Wrong Place And Time

I apologize in advance for this story.

I was having dinner with three coworkers (my boss and two of our visiting counterparts from the European arms of the company) at The Pink Door after work on a Friday. We were finishing up and I got up to use the restroom. The restaurant shares restrooms with the stores in a certain part of Pike Place Market, so it was pretty much open to the public.

I entered and due to (ahem) the nature of my business, I passed by the urinal and reached for the stall door. It was locked and a voice from inside said, “Just a minute.”

I considered what etiquette was appropriate in that situation. Should I wait out in the hallway? I decided that it would okay to wait inside, since I had to go pretty badly and he would only be a minute.

So I waited and it was starting to take a little longer than I had hoped. The stall’s occupant seemed to be having a little trouble – there were a couple of grunting sounds.

Someone stepped inside and stopped, staring at me. I nodded at him, and started to work out an explanation, but he turned around and left. It probably would be more appropriate for me to wait outside, I thought. As I was considering whether I should wait outside after all, the greeter (concierge?) from the restaurant opened the door, looked at me and said, “Ok, break it up.”

I looked over at him, “Break it up?” I wasn’t sure what he thought I was doing, the only thing I might be guilty of was complicating the queue for the toilet by having to (again, I apologize) go “number two”. It slowly dawned on me how this looked – I was standing, eagerly, outside a toilet stall. “Oh,” I said embarrassed, “There’s nothing like that going on. I’m just waiting for the stall.”

He nodded knowingly, “Alright,” and closed the door.

The stall door opened immediately after he was gone and two young men walked out, making an immediate beeline for the door.

I stood, surprised, and undoubtedly turned red. All the pieces fell into place and I tried to figure out the correct etiquette for what I now understood the situation to be.

I hesitated – I really had to go to the bathroom – but decided it was time to leave.

I went back to my table and quickly explained what had happened, “There were people having sex in the bathroom and I was waiting outside the stall so I was implicated. We need to leave.”

So we walked through the restaurant, passing the greeter. (I averted my eyes.) And as we walked up the stairs to the exit I heard him tell the other greeter, “That’s him.”


That evening I went with some of my coworkers to see Sleater-Kinney. At least six months later, the first time Chris Canuck came down to Seattle, we had dinner with Kreg and Adriana at the same restaurant and I told them the story. I’m going to see Sleater-Kinney with Kreg and Adriana tonight and I got an email from Sandra (one of the people I’d had dinner with) and talked to Mari on the phone (who went with us that night to see Sleater-Kinney). So it’s inevitably surfaced again.

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