There was a time when the cliché place to gather in the office for a chat about last night’s game or the latest gossip was the water cooler. Then came the installation of single cup coffee mega-machines and that became the next hot place to gather (I think full-pot coffee makers were phased out because no one ever wanted to take the last cup and be required to then make the next pot… just my theory). This makes total sense, as sharing a drink of something is a very socially accepted and encouraged activity.
A new favorite gathering at my office is taking me by complete surprise and is, quite honestly, also horrifying me. There tends to be an inordinate amount of people chatting outside the restrooms. Men, women, upper management, entry-level folks… doesn’t matter. This is where they stop to chat.
Now, it isn’t enough that we have signs in our restrooms asking us to please refrain from cell phone use (don’t you love your stall neighbor’s best bud on the phone hearing you flush? Me too!). Now I have to push through a crowd of people in the hallway so I can go pee. Fantastic.
On an ordinary day, it is just a weird place to stand. The restrooms are in the middle of a hallway. There’s nothing across from them and very little on either side of them. There is nothing at all that would encourage someone to stop there other than the restrooms themselves.
So, I have to ask myself, did Chit Chatter #1 stop Chit Chatter #2 on the way IN to the restroom? This had to be the case, because if they caught them on the way OUT, they would walk away in the direction of their seats, no? So, if they did catch them on the way IN, that means Chit Chatter #1 really doesn’t give a shit that Chit Chatter #2 is about to do the Pee Pee Dance while Chit Chatter #1 rambles on and on about something that could have absolutely waited 3 minutes. And Chit Chatter #2 is too nice of a person to say “Hey, dude, I was actually headed in here for a reason” and politely nods and smiles while wondering how much liquid it takes to rupture a bladder. Can you collect Workers Comp for that?
Of course, today was no ordinary day. As I walk to the restroom – because I had to pee, Chit Chatters, that’s why people go there – there are no less than FIVE people standing by the doors, in 2 separate conversations. How does this happen? Anyways, I walk through conversation 1 (3 people) and navigate through conversation 2 (2 people) that is literally happening at the door to the Ladies’. As I go to open the restroom door, it opens on its own. Chit Chatter #2 had hit the button that opens the door for handicapped people (I am assuming she is Chit Chatter #2, the victim of the encounter, as she is bumping herself up against the wall in a pseudo-Pee Pee Dance move right next to the door and Chit Chatter #1 is an oblivious male).
Now, the door flies open and I walk in. Because the automatic door opening is for handicapped people, it stays open for a good bit before it closes on its own. That is, if the button was only hit once. Miss Pee Pee Dance Chit Chatter #2 evidently hit the button more than once with her wall-bumping. I stood in a stall for a good minute waiting for the door to close. I’m not an animal; I only pee with the door open in the comfort and privacy of my own home.
I was about to walk out and ask her to stop bumping the damn button but finally she must have realized what she was doing and the door closed. I peed. They were still chatting when I came out. Special.
So, please, folks, I beg of you. Stop this trend. The water closet is NOT the new water cooler, OK?