So, right up front, I just want to clarify – I’m not talking about toilet humour – I’m talking about conversing while one is visiting the facilities, the amenities, the water closet, the bathroom, the toilet.
Is it just an “Anne” thing or is it more of an introvert thing that I don’t like having conversations when I am visiting said facilities, amenities, water closet, bathroom, toilet …?
I have a few etiquette related questions: if one, and an individual of one’s acquaintance, have been speaking prior to each entering their respective cubicle, is it appropriate to stop talking at that point? Or must the conversation continue? I personally would like to cease conversing at that point. But I do tend to feel rude – or a little silly as though entering the cubicle has rendered me not only invisible but also inaudible and unable to hear others. I would like to think that once confined within those four walls I am alone.
For some people however, this is not the case. Some like to continue the conversation and I’m not entirely sure what to do about that. Usually my answers become staccato. But sometimes that doesn’t discourage the conversation … What do you do?
A second scenario springs to mind:
I have in the past. entered, what I thought was, an empty toilet/bathroom area only to hear the person in another cubicle call out, “Is that you Anne?”
I’m not sure what to do at that point:
- Do I answer in the affirmative and thus engage in a conversation about my weekend either past or future? (Maybe it’s the small talk I dislike).
- Do I ignore the question, and feign deafness at this point? Not terribly honest – the INFJ struggles with this.
- Or do I pretend I’m not Anne, though the flaw in this plan is that I must have a distinct sounding walk or a particular musky odour to be recognized by someone locked away in a cubicle. If I do answer in the negative – it is most likely that my voice will give me away – I’ve been told that it is quite distinctive. Maybe I could put on a voice – though then I may need to invent a name too..? Once again not really the most honest way to go about this.
- If I pretend not to be Anne and go about my business in silence; am I then required to remain in the cubicle until the other party vacates her cubicle and leaves the washroom area?
- If I do that, then what happens if they are waiting outside to see who the person was who didn’t answer them? Oh it is you Anne! Didn’t you hear me?
- Do I then have to pretend I didn’t hear them?
- The final – what if .. what if her phone is on silent – it just “rang” … It’s her friend Anne and I answer assuming of course that even when at the toilet I’m the centre of the universe. At that point I’m entering a conversation in a toilet that already has enough people in it.
It is inevitable that I do eventually answer, but not before having played through all of these scenarios. I have the conversation which is fine, but honestly, if anyone can tell me about the appropriate etiquette I’d love to know what it is.
I think that parents, the world over, recognize the sanctuary of the toilet. In the past I know I’ve said “I will not answer questions about the new app you want to download – while I’m in here.” Insert joke here that references downloading and toilet time (toilet humour). At home, I quite enjoy the quiet that an ensuite affords. There I can shut the bedroom door and the bathroom door. It’s true that all too often, I spend much more time than necessary in there just for the silence and the solitude. Maybe that privilege of silence and solitude is not afforded anywhere else outside of the home.
Additionally, as I write this I realise that maybe some of my references relate more to developed countries…which once again reminds me of the privilege I’ve been born into. The fact that I have access to so many of these facilities on a daily basis is something that perhaps I should be thankful for, rather than mourning the loss of two minutes of silence.
Finally, if you do recognise my feet, footfall, musky odour, one day when you are using the facilities, the amenities, the water closet, the bathroom, the toilet; don’t be afraid to say “So … any big plans for the weekend?” You don’t have to cease speaking mid-sentence as you suddenly remember the blog post I wrote, that you once read. If you are in the cubicle next to me … I’ll answer with my own voice, once I’ve ascertained there is no other course of action, and that you are not on the phone (yes people do this!) … my responses will be staccato… sorry but that’s the way it will be.