I walked in and was instantly met with the foulest smell I’ve ever encountered. It literally stopped me in my tracks and made me contemplate just how badly I needed to empty my bladder. There was a bathroom at the other end of the office building, a three minute walk. The problem was the 24 ounces of coffee were threatening to overwhelm my ability to keep them at bay. I wouldn’t make it. I was forced to stick with plan “A”.
It took a full five seconds to collect myself. My nose burned and my eyes watered. It became evident that I’d need to breathe through my mouth if I were to be successful. The thought of that rancid smell finding it’s way into my mouth was not one I could stomach, so I quickly pulled my undershirt over my mouth, taking a slow, deep breath and holding it as I walked to the urinal.
The man in the stall was not shy. A grunt here. A sigh there. He wanted me to know he was there, and he wasn’t ashamed. As if I couldn’t already tell. As I started to take care of my own business, I wondered what the man’s motivation was. It’s obvious he wasn’t hiding his wretched filth. What kind of diet is this guy putting into his body? Was he proud of himself? Was this a power play? Was he trying to assert his dominance by emitting the foulest odor possible?
Was this a show of modern masculinity?
I decided the man was selfish. It was a snap judgement on my part, and I’m not proud of that. I even justified my disgust by thinking about the Golden Rule. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. For heaven’s sake, man, flush a couple more times!
Then it hit me. Maybe this man was living by the Golden Rule. Maybe he liked the smell of his own excrete. Oh god…what if he liked the smell of others’ excrete?
My bladder was only halfway empty, but I forced myself to stop. I’d emptied enough to make the three minute walk to finish my business in the other bathroom.
I felt like I smelled of that man’s feces all day. Whoever that was, you ought to be ashamed. You’re not, however, and that stirs all sorts of rageous anger within me.