I Love You As Much As……
I walk into the gentleman’s lavatory of my place of work.
I need to wash my hands.
Whilst yanking paper-towels from the dispenser in a hugely devil-may-care masculine manner like that bloke who looked like a darts player in NYPD Blue, I notice that a conversation is taking place. In the Gents.
I look around. I am the only person here, save for an apparent occupant of one of the stalls, the door of which is shut.
Fuck me. He’s got another fella in there. They’re having a chat.
No. It quickly becomes apparent that the conversation is one-sided.
Unknown Gentleman: Yeah yeah I hear you but it’s all so deadline-sensitive I CAN’T just leave it. You know? It’s now or the whole thing’s blown.
I am astounded. Mobile-phone conversations are frowned-upon within the confines of the office (this is England after all, where we have perfectly good phones with wires, and if you want to talk on a phone that doesn’t have wires – like some sort of degenerate - then maybe this isn’t the place for you. Well. That seems to be the policy at my company. I’m not sure I disagree) but he could have gone outside. No need to lock yourself in a toilet cubicle.
There is the unmistakeable rattle of a toilet-roll in its industrial-quality dispenser.
Oh. Oh dear. He’s not just having a conversation.
UG: Thing is, cut-off point is today. That’s it. Or it doesn’t happen. You know how it is.
There is an additional rustle. Not of tissue. This sounds more heavy-weight.
He’s reading a fucking newspaper.
And they say men can’t multi-task.
Whilst admiring this man’s time-management skills (and whilst lurking in a public lavatory without legitimate reason) I am slightly appalled. Surely this was not the ubermensch Nietzsche had in mind?
UG: Sweetheart I know. I KNOW. But he’s just teething. HE IS. No. I’m not saying this is more important than our son. But you know he’s getting a sore tum and a temp because … ok OK. I’ll be home on time. Well. Maybe seven-ish. NO, what I do for a living is not more important. I mean, it IS important, what I do IS important and ……. Right. RIGHT. Look, I’m not arguing……
I decide to leave. I’ve been drying my hands for more time is necessary and I also feel as if I am now intruding on a family dispute. In an office lavatory. Which is a first.
The gist of the whole conversation seemed to be:
‘Sweetheart, I love you and our family. It’s all as equally important to me as reading the paper.’
‘In fact, a conversation with the mother of my children is as important to me as having a shit.’