Dear Lady with the Turqoise Sandals,
This letter is not about your shoes, although god knows your choice of footwear merits its own Open Letter. Because really. Are those things rubber? And turquoise? Common sense tells me that you can either wear rubber shoes or you can wear turquoise shoes but you just simply cannot wear rubber turquoise shoes. Especially after Labor Day. Color me conventional but there, I said it. However, I am not writing this letter to address your shoes; this letter is to address your shit. You see, you have violated some of the long-held universal tenants of office pooping and I am here to school you. Draw those flip flops up to your chest lady. You can (have the) run(s) but you can’t hide (in that stall forever)--things are about to get a bit grotty in this here workspace. Ah, yeah. I'm going there.
For most of my life I only pooped at home. No matter if I was on a long weekend getaway or at work. I held it and held out and to all the world I had no butthole. Life was good (if a little crampy). Then one day things changed. I had to go. Like, really. I had to go. I’m still not sure if this is a positive side effect of aging: you get more comfortable with the fact that you are human and thus poop. Or a negative effect of aging: You physically cannot hold it in anymore for days on end. So now I poop. I poop at restaurants. At other people’s houses. I poop in Port-a-Potties if things are unfortunately dire and I also poop at work.
As a seasoned everywhere pooper I have done my homework on best practice of poop. This is what I know: the fourth stall is the best. It’s farthest away from other paying customers. It’s got a modicum of privacy. If someone is in the fourth stall you let them be. How do you know someone might be in the fourth stall, you ask? Well, a fourth stall occupant might choose to employ one of two moves: the Astaire, a subtle toe-tap, or a Camo-Cough, a phony clearing of the throat to alert all entrants to the bathroom that someone is in the fourth stall. If you hear either one of these moves then proper poop protocol clearly states that you leave the bathroom immediately so the pooper can poop in peace. You don’t rattle the handle like you did, Dear Turquoise Sandal Lady, and when a meek voice calls out someone’s in here!
you don’t sigh as if someone stole your parking space. Because that, my friend, is called being a Turd Burgler. And clearly I was there first.
Number two (pun intended; poop puns are just funny): You don’t then go into the third stall. No. The third stall is dead space, a divider between the worlds of pee and poop, a taint, if you will, of the public restroom. The third stall does not get used, particularly when the fourth stall is clearly occupado and the other stalls are vacant. Got that, Turquoise Sandal Lady? No. Third. Stall. And yet there you were, your rubber turquoise sandals practically toe to goddamn toe with my ballet flats.
Then there’s this: you don’t trump somebody else’s poop. Because that’s what you did to me. You sat there in the third stall and tried to out-wait me. Oh, I toe-tapped and coughed and even rustled my jeans a little, a move I made up there on the fly out of desperation, but clearly you would not budge. So I was the bigger person Turquoise Sandal Lady, and I packed it up. I puckered and I packed, washed my hands (of nothing!) and left. Face Off. Turquoise Sandal Lady: 1 (#2). Susannah: zip.
I went back to my desk and I did some work. I gave you 10 minutes and then I did a quick Fly By (the act of scouting out a bathroom before pooping) but still you were there. I let 15 more minutes pass. But remember Dear Turquoise Sandal Lady I am now 36 goddamn years old. Too young for Depends but too old for a long weekend of nothing or a long morning with a venti chai and a bran muffin. Things were coming to a head and I didn’t want to have to walk around Crop Dusting (which is completely unacceptable, btw, no matter the situation).
So yes, I returned to the bathroom. And yes, those damn Turquoise Sandals were still there peeking out from beneath the third stall. And yes, I probably should have left. But I didn’t. I returned to my rightful throne in the fourth stall and set up shop. And so there we sat, two coworkers not two feet away from each other pooping. And that is just not okay. Because TSL? I feel I can call you that now, can’t I? After all, we’ve shit together, holding hands practically. TSL, my compadre of the can, I have a friend I’d like you to meet. Her name is Courtesy Flush. She is the act of flushing the instant your poop hits the water, thus reducing the amount of time the poop has to stink up the bathroom. Courtesy Flush, meet Turquoise Sandal Lady. Please meet her, greet her and use her liberally. Public pooping is not the time to worry about water conservation.
And last but certainly not least, there’s this. I finished first. What can I say? You were in there for a total of 35 minutes. Clearly you ate some bad fish tacos the night before or something but I had work to do so I finished first. Proper Poopiquette says that you wait there in your precious little third Turd-Burgled stall and wait for me to wash my hands and exit the bathroom altogether. But nooooo. You’re quite the renegade of the restrooms, aren’t you TSL? A defector of the defecation treatise. Because you chose the exact moment I was at the sink to come out of your stall. Dear Turquoise Sandal Lady, I have a vague notion that your hair is blonde but that’s about it. You forced me to do the Walk of Shame, both of us really, standing there side by side washing our hands in a cloud of colonic stench. I could not look you in the eye, could not meet my own eyes in the mirror, really, and now I am left with just this: the image of those goddamn heinously ugly rubber turquoise sandals.