I do a lot of praying in bathrooms. I just always find that the only time I have to be truly alone is when I’m in a bathroom stall. That’s when I finally have time to think, think and pray. Surrounded by four sturdy walls (metaphorically, since they are usually quite flimsy literally), I can finally seek solace from the noise of the day and slow down the circus in my head. No errands to run, no paper to write, nobody bothering you – that is, until the worst happens: you are forced to engage in a stall-to-stall bathroom conversation.
I’m not talking about the ever common “pass the toilet paper” exchange that is a necessary evil in the world of public hygiene practices. No, I mean the unsolicited (and usually meaningless) chatter that occurs between two unfamiliar people in a public bathroom facility. Now, I know everyone has experienced this phenomenon at least once in their life. You’re sitting there (or standing for the men out there), minding your own business, then, out of the blue, the person next to you gets the crazy idea that it would be a wonderfully opportune moment to talk to you. It doesn’t matter what the subject matter is, they just have the sudden urge to shoot the breeze. Do they know you? No. You they have a reason to know you? Not unless they enjoy meeting people whom they’ll never see again. Do you want to know them? Most certainly not. Although, under normal human circumstances such as an office party, luncheon, or park outing, you might enjoy meeting said individual, all that potential desire is deemed moot once you enter a public bathroom stall.
Of course, you go along with the conversation. We always feel the need to be polite and respond, despite the complete lack of politeness on the part of the initiator. So you painfully endure this human interaction that breaks through the private barriers of your public stall. No longer is it safe. No longer are you alone. You now share it with a detached voice that penetrates the walls and fills the space around you.
I often pray a lot in bathrooms. Most of the time, I pray that no one talks to me.