George & Wendy Show

Wendy Parker

Who you talkin’ to?

bathroom joke (3)Someone posted this cartoon on my page today – and I laughed and laughed at it until I realized I’ve been the dummy thinking someone was having a conversation with me, and it wasn’t so funny anymore.

Bluetooth headsets have made the act of talking to yourself in public perfectly acceptable. I remember when I was a little kid we were strongly cautioned against being in the general vicinity of anyone who was talking to themselves, especially if they acted like someone was answering them. It was pretty much a certainty that in 1975, the guy standing on the corner of Ponce De Leon Avenue and Peachtree Street who was carrying on a conversation with himself had some issues, or, as my Grandad would put it, “was a brick shy of a load.” Nowadays, he’s a stock broker, and not unusual in the least.

My Grandad passed before bluetooth technology became widely used, and I’m glad he didn’t have to witness all the people walking around talking to themselves. It’s confusing and disconcerting to wonder if someone is talking to you, or to their lawyer about their estranged ex-wife.

I was walking to the door of the Petro in Reddick, Fla. We stopped there with the Mintlings, because we are all actually eight-year-old boys and like to check in at a place named “Reddick” — though Hooker, Okla., is still my personal favorite.

Also, there are boiled peanuts across the street at a fruit/souvenir stand, but as a boiled-peanut connoisseur, I wouldn’t recommend them. The Petro has a long sidewalk from the back parking lot, and it was just myself and an older gentleman moving toward the door – I had scurried ahead of George and the others to get to the bathroom, and this guy was moving along at the same urgent clip. We had almost reached the door when the guy booms, “You tell that evil bitch I made the money that bought the truck!”

He scared the living doodie out of me (almost literally), because as he yelled, he simultaneously reached for the door (I’m assuming to open it for me) and had me kind of trapped between him and the door. I turned around to see what the hell he was doing, and realized, as he put his hand over the mouthpiece on his headset and whispered, “Sorry, it’s my lawyer,” that he wasn’t instructing me to tell an evil bitch anything, and tazing someone who is already on the phone with their lawyer is probably not a good idea.

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I try to never talk to people in bathrooms beyond the cursory “excuse me” and “thank you.” It’s a really bad place to approach someone. There’s a lot going on in the bathroom. I myself am not generally in the mood to chat, and would like very much to have a cloak of invisibility for the public restrooms I frequently visit. I have been asked about my shoes from an adjoining stall, and while this wouldn’t have bothered me in the least if I had been getting coffee, being asked about my shoes while I was trying to void was unacceptable.

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That being said, I was the dummy in the cartoon in a Love’s bathroom, somewhere in Oklahoma, last summer. To my (dummy) credit, the girl in the other stall started off her phone conversation by saying, “Hey, what’s up over there?” not once, but three times, because for some reason, the connection in a Love’s bathroom is horrible. After the third, “Hey, what’s up over there?” I assumed she was talking to me and answered with the obligatory, “Not much. Mostly because strangers are talking to me while I’m trying to void.” (I didn’t actually say that last part, but I was thinking it really hard.) It didn’t take long for me to realize she wasn’t talking to me, because her next statement was “if Lindsey was over there” and I knew she’d be able to see Lindsey’s feet (reference: shoe encounter) if she was “over there,” so I deduced she was on the phone and shut up. Thankfully, she never responded to my “Not much” answer, and I sincerely hope she didn’t think I was making a comment on my personal progress in the bathroom to myself, because that would just be crazy.

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