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Part I – Chatty Kathy

I am (I think) a fairly laid-back individual. I tend to live-and-let-live even when there are some things that I prefer NOT to be on my planet (like the yellow jacket that stung me last Tuesday, but I am not referring to that). I understand bodily functions are normal, but I try not to share my flatulence (which has occasionally caused considerable physical discomfort on my part but that is not what I am talking about here), burps, sneezes, and coughs on my neighboring humans. Sometimes it can’t be helped, but I try.

Using a public rest room (no beds in there – where *did* that term come from?) with strangers along the turnpike is fine. I am less inhibited in allowing my body to do what it needs (noises, smells, and all) in the company (hidden in a stall, but still!) of strangers.

At work, it is another matter entirely.

I find that I am more inhibited with regards to the bodily noises in the presence of people I know in the next stall. I pretend I am not really there at all, and wish others would do the same. Do your business as quietly and quickly as possible, exit the stall, smile in the mirror as you wash your hands, and then leave.

When I was five, I lived for a while in a Catholic Orphanage (another story for another time, but I warn you, not very interesting). The nuns wore the traditional garb of long black robes with stiffly starched wimples and aprons. I swear none of them ever went to the bathroom at all. They didn’t fart, either. I thought that was so classy to not have to be bound by physical plumbing. I didn’t see them eat, although many were quite corpulent. They must have ingested SOMEthing, but at five, you don’t clearly make that connection. I thought that when I grew up I wouldn’t have to go to the bathroom or pass gas either.

This was yet another lie the adult conspiracy foisted on unsuspecting children such as myself. Adult acne was another that I am still annoyed about, but I digress…

I have noticed that the workplace bathroom/rest room/”facilities” has its own set of rules and behavior. You meet coworkers there. They wash hands, brush teeth, and chit-chat social niceties before exiting. The whole plumbing thing is generally ignored.

But others take it to a whole ‘nother level and become Chatty Cathys from the moment they enter until they leave, and not just the social amenities but a whole conversation requiring answers and comment! I have trouble with these people because it seriously conflicts with my invisibility needs in a public toilet.

Current events are their forte. Outrage at public officials and vacation plans and lunch orders and weather and wardrobe malfunctions are all fodder to their vocalization. They blithely go on with their conversation, assuming others also enjoy reparte while on the commode. I try to time my visits to when known conversationalists will not be there at the same time, or control my bodily noises if I find myself trapped with them.

This is not always possible. I blame the nuns for this personal quirk.

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