Directionally Challenged with Social Anxiety
Last week, the bathroom (the one I use) at our office flooded and had to be closed down for most of the week. I found out as I made my way over there and saw that the way was blocked and large fans were set up, pointed at the carpet. My heart sank. I had to pee. There is another bathroom, but I wasn’t entirely sure how to get to it; I’d only used it twice—the day I interviewed for the job and another day when a coworker and I walked there together because ours was being cleaned. That was awkward enough—I was never the type of chick to request an entourage to accompany me to the bathroom.
I hung my head in defeat and sauntered back to my desk, where I held my pee until it became unbearable. I would have to make the trek to the other bathroom, which filled me with dread because, 1.) What if I get lost? and 2.) I know it’s going to be crowded due to the lack of an additional functional bathroom.
Let me say this first: There are fewer things in life more terrifying than a crowded communal bathroom.
Except for, you know, rape, murder, a tornado, a terrorist attack, and tens of thousands of other more terrifying life occurrences, but for now, crowded communal bathrooms. Just kill me now.
I started heading over there. My sense of direction is abysmal, so at every turn of the hallway, I stopped, looked both ways, imagined I was on my way back, and gestured and mouthed the backward directions to myself while turning my entire body in both directions (I’m a kinesthetic learner). At one point, I found, to my horror, that I was performing these certainly bizarre-looking behaviors in the doorway of my boss’s boyfriend’s office. He was looking at me strangely. I quickly rounded the corner, hoping he didn’t recognize me, and nearly collided belly-first with a woman who was clearly approaching her third trimester of pregnancy. I mumbled an apology, averting my gaze, and pushed open the bathroom door. It was indeed crowded and the only open stall was right in front of the sinks and mirrors.
Whoever designed these bathrooms apparently has a personal vendetta against awkward people with social anxiety because the spaces separating each stall door are nearly an inch in width, meaning that the person in the stall and whomever is washing their hands at the sink have a high chance of making eye contact through the mirror if they both look up at the same time. This is what I mean by how horrifying crowded communal bathrooms are. I can’t even look up when washing my hands if someone is using the stall behind me; my eyes are frozen to the countertop. When I’m the one IN the stall, it’s even worse, and I try to edge my way as far to the side as possible to avoid seeing the mirror and the employee standing in it. If I know the person is almost done and leaving soon when I first walk in, then I just stand there behind the stall door until I hear the door close.
At least I now know where the other bathroom is located, since I had to use it for the rest of the week, although I continually held my pee as long as possible because it was never EVER empty. I hope and pray my default bathroom will be functional again on Monday.