I have a day job because I don’t get paid for this. I don’t mean that in any hateful way, this gig is incredible and I’m nowhere near the vicinity of being worthy of it. It’s just necessary for me to say that to set up this story. I work at an Internet company I won’t tell you the name of because if they found out I was talking about them or mentioning them on the Internet they’d be sorta kinda pissed off at me and I’d have to go through really awful training on how to be a good employee and keep my mouth shut about the goings on of the company. I’m not talking about them at all in this, it just seems like corporations have a history of overreactions so I’m really just covering my bases because I need the money they give me for food and shelter and stuff.
Anyways. There are several bathrooms in our building, some of which we share with other businesses. One in particular is nicer and bigger than others. I like it because it’s kind of far away from where I sit so I can take my time going there and the walking is good for me because I’m at a desk all day. Recently, while I was in the bathroom, something slightly strange happened.
Bathroom chatter flow, everyone.
See, I’m of the opinion that you shouldn’t really talk in the bathroom. You’re in there because there’s a task of some importance at hand so just handle your business, wash your hands, and get out. There’s no need for a, “Hey there he is”, much less a legitimate conversations. This is especially true during the act of depositing your waste into the toilet.
I’ve got some leeway I’m willing to dole out if you’re washing your hands, but if you’re in the act of peeing or pooping, you should be allowed silence. It is golden. Consequently, so is the rule. I treat others how I want to be treated. I don’t talk to you, so I sure don’t want to be talked at about how much of a grind your Tuesday is and how Burrito Beach is in the caf on the fourth floor.
Well, one dude that works in my building feels differently than me. Apparently he’s all about talking while he’s in the bathroom. More specifically, he’s all about talking while he’s on the pot.
This is when the basketball comes in.
I’ve just walked in the nice, big bathroom because I need to pee. It’s not pressing, but it was going to be in about five minutes so I went ahead and jumped the route so I could handle business before stuff got serious inside my khaki jeans. As I walk in, I hear chatter coming from two of the stalls but really one of the stalls is carrying the conversation. I don’t make it out at first because there’s a dude who’s drying his hands with a hand dryer and those are super loud. Hand Drier leaves, though, and the first thing I hear when the drier shuts off and the door closes is the words Milwaukee and Bucks.
I write for a basketball website, so I decide to be super weird and investigate. I don’t have to poop. Not at all. That usually comes later on in the afternoon. Right now I’m just dealing with a liquid, but I’m not going to let that stop me from this amazing turn of events. These two guys are talking an NBA version of shop while they take dumps. They’re in two stalls right beside each other, and one of them is just chatting away.
I walk into the available stall next to one of the dudes and start listening.
“Bucks, though. They got the 8 seed right now. I think they can do some damage. They got Ellis. That and some other players that play well and score some points.”
That’s what this guy thinks. This dude in jeans and a threaded belt from Gap in 1995 thinks that the Bucks are going to do damage in the playoffs because they have Ellis and the ‘other players that play well and score some points’.
He’s wearing Pumas. He’s putting out some stink.
“I mean, Ellis can score. Like, really well.”
The other dude clearly wants no part of this conversation because all he says is yea and then flushes.
Undaunted, Pumas keeps going. He talks about Larry Sanders and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and the addition of Redick and how they can make some noise come playoff time even though they will probably get the 8 seed. All of this he says from the toilet.
At this point, dude in the other stall is trying desperately to get out of there because he’s already let out “alright” twice in Puma’s last two or three sentences. Finally he flushes with some finality and I can hear his belt jingle as he stands up. He opens the door and, presumably, walks toward the sink.
Pumas is relentless.
“I’m serious, man. I really think we can take the Heat.”
The sink is going now. The sink stops. I hear some paper towels emerge from the automatic paper towel dispenser. I think Pumas consigliere is going to bail with a third “alright”. I was wrong. He’s had enough of this disillusionment and he intends to see hope squandered in this second floor restroom. Mind you, they both are hyper aware of the fact that I’m in there as I’ve been flushing periodically this whole time, trying to give off the illusion that I’m actually conducting bathroom business even though I’m just sitting on the toilet with my pants pulled down. They don’t care that I’m in there. Not even a little bit.
Anyways, the man has just washed his hands. And now he begins.
“Yea. I just don’t see that happening at all. The Heat are playing at a really high level right now and defensively, even though Larry is playing real well, on the perimeter we suck. And I know you love Monta, but there’s no way he can carry a team. IF we make it into the playoffs, we’re probably going to get swept, and that’s just how it is.”
Bombs over Milwaukee. He lets that sit in the air for a minute. I’m trying not to laugh. Sounds like Pumas readjusts himself on the seat. I’m waiting on a response from him but there is nothing coming from that stall. Hands washed and point made, the other dude continues on like he knows that hurt Pumas feelings.
“But it will be cool to see them in the playoffs, if that happens. We should try to drive up and watch one if they do. Anyways, I’ll see you back in there.”
He leaves. Pumas sits on the toilet for another couple minutes before taking off. When he does walk out of the stall I give him 15 seconds before appearing myself. He looks how he sounded. Small and super white. He’s wearing glasses and a flannel shirt.
We wash our hands in silence. He knows I’ve heard everything. He goes to dry his hands. He tosses the paper towel in the trash. I’m wearing a Nike shirt I bought in Georgetown that says “Penny’s Not Loafers” on it. He sees it.
“I had a pair of Penny’s as a kid.”
*This really happened. With our track record it’s necessary to say that.