I always thought my life was easy. My childhood was happy, I graduated college at the top of my class, and I have a rewarding job that I love. But I recently experienced my first personal tragedy, and I feel compelled to share my story in case I can make one person out there who has gone through something similar feel less alone. Last week, I went to the office bathroom and it happened: someone took the stall next to me, even though there were plenty of others available.
It began as it always does. I sat in last stall of the row and had begun to enjoy my leisurely pee when someone else entered the restroom. ‘No big deal’, I thought to myself, assuming they’d occupy one of the myriad of open stalls that weren’t directly adjacent to mine.
I assumed wrong.
This brute made the active decision to relieve herself in the next stall, mere feet away from mine with only a meager sheet of metal separating us. I was shocked, but even more than that, I was horrified. How was I to continue what was previously a stress-free bathroom experience with the lurking knowledge of a pee-stream hitting the toilet water inches from where mine did the same? At least things couldn’t get any worse, right? Wrong. I had to poop.
Nothing could have prepared me for this moment. I tried to be discreet, but there was no use. Maybe if she was in one of the many many open stalls, discretion could have been an option. But my farts trumpeted out into the void of stainless steel and tile, the unmistakable plopping and subsequent splashing sounds in their wake. I was defeated.
Once my number two was over, I managed to stay in-stall with my shame until I heard a flush, a running of sink water, and a slamming of door. My nightmare was finally over, but the memories would linger for a lifetime. What if she remembers my shoes?
It’s said that struggle makes you stronger. And while I do feel stronger having gone through this harrowing ordeal, it’s an experience I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. To the depraved individuals out there who deign to share a bathroom stall-wall with another human being when there are a multitude of other options, I say: please, think about the heinous intentions behind your actions. And to anyone out there who has experienced this terror, you have my deepest sympathy.