Being observant is usually a good thing. You can follow complicated movie plots. You might find a quarter on the sidewalk. Waldo can run, but you will hunt that stripey dork down, no matter where he goes.
(Who ‘hides’ in a shirt like that, anyway? I’m pretty sure the Witness Protection Program doesn’t send their people out looking like a bunch of gangly barber poles.
Not the ones they like, anyway.)
There are times, however, when keenly-honed observational skills — even if you’re not trying to use them — can pose a bit of a complication. Imagine, for instance, that you work in an office. And further imagine that your desk in that office is in a little suite, and outside the door of that suite, maybe fifteen feet away, is the door to the ladies’ room.
Purely hypothetically. Of course.
But also imagine that you’re the observant type. You can’t help it — and you can’t turn it off, apparently. And so you learn, accidentally, more about the ladies around the office than is really comfortable. For anyone. Hypothetically.
The nightmare starts innocently enough. Maybe one morning you hear a big clunky set of shoes walking down the hallway and peek out to make sure it’s not a Clydesdale galloping toward your office. Instead, it’s the secretary from down the hall, in an enormous pair of heels apparently made from reinforced steel. As she clomps her way into the restroom, you don’t think much of it. Maybe you’ll see if she’ll eat a sugar cube out of your hand later. But otherwise, you’re just trying to mind your business as usual.
“She’s like clockwork; I think her colon may have been constructed by precision Swiss watchmakers.”
Until the afternoon, when you hear horsey pumps clickety-clacking back to the bathroom. And maybe it registers that she doesn’t come out for fifteen minutes. You’re not trying to pay attention. Attention just happens, rising unbidden to meet the sound of enormous size 11EEEs skittering through the hall.
That’s just the beginning, hypothetically. The longer you work — sorry, imagine that you work — in this office, the more you pick up about the bathroom habits of various aurally distinctive females nearby. There’s a shuffly-foot girl who routinely spends a half hour in the john after lunch. A quick-walker who’s either a chronic hand washer or is doing coke in one of the stalls — or she pees two ounces at a time, seventeen times a day. Several possibilities, none of them pleasant. And horsey pumps girl is a regular two-a-dayer. She’s like clockwork; I think her colon may have been constructed by precision Swiss watchmakers.
Only today, she didn’t show up for her after-lunch appointment. She did her morning business, but that was it. She’s never more than a couple of minutes late, but as the afternoon rolled along, her persistent absence became more and more concerning. Troubling. Worrying.
By three thirty, I could stand it no longer. I had visions of the girl collapsed at her desk, or trapped in an elevator. Or maybe called away on some dire emergency, when all she’d be able to think of is the regular tinkling that she’s missing. Panicked, I got up and walked down the hall to where she works, expecting the worst.
I found her sitting at her desk, tapping away at her keyboard. No collapse, no emergency — she seemed quite content, actually, just a big-shoed girl banging out a workaday email reply.
I stood in her doorway with my hands on my hips. When she looked up at me with a quizzical expression, I shot her an expectant look and said, ‘Welllllll?‘
‘Hell-oooo, sister. Don’t you think it’s time you peed?‘
‘Come on, I’ve got work to get back to. Just get in there and sprinkle the bowl already. You’re holding me up.‘
I mentioned all of this was completely hypothetical, didn’t I? I did? Oh, good.
Suffice it to say that it’s a reasonably bad idea to track — even accidentally — the bathroom habits of several unrelated-but-equally-noisy nearby women. And it’s a phenomenally bad idea to let on that you’re paying attention. Or to try to convince them to adhere to a predictable schedule, so you can get a little work done already.
Take my word for it — they won’t appreciate the help. Even if you’ve worked up project plans and individualized schedules and to-scale PowerPoint stall diagrams. You’d think they’d at least recognize the effort. But no. Theoretically, just no.
Frankly, it’s disappointing. These people could use the assist in staying on a regular schedule — and avoiding queues, and intelligent toilet paper roll management strategies — but instead they’re too busy being ‘creeped out’ or ‘appalled’ or ‘highly uncomfortable’.
(Well of course you’re uncomfortable, clown shoes — you’ve been holding a full bladder of pee in for four extra hours. LET IT OUT, ALREADY!)
So I’d highly suggest, if you can, to keep your powers of observation under wraps as much as possible. If you don’t, you could end up in some pretty awkward, screamy and possibly constipated situations.
You know — hypothetically.Permalink | No Comments