The monologist

I push open the bathroom door to hear a woman’s voice from the far stall, mid-stream in a phone conversation. It is a business call, evidently, which rules out the exceptions I make for women calling the hospital upon discovering they are in labor, women calling the police to nab an abusive boyfriend outside, and women who are in fact secret agents remotely dismantling bombs ticking in amusement parks. I take a seat in the adjacent stall.

“…So I will be taking 35% for my expenses,” the voice announces. “No, yes I will… because I have uninsured medical costs, and I need a new laptop, and the car is toast. It’s only fair. Here’s the thing, Suzanne…” The voice rises with a note of urgency. I begin to whiz as loudly as possible. “My higher power and I need to get my monologues out. That’s just what we need to do this year.” Ah, people who use My higher power says as an abbreviation for Give me what I want. I trumpet my nose into a tissue, hack, and flush. “…And I met this lady who is a professional dancer, and she’s from New York City. New York City.” Another flush, just to make sure, as I leave the stall. “And she has so much more experience and knowledge. She’s going to help me cut them so I could fit five in an evening, not four. This is going to be a really big year for me…”

I wash up, then activate the blow dryer for a thorough thirty seconds, but she is still not done telling Suzanne what she requires and why, so I leave, ceding the chance to see how she justifies herself as she exits her impromptu office. The rest of her words will echo off the tile, unappreciated by any captive, full-bladdered audience members.

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