trying to cover all the bases.

One possible exception -- probably the only one -- is if there's a fire in the building or some kind of catastrophe that requires my immediate attention. If I'm pissing and you burst into the bathroom to check if people are in there because everyone has to evacuate, you may turn toward the nearest wall and address me thus: "Um, excuse me. There's kind of a fire in the building and people have to leave." And then go away. Save yourself! Don't attempt to rescue me! I'll finish pissing, shake off, flush, wash my hands, and then make for the nearest fire exit. I'll be just a few seconds -- unless the flames are licking around my feet, I think I can withstand the inferno long enough to shake off and wash, thanks.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Overheard assholes: "Bills"

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"More bills! I got more bills! I pay bills all the time! I pay my bills — I pay everybody's bills!"

— crazy lady who lives in my wife's grandmother's building,
muttering to anybody listening

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