Another reason to keep my mouth shut

by Andrea Mulder-Slater

We went to a classical music event held at a community college this past weekend. No sooner were we in the door and someone had to pee.

It might have been me.

I left the 3 year old with Geoff and headed to the restroom. There were three stalls. The door on the left had an Out of Order sign taped to it and the stall on the right was wheelchair accessible - so I walked to the middle door, grabbed hold of the top edge and pulled.

It was locked.

"Oh, I'm sorry." I said, backing up.

There was no response.

I glanced under the door - because that's always my first instinct in a public restroom. I think it might be an inappropriate reflex. I saw no evidence of a shadow, so I assumed that it too was out of order. Either that or some college kid had locked it up and crawled out as a joke. I briefly wondered if I might fit under the metal partition - mostly because I’m weird like that. Instead I went behind door number three. Literally.

After taking care of business, I began to pull my clothes back on. This was no easy deed as I had opted that evening to wear a one-piece jumpsuit with a button in the back – just out of reach of my hands. As I contorted my arms into an advanced level martial arts move, I made a mental note to not do that again. I also thought about how lovely the new tile work in the washroom looked - even with the gaping hole in the ceiling in the corner. Must be water damage. Wasn’t that hole there last year too? All that work retiling, just to leave a giant bloody hole in the ceiling? And what an awful paint color. Who the hell chose that? What’s with pink bathrooms for college aged kids anyway? What are they, toddlers? And on (and on) I went. In fact, a variety of random topics - from armpit hair to turtles (don’t ask) - floated in and out of my head. There were more musings, but really… useless information bounces around in there so incessantly, I regularly lose track.

After successfully grunting myself back into my jumpsuit I went to hit the flush.

That’s when I heard it.

From the stall next to me came the sound of someone clearing her throat. And after that - a sigh.  I bent down to look beneath the barrier. Because, as you know, that’s what I do.

The middle bathroom stall was not unoccupied after all.

It was then I realized that I had not been keeping my thoughts to myself. I had been rambling out loud. The. Entire. Time.

And that’s the problem. Some people sing in the shower. Others whistle while they work. I on the other hand, (though shy and quiet as a klipspringer in normal social situations) have a habit of blathering steadily to myself about topics inane and otherwise - while alone in the ladies room.  It's involuntary and happens without warning.

As I washed my hands, I recalled several awkward moments at highway rest stops, restaurant washrooms, holiday trailer parks and the girl's locker room in high school. I'm terrible at detecting people in the crapper. Apparently.

I exited the restroom without ever seeing my lone toilet mate. She was likely too afraid to come out before I was gone. And in all fairness… who wouldn’t be? I mean, turtles and armpit hair? Seriously?

No, really.


  1. I came here from The Bloggess, and I will definitely keep reading. This made me laugh so hard I snorted a little, because it's totally something I would do.

  2. Ha! Thanks.
    Always glad to make people snort ;)

  3. I too arrived here from the Bloggess. And I too am a bathroom stall talker. It can be quite embarrassing, but sometimes I think people assume I'm on a cellphone, which is slightly less awkward.

    1. Nice! I'll have to remember to say, "Ok - well, talk to you later" when I catch myself the next time :) And yay The Bloggess!


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