In Which We Discuss Alcatraz Bathroom Sounds

This entry was inspired by a conversation that I had with Tinkerbell and Jedediah.  Tink and I had just picked up Jedediah from a party.

Tinkerbell (a loyal blog reader) and I were discussing the Alcatraz Bathroom series, and Tinkerbell said, “You ought to do one on Alcatraz Bathroom SOUNDS.”   [Jedediah claims that this was HIS idea, but I digress.]

“What do you mean,” I ask?

We discussed what she meant. Tinkerbell was referring to when an intestinally-challenged person is not “alone” while going poo.

We’re not like you “other people.” You’d call yourselves “normal bowel movers,” but your normal is not our normal. We often have diarrhea or small poop pellets.  You don’t know how much you miss pooping logs until you can’t do it anymore.

So, Tinkerbell, Jedediah and I started discussing our various methods for addressing the embarrassing sound issue. As with other posts in this series, we will separate out single-user bathrooms (like at a friend’s house where sound can emanate outward) from multi-user bathrooms (where you are literally NOT ALONE). We welcome comments with suggestions for other approaches to this difficult problem.

Single-User Bathrooms:

Preferred Method:  Ceiling fan. Repeat after me: “There’s no shame in using the ceiling fan.” The only downside is that someone may be wondering “what you’re doing in there,” but if available, this white noise approach of drowning out the sound is the best.

Alternate method 1:  Controlled discharge (which may just not be possible given your condition). Well timed and spaced plops or splashes work well because it’s not like somebody is standing outside the bathroom while you’re doing your business. At best, they’ll catch a plop or a splash here or there.

Alternate method 2:  Simultaneous poop ‘n flush. This method can be effective also at minimizing odor concerns. Flush drowns out poopy sounds, and I have found (through much field testing, with confirmation by the home office in Slippery Rock, PA) that the quicker you dispose of your feces, the less the bathroom will smell afterwards.

Caveat:  Of course, single-user public bathrooms (like airplanes and gas stations) are no holds barred. You can pretty much do it however you want in there.

Multi-User Bathrooms:

Preferred Method: Hurry up or wait. If you’re alone when you first ascend the throne, do your business ASAP. If you’re not, and if you can wait, wait. The risk you run is that there will be a continuous flow of people in and out. Unless you’re pressed for time, though, it’s not like anybody knows you’re the one in the stall.

Alternate Method 1: Controlled camouflage. Discharge during electric hand drying is best. While you may not be aware, Crohn’s patient Albert Schultz invented the electric hand dryer, famously noting at the press conference that “It won’t dry your hands very well, but the white noise is magnificent.” You can also time your discharge to coincide with the flushing of another toilet or, as long as noisy enough, the running of the faucet.  I find that the opening of the door does not get the job done.

Alternate Method 2:  Simultaneous poop ‘n flush. This was discussed above but is not a preferred method for multi-user bathrooms. It’s just suspicious. The whole point is NOT to bring attention to your poop, and this method FOCUSES everybody on what’s happenin’ in your stall.

Not to get you too giddy with excitement, but our next installment will tackle “Toilet Seat Covers—Friend or Foe?”

One thought on “In Which We Discuss Alcatraz Bathroom Sounds

  1. I already know I’m going to love this series – thanks for making me laugh! I’m especially looking forward to the installment on stench control, since that’s often a worry of mine. My advice for plopping pellets is to try to space them out as much as you can – it may be all in my head, but I think one tiny plop per 30 seconds is less noticeable than a big plop symphony. Also, remember that in most circumstances your bathroom-mates are probably focusing on their own business and not paying a whole lot of attention to yours. Bathrooms are like second homes for us IBD-ers, so it’s easy to feel like everyone’s all up in our privacy in there. You’re a lot closer to, well, yourself, so you’re hearing your sounds more amplified. They might not be able to hear anything unusual sounding at all!

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