I’m not generally a fan of discussing bathroom behavior. And I’m certainly not a fan of brandishing reading material and announcing to the world that the bathroom is where you’re headed. Imagine, then, my dismay to learn that this is apparently quite acceptable at my office.

We have “public” restrooms for our students during courses, but we also have a “private” bathroom that the staff uses. In this bathroom, there’s a cabinet built out from the wall that presumably holds extra toilet paper and cleaning products and so forth. However, invariably, there is also reading material on top of this cabinet. Not magazines, like they’re put there intentionally for users to choose from. We’re talking books. Mia Farrow’s memoir pays a visit not infrequently. Some cheap thriller called The Ugly Duckling has been there for weeks now.

Perhaps weirdest is how these books come and go. Do people bring them in and then leave them there for next time? If so, are we perhaps a little too comfortable with the office bathroom? Or, is this maybe a swap meet? I mean, if you have food that you’re sharing with the rest of the office, you put it in the kitchen in plain view. Perhaps the thinking is that if you’re ready to pass along a book, you leave it in the bathroom for someone else to pick up?

And, of course, it’s not the kind of thing that being the new person in the office you want to bring up: “OK, so I know where to get extra pens and paper clips. And I’ve figured out the copier. Oh, hey, what’s up with the books in the bathroom?”

Very. Weird.

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