Monday, June 02, 2003

Confession time. Civilization has done a fine job on me. I use the proper cutlery when I eat. I cover my mouth when I cough. I shower and shampoo at least once (often twice) a day. My dirty dishes go in the sink or the dishwasher almost immediately after I leave the table. I hold doors for complete strangers when I'm entering or exiting a store. But ... 

One thing I've caught myself doing is burping. Loud, volumous burps. Drawn-out, from-the-diaphragm, ring-in-your-ears kind of burps. I find myself doing it in supposedly private places, like when I'm alone in elevators, in the car, and lately in the shower. The shower at the place where I exercise is the best place to burp. The floors, walls and ceiling are tiled so even skinny little gastronomic noises carry and resonate well. I was surprised this evening, showering and scrubbing myself off after everyone else had left the facility for the day when I let one rip and turned around to rinse my back and found that I wasn't as alone as I thought I was. 

An older gentlemen had just come into the shower room. I was embarrassed and didn't know what to say. The man didn't seem to make any remark about the noise, but he obviously heard me as he looked right at me when he came in, but kept a perfectly straight face. It would have been easier establish a rapport with him if he had said, "Nice one," or "Holy shit," or "Good dinner?" but he chose to remain silent. Excusing myself for my indiscretion seemed silly, as it had been a few seconds since the horn had sounded - it would look pretty obvious that I would be feigning politeness for his benefit. Apologizing might look kind of gallant or femmy, which is an awkward thing to do when you standing naked and soapy just a few feet from another man who is naked and soapy, too. I tried to casually glance over and gauge his reaction, but he was moving and lathering and I didn't want to appear to be checking him out*, so I just pretended it wasn't big deal and carried on. 

What an awkward situation to be in. I've got to be more careful about where I practice my Neanderthal indulgences. 

*Normally, appearing to be gay isn't something that bothers me, but
it just didn't feel appropriate in the shower at that time.

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