Saturday, May 5, 2012

My bad behaviour - Part 1

Hi all!

I've recently become aware that although being a pretty decent dude in most situations, there are some where I alter that behaviour for the worse.  Hopefully by discussing them, I'll get over these hangups, or embrace my bad behaviour as being part of the "social norm".  Heck, I might even contribute to changing what people consider to be normal - who knows :)

Here's my first instalment of situations where I regret my behaviour:

Public restrooms - If I'm going to a public restroom and a friend is also going, I will often pretend they don't exist for the duration of being there.  There are exception, but that's the basic rule.  I shut down completely - no sounds, staring at the floor, and only speaking when spoken to.  This happens to me 99% of the time now at work, so I'm kind of ok with it there, but I feel like I'm marginalizing my relationships with people I do know because of those walls.

Isaac Asimov wrote about humanity's behaviour in restrooms (or Personals, as they're called in his universe) in "The Caves of Steel", which I had the good fortune to read at an early age thanks to my Dad. The accepted behaviour was pretty much what  I do now, and what others around me do too.  However, this norm is challenged by a Robot, claiming that this behaviour is illogical.  The protagonist has been forced into this norm with something very personal, and here's how he describes his indoctrination: 

It was the first time he had spoken in a Personal, proper, since he was ten years old. That had been in his uncle Boris' presence and had merely been an automatic complaint when he stubbed his toe. Uncle Boris had beaten him well when he reached home and had lectured him strongly on the necessities of public decency.

I think this thinly veiled reference to our behaviour in public restrooms is right on the money. Granted, I'm not afraid of being beaten for talking in a restroom, but I'm consistently appalled with my behaviour, or lack thereof, in a public restroom, sometimes even when I go in alone.

In trying to find the above passage online, I stumbled across this thread of people talking about restroom behaviour, and whenever I did a search for an image, I came up with a bunch of etiquette stuff, so maybe my lack of talking is a good thing?  It certainly doesn't feel good, so I either have to become ok with it, or change.  What do you think?

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