Haven’t there been times when you have run off to the restroom when you are out with others-be it friends, colleagues or frenemies- in order to relax a bit? I know there are many times wherein I rush to the restroom so that I can sit for a few minutes undisturbed and unfocused. I just want to sit and not think. I just want to sit and stare are the stall’s walls. I just want to do nothing. Its a respite. Its sometimes an act of desperation. There have been some business dinners where I wish I had a mojito infusion to just keep me from constant eye-rolling. Yes, there have been bad business meetings. However, even in good ones you still need a break. Its work, after all. The restroom can be your mental health friend.
I value my restroom time dearly. I value it so much that to many it may seem like I have been cursed with a small bladder. I actually have but that is besides the point. I like restroom breaks and don’t like them being disturbed. I don’t appreciate it when people at work follow me to the restroom. It has happened to me numerous times. Budget discussions while sitting in a stall is not really conducive to accurate numbers. There have been times when I have wanted to politely ask the person to stop talking to me. But I haven’t made such a bathroom stall request as it never seemed like a polite thing to do. The question going forward is what do I value more: politeness or a moment of zen?
I believe the answer is moment of zen. Sadly (for me), just this past week I ran up to a restaurant restroom where there was an attendant. As I walked in I sighed. There went my moment of zen. All day I had been interacting with people (new people I had just met). As an introvert such a situation is quite exhausting as I try really hard to keep a conversation going and tell story after story. I used to be a storytelling champion when I was a kid and that has stayed with me throughout my life. So, I went into my stall and “hid” there for a few minutes. I thought that maybe if I left my stall when many others did then I would escape having an attendant interaction. Besides just not wanting to have to talk, I had left my purse at the dinner table I had no tip money to leave her. I felt badly about that. Furthermore, why do we need attendants to pass us paper towels? She offered to put soap on my hands and to give me extra towels. None of which I needed. It was an awkward situation. I thanked her for her time and wished her a great evening ahead. She thanked me for my well wishes but she had already moved onto the next handwasher.
Now, as a public health service bathroom attendants are quite valuable. They encourage people to hand wash. Who doesn’t want their fellow restaurant goer to do that? I usually try to wash my hands for the full length of the “happy birthday” song but with the attendant there I rush it. Thus, the public health service function of the restroom attendant gets evened out. It is best to leave me use the restroom in peace.
That is my pet peeve of the day. We all have one.