Thursday, October 27, 2011

a private conversation in a public restroom.

I hear Johnny walking five or six paces behind me, his small legs carrying a v-neck t-shirted frame and struggling to keep up with my brisk pace. We're heading to the bathroom--individually, not as a group, although we've managed to become an inadvertent duo along the way--and I try to ignore the waves of Axe Body Spray that have somehow managed to leap ahead of both of us, despite my being upwind.

We step to our respective stalls.

"Man, I stayed up so late last night," he says, presumably to me (or the urinal cakes). "Reading a book, too." He laughs incredulously as if this surprised himself. Lord knows it surprised me.

"Yeah? What book?"

"Steve Jobs' autobiography."

"Autobiography? He wrote it?" I ask.

"No, dude, he's dead."

"Yeah, I knew that, but lots of dead people have written books," I say. I hate talking while I'm peeing. "Didn't someone else write it? His biography?"

"What?"

"Nevermind."

I'm nearly a foot taller than him, which helps reassure my sense of propriety that any dick measuring will be strictly metaphorical. Over the modest partitions between the urinals, I can only peripherally see spiked Cool Guy hair, but I'm still deeply uncomfortable with interaction of any kind in a setting as, shall we say, vulnerable as urination. But as oblivious as he is, it continues all the same.

"I only read books about leaders," he says, his voice practically visibly italicizing his sentence's final noun, "I don't really read...novels." He spits this second literary form like it was tobacco juice.

"Why not?"

"I don't learn anything from novels." I see his Cool Guy Hair Spikes pivot ninety degrees--toward me--and I maintain my eyes' affixing to the wall dead in front of me.

"Maybe you're reading the wrong ones," I say, zipping up and flushing while never looking away from the center point of the granite wall. He flushes too and now we're walking to the sinks. At least he washes his hands, I suppose.

"I like Michael Crichton ones. I learn stuff from those." I notice he doesn't use any soap (that's just rinsing, guy). "But, like, Steve Jobs said that you shouldn't live someone else's life, you know? So if I read, like Stephen King's books, I'm just living his life, and that's stupid. Living his shit and his brain is just dumb."

I nod to signify having heard this, but Johnny seems to interpret it as concurrence. I keep re-soaping my hands and re-washing them so he'll leave by himself before I'm ready to. He takes out a clump of paper towels--note to self: never use that towel dispenser because he only rinsed--and dries.

"I liked Twilight," he says. "I guess that one was good." He leaves the bathroom and I don't look up from the sink.

I wash my hands four more times and wonder what it'll take to make my brain feel clean.

5 comments:

Kelly Turkevich said...

hahaha! geez. My favorite part is the autobiography exchange.

Loz said...

Wow I thought I was the only person to have (endlessly occuring) bad experiences in public bathrooms. It's awful that these conversation happen outside of bathrooms but this....just in time for Halloween heh heh

emilyf said...

for real? ...

emilyf said...

for real? ...

Liz said...

Wow- that sounds like a horrible, horrible urinating experience... As if that in itself isn't bad enough! Ha