A Dance with Goldfish: I Can’t Go to the Bathroom Without Shoving Food in My Mouth

By: Jacob Lewis

I always find it awkward when I walk to the restroom at work and someone exits the second I get to the door. I don’t know why, maybe it’s the fact that two strangers, suddenly finding themselves inches apart, meeting while either coming from or going to do something private, always makes them at a loss for words and the correct social maneuver to end the awkward moment. I always instinctively say sorry if I’m the one entering the bathroom, and step aside. If I’m leaving the bathroom, I just silently maneuver around the person. Why the difference? The person exiting the bathroom should never say “Sorry”; it has so many possible meanings, and begs the response, “why…what….what did you do in there?.” It also means you have inadvertently taken the blame/credit for any potential fecal disaster that went unnoticed during your residency. Regardless of coming or going, it’s one of my least favorite daily interactions. However, I learned today that every awkward experience can always be made more awkward with the inclusion of even the tiniest new variable. In this instance, I ran into someone on the way to the bathroom and began my routine, forgetting that my mouth was still stuffed full of goldfish crackers. I’ve tried to imagine how the other person must have viewed this encounter. Going back to work, refreshed after his mid-afternoon deuce, he opens the restroom door and almost runs in to a six foot tall suited stranger. The resulting moment of silence is broken suddenly by the stranger belching out, some form of apology through a thick spray of cheese particles, muttering what sounds like “oh my god” and then lurching to the side in the midst of a snack induced coughing fit. He then steps quickly aside while the stranger runs inside the bathroom (you have to go into the bathroom after that, or else it looks like you are just waiting for people to leave the bathroom so you can hack cheese crumbs in their eyes) I imagine this person would never want to use the public restroom again after that encounter, and would hold everything in until he got home. Good. One down, about three dozen more to go before I don’t have to deal with this unwanted social interaction anymore.

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