Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Office Bathroom

At work, there is a bathroom in the main office that the female employees in the building use. It is a small bathroom; just two side by side stalls, two side by side sinks, a trash can, and a fulll length mirror on the wall. I am not one for public bathrooms, but this bathroom is nice enough, and I know the majority of the women who use it. However, this bathroom is also quite a source of awkwardness for me. I find myself either feeling self conscious in this bathroom or unsure of the proper bathroom etiquette. For example, if a coworker and I are having a conversation, and we enter into the bathroom together, once we are in our side by side stalls, I never know whether I should continue the conversation. Should I keep on talking like we are in a car or an elevator, or should I wait until we are both done with our business? What if one of us finishes before the other? Should I wait on her?

Then there are the times when I enter the bathroom and one of the stalls is already occupied. An awkward silence falls between the two of us as we sit, inches apart, yet we are not speaking. I feel like I should introduce myself as I enter in, such as "Hi, it's Deb over here." Then maybe we could carry on a conversation.

This is the worst - the person in the other stall does not want to be identified. Maybe she is self conscious about using the restroom in public. Maybe she has more in depth business than I do and she needs her privacy. For whatever reason, she is outwaiting me in the other stall. I haven't heard a peep from the other side, and I'm in and out, washing my hands, and still no movement, not even a drop.

Once my boss and I entered at the same time. I really needed to discuss something with her, and it seemed ridiculous not to take advantage of the few moments we had together. But it just didn't seem right conversing at that time.

Sometimes if I am in a competitive mood, I have two different competitions - who can go longest, or if I can beat the other person out - especially if she was in there before me.

Then there's the time when I see the person exit the other stall and I notice that the handwashing did not occur. I always make sure if I am doing the handwashing at the same time as the other person that I wash extra thoroughly. We have this really cool motion sensor soap dispenser, except for today when I couldn't get it to pick up my motion. Don't you hate it when you are in a public restroom and either the soap or the water is motion sensored and you can't get it to work? Sometimes I can't even figure out where to motion to get the water to come out.

And the full length mirror - for some reason there is that temptation to study myself before I enter back into the real world. I'm not sure what I am looking for. But it is quite embarrasing when I am staring at myself when the door opens and in walks a coworker.

Though the bathroom does produce some awkward moments for me, I try not to get too hung up on it - I need to just go with the flow.


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm cracking up! You really should write a book one day..."on what?," you ask...finding the humor in everyday life! You and Anon brighten my days! Hope you don't mind me dropping in here.


February 28, 2007 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhh, Deb Wurtely Overtly, I missed you! Everyday I check you blog in eager anticipation (I'm serious).

March 01, 2007 1:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Only your English teaching mother would pick up on the puns! Nice job. In fact, I cracked up--lol as the tech communicators would say, I think. I enjoyed this one as I do all the others. Thanks for a smile today.

March 01, 2007 1:51 PM  
Blogger Jim and Jaena said...

OK...I can totally relate to most of these, Deb. Who knew there was an entire post in this topic. Loved it!

March 01, 2007 3:07 PM  
Blogger Deb said...

Teryn -

Could you give me your blog address again? I always accessed it by scrolling down on my home page, and then our computer reset and I don't know how to get to it. If you don't want to leave it on my blog, my e-mail is Thanks for the comment - I'm glad you "dropped" in.

March 01, 2007 4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here you go, deb. It's not nearly as entertaining as yours since I'm sorta kinda fighting for my life, but here ya go anyway...

my email is


March 01, 2007 4:37 PM  
Blogger Anon said...

I cannot believe you allow anonymous comments on your blog with all the trouble you've had in the past with that. :)

Public bathroom etiquette is a not a problem for me. I have no etiquette.

I do have something that goes along with this topic that is just as awkward. What do you do when you're sitting by somebody and he/she lets out gas? Now that's uncomfortable.


March 01, 2007 10:58 PM  
Blogger Toevs Family said...

I had to laugh aloud while reading your post. I can totally relate.

I enjoy reading your take on the mundane things of life. You could've been a writer for Seinfeld. :-)

March 02, 2007 7:12 AM  
Blogger Kelley said...

Enjoyed our conversation last night, both on this post and other topics. I think we are alot alike. :)

March 02, 2007 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So funny, Deb! Although I've never thought about it this indepth, I can totally relate. It's always embarassing when I'm the one who takes longer than the person beside me. Then, when I see them later in the day I always feel like they "know" what I was doing. Yikes.
Thanks for sharing. Keep up the posting!

March 02, 2007 4:29 PM  
Blogger Terhune family said...

Too funny! Don't feel too bad about staring at yourself in the mirror - Rachel's working on getting over that one, too. :)

March 06, 2007 10:08 PM  
Anonymous 1st time commenter on this said...

now that post was funnnny!! I usually only read your posts but I couldn't stop myself from commenting :~) Thanks for the memories--(and laughs) keep the posts coming

March 15, 2007 9:32 PM  

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