Monday, 6 October 2008

Terror in the dunoir

Happy Rocktober, happy Gothstock, happy labour day long weekend and, best of all, happy three days away from the office communal toilets.

It's really only this year that the social activity, general chit chat and carping in the workplace latrine has become a ridiculous but major source of vexation and fatigue. Just thinking of it now causes tetchiness to prickle my blood and a moue of distaste upon my face, Generation Jones members can picture Dr Zachary Smith being forced to do some work on the chariot or lift a spade for HD visualisation of facial expression, but a-bog-blogging I must go.

You’re at the basin and someone enters the bathroom. Instead of a nod of acknowledgement, toiley timer transforms into have-a-chat, consumed with a desire to converse, and proceeds to continue prattling after entering the cubicle, sitting (i assume) on the honka and attending to other matters. Multi-tasker extraordinaire but please not in the dunoir.

Unfortunately there is no hand drying machine to thump and drown out the whole sorry business. I scoot out, with a clearing of throat and an awkward “I’m going, bye…” . It is worse when you scuttle into the bathroom and chatters is at the basin and continues to natter when you become otherwise engaged. It’s all so ter-rrribly inhibiting, and somehow unhygienic...

Yeah, I’m uptight. Yes, I am an embarrassment of a prude but as Marcia Hines would say "you know who you are; you are what you are. I give you props." Right on. Platitudes are indeed a tremendous source of comfort but a line must be drawn somewhere.

Last week I was in my favourite cubicle, the one at the end of the row, when I heard someone arrive and enter another (mercifully). I became tense, “must … get … , out … before other user does...” but in my haste fell off the seat and twisted my left buttock and hammy. As I attempted to get up from the floor I heard a mobile phone ring. It rang repeatedly. The person in the other cubicle muttered grumblings, annoyed that the mobile was ringing in the bathroom, she was annoyed?!, finally answering with an aggrieved “I’m on the toilet” – clearly the new "I'm on the bus/train."

Oh live and breathe, nsrs, as I live and breathe.

Then on Friday a curious thing happened. Confined to my cubicle, I heard one user enter as another departed. There was no chatter. No-one else entered. As I heard the last person leave and shut the door, the lights were switched off, punishment for previous hostill monosyllabic behaviour?

I was surrounded in an eerie darkness and silence. Overwhelmed with terror the imagination spun out, conjuring a Bruno Anthony like-villain, who whistled a hauntingly menacing tune while sliding his hands into a handsome pair of leather gloves, snapping the elastic at the wrists, in preparation for a nice bit of strangulation bathroom-style, or worse, head down dunny flushing, as he approached my cubicle. My mind's eye saw him kicking open the cubicle door when I heard a real person come into the bathroom, “Hello...? Please...Turn on the lights .", I whimpered. I don’t know whether she voted Liberal or was Renee Geyer (Tim Freedman lyric or 1975 Aust fed election campaign joke-ish – it’s lame and it's your choice) but she obliged.

Despite this punishment, I'm still on the side of Aesop, who once observed, “ we don’t piss down the telephone so please don’t talk on the toilet.” Sagacious dude, which is also the name of the fifth ninja turtle.


Anonymous said...

This should be published, possibly as a free supplement in the Fairfax press. Jim Betts.

David said...

I have been watching the first series of Grass Roots and there are certainly a lot of dramatic events that take place in the toilets - advice given, truths inadvertantly revealed, guards let down. I think you have to USE this situation.

Mistress Bel said...

Ta Bettsy - no doubt chattering arses would recyle it for toilet tissewe. Oh that's what you meant....oh the outrage!

Nickers - Bog scenes have been very popular in many shows but it does not make me subscribe to that kind of behaviour, let alone inspire me.I know enough about my colleagues. I KNOW people, after all and i don't need to eavesdrop in bathrooms to get their number. My ears flap sufficiently elsewhere.

L. Difazio said...

I'm grateful too you don't hear me in the loo I'm very candid and can get downright derisive! Well that's my coffee break. Back to the brewery.

spades of said...

I had a recent experience where I had to give a urine sample at the doctor and I went into the bathroom and I was so overwhelmed by the pressure of the situation that it took me about 15 minutes to produce half the amount of urine required. I had to go back and admit to my doctor that I'd suffered some severe stage fright, which thankfully she laughed uproariously at, rather than just giving me a funny look, as this kind of info usually warrants.
Hmmm... In hindsight, not as relevant a story as I'd like to think. Sometimes I think I'm becoming that strange "Too Much Information" woman that people dodge on the street.