Behind Closed Doors

So, I’m at Village Natural (home of the “macro platter” whose photo I’ve delighted you with many a time), and I’m waiting for someone to vacate the one-room ladies room at the back of the restaurant. It’s been like, what, 500 years? Five minutes? Whatever it is, it’s too long. I saw the woman go in, and a quick crane of the neck reveals that she hasn’t yet returned to her table, where her friend is waiting with what looks like a fair amount of fidgety embarrassment. (You’ll have to wait for another day for me to tell you what I think about people who are embarrassed to be seen alone in restaurants.)
“What the hell is she doing in there anyway?” I say to the DOG, flashing back in time to something I wrote two years ago, in which I asked this very question about people who spend an inordinate amount of time in public restrooms. “Is she in there with her pants down, juggling her … buttocks … with one chunk in either hand” — and here I presented both of my own hands, palms up, in representation of weighing something on a balance scale — “just for the fun of it? What is it? What?”
And then she emerges, in all her plodding, baggy-ass, oversized smock top loveliness. I regard her with disgust, as I picture her hands overflowing with the weighed halves of her floppy flesh. I get up quickly, to stake my claim on the one-room restroom.
I am in the room for no longer than ten seconds, when the doorknob turns with brisk purposefulness. Left (my left), right. Left, right. Left.
“Someone’s in here!” I say with a tinkle (in my voice, you swine).
Left, right. Left. Right. Left. And then silence. The doorknob, quivering, attempts to recover from its assault.
I wash my hands, pout prettily at myself in the mirror, fluff my hair, tell myself I’m the cutest girl in all the land, and turn to leave.
Left, right. Right. Shove. Shove shove. Push. Pull. Left, right. Push. The doorknob lock jiggles. Jaggles. The sliding bolt shimmies. Pull, push. Push.
“Someone is in here!” I say. “Hold on!”
I turn the doorknob lock, slide the bolt, and pull the door to open it. And there she stands … the fidgety fussbudget whose frumpy friend had kept her waiting 500 years or five minutes. And whom I have kept away from the toilet for a total of 42 seconds. I feel it is my duty to glare at her, so I do.
“Jeez,” I say, charitably.
“I thought it was stuck!” she says with a whine. She looks up at me. I daresay she … cowers. Like she knows I want to … smite her.
“I thought it was stuck!” she continues. Exclamation point! Again! Panic! Panic!
“Patience,” I say as I brush past her, drawing the word out into more syllables than it’s ever been afforded in the history of its pronunciation. If she hasn’t already shit her pants from having to wait 42 seconds (or 500 years and 42 seconds, or five minutes and 42 seconds), she looks like she’s about to do so right then and there.
So the thing is this. What’s with the fevered door-wrenching? The frenzied knob-pulling (down, boys)? The crazed lock-jiggling? The all-around generalized panic? Once you try the door and realize the knob’s not going anywhere, don’t you just think, “Well, let’s see. The door is apparently locked. Since I am a sane person with the ability to make simple deductions and I am above the age of three, I therefore conclude that the room is occupied. Thus, I will have to wait.” However, from the flabbergasted look on this woman’s face, it was clear she did not have the brain power required to make that leap.
What was she thinking, then? That I was crouched on the other side of the door with two enormous tubes of Crazy Glue, using both hands to methodically squeeze glue between the door frame and the door itself, just to keep her out? (What an idiot she must be, I thought. Obviously this would keep me in, too.) Or did she think I was standing on the other side of the door, feet rooted, knees bent, both hands grabbing the doorknob with white-knuckled determination, pulling the door even more tightly in its frame in direct opposition to her pushing (oh, those laws of physics!), in an impromptu game of tug-of-war?*
So I left the restaurant before she left the restroom. And she’s probably still there. Because little did she know what I, as a regular, know: the door can also be locked from the outside!
* Update, 12:14 a.m. (19 July 2004):  I realize this is technically incorrect (even though I hail “the laws of physics”). I know that if I pulled the door at the same time she pushed it, my action would not be in “direct opposition” to hers, and, in effect, I would be helping her in her quest to gain entry. Work with (not against!) me, here, OK? (And please don’t send me diagrams or formulas or angry physics-infused email.)