Sometimes I look underneath the bathroom stall separators, and examine the shoes of my neighbor. I'm not interested in his business, which is invariably evacuating his bowels or hiding out until retirement. I look for the shoes to see if I recognize the owner, because it makes me very anxious to be seated that close to a good friend while I'm shitting. If that privacy wall were not separating us, we'd be close enough to have a proper conversation; it would be no different than sharing a table at the office dining hall.
But we're not having a proper conversation, my panicked mind tells me - we're both shitting, side by side. Or at least I am. He might be crying, or changing the settings on his cell phone. But I'm definitely shitting, quietly. And I worry that he (it is almost always a "he") will see my shoes and think, "Is that Todd? Is he taking a shit no more than two feet from me? He's totally indecent! I must remember to seat him with my born-again Christian cousins at my wedding, for one must show respect to earn respect."
I would like to bring a second pair of shoes to the office, just for shitting. Something nondescript, like a plain, black leather J. Crew Buck with a gum sole - you know, the kind of shoe someone who loves to shit might wear. Then I wouldn't feel obligated to whisper, "I'm so sorry, I'm so unclean," each time I flush. My identity would be secured and my neighbor, hearing the flush, then the second flush, would, like me, expect nothing more or less from someone wearing those shoes.
Today, as I was leaving the bathroom - I hadn't been shitting, but just washing my face for the seventh time today - I heard a guy inside a stall speaking to a guy outside a stall. (that's weird, right? when someone does that to me all i hear is "so blah blah blah HIGH-FIVE BECAUSE I AM MAKING A GIANT SHIT RIGHT HERE SON blah blah creative brief blah blah HERE COMES SOME MORE SHIT, TOTALLY UNEXPECTED blah blah unreasonable deadline POOP.") The man inside the stall said, "Is it sausage pork because I don't like pork but I do like sausage." The man outside the stall, whose head was bald and whose ass was the approximate size and shape of an Aeron chair saddle, wiped his hands on some paper towels, laughed, and exited the bathroom, announcing, "ha...I don't like pork but I do like sausage. That is one of the classic quotes of all time."
His book of quotations must be a very ineffective resource for PowerPoint presentations. "How about this? Let's lead the Seybold presentation with this classic doozy: 'Don't try to bullshit the Mayor of Bullshit!'"