My day job requires that I deal with people more or less constantly. If I’m not pitching stories to my boss or begging someone else to explain to me again just how CFDs work (seriously – ANYONE?) I have to talk to contacts and potential sources. If I’m honest it’s not really a part of the job I like: sometimes I, like Greta Garbo, just want to be alone. Mostly, however, I flatter myself that I have grown better at dealing with colleagues and strangers: I can make chit-chat, I can crack a joke and I can idly pass the time of day with most people if I have to.
Today, however I spent a fairly ridiculous ten minutes or so in the toilet today that really underscored what a tool I am sometimes when it comes to the lengths I will go to avoid interpersonal contact.
Our story starts when, with a full bladder and scrappy hair I decided to journey to the work toilets (don’t worry, it isn’t THAT kind of a story). Wanting to spend a bit of time in the mirror to attempt to style my dark brown mop into something resembling a hairstyle I took care of the bladder first. And just as I was about the flush and scamper out to the sinks and mirrors the door to the toilets opened and someone else came in. Now, I don’t know if other people are like this or not but I don’t particularly like running into people in the toilets. Doubly so if they’re strangers. And the only thing I hate more than that is being stuck with them at the sinks while we’re both primping in the mirror and either doing that weird thing where you try not to make eye contact or smiling fakely at each other in a We’re-All-Just-Girls-Am-I-Right-? sort of a way
So, naturally I chose the completely sane and normal option of waiting behind the toilet door for the intruder to go into one of the other stalls and give me a free run at the mirror.
And I waited.
I could hear her moving about at the sinks, shuffling about, water running etc. Should I give up and just go out? I wondered. Suck it up, stop being such a pussy and just do my bloody hair in front of her? No, no, I told myself, she’ll be off any moment now. Aaaany moment now.
Then I heard the zip of a toiletries bag: oh brilliant now the silly bint is doing her fucking make-up. Still, I pondered, it wasn’t too late to go out there was it? Or was it? I mean by this time I’d been completely silent in the toilet for about three minutes or so. Either she thought I had died or suspected I was involved in some kind of terrible very-spicy-curry-the-night-before sort of experience. Okay, now I really didn’t want to go out there.
Of course the situation only got worse. Fuck knows who takes TEN MINUTES to put on some slap in the middle of the working day but this fucking genius managed to do it. Meanwhile I huddled, embarassed and pissed off, behind the toilet door, now well beyond the stage where I felt I could reasonably saunter out of the cubicle as though I’d merely entered 30 seconds before.
She left, eventually, presumably looking like she’d applied foundation with a trowel.
So I got about 30 seconds in front of the mirror before the door opened and someone else walked in. I did the smile-in-the-mirror silent greeting and waited for her to go into one of the cubicles. Then she came to stand beside me, shook out her long (semi magnificent) hair and started to (laboriously) re-style it.
I took a long hard look at myself in the mirror and got the fuck out of there.