Life Log

A Random Encounter in a College Bathroom Where I out Myself As Atheist

So at lunch today I nip into the bathroom and am standing in front of the urinal, like most men, minding my own business, staring dead straight ahead, when someone comes and stand next to me to do likewise.

So far so good. But then I hear the dreaded ‘throat clear.’

Oh man, this dude is going to start chatting with me, I think. I hate that. It was a long busy day already, and now I’m going to have to field questions in the bathroom. But I put on a forced smile because there are prospective students all over the campus today, and this is a parent of one of them probably as I’ve never seen the chap.

So he clears his throat again and kinda faces me and says:

“I saw some obscene word scratched on the stall upstairs,” he tells me.

“Oh, really. That’s a shame,” I say. “I’ll make sure I tell one of the guys who works in this building about it. It doesn’t happen very often here.”

Pause. He clears his throat again.

“Yeah,” he says. “I told an admissions counseler, and they said they’d do that. But I saw your keys and thought maybe you worked in here.”

Okay… I nod, understandly. I’m wearing jeans and a T-shirt today, so I don’t look like a Tech Dude. Fair enough.

“Oh, no, sorry, I work at the Technology Center,” I explain. “I’m over here trouble-shooting a problem with the AV system here. But I will tell someone about the graffitti, that’s a real shame.”

So I finish, head towards the sink, and he leans towards me again.

“Well,” he says. “It’s a Christian college, but I guess that doesn’t mean everyone here’s Christian, does it.”

I freeze in place. Now, I know I’m a representative of the college, and that I should just smile and move on. That’s what I usually do when I get those kinds of comments at the college.
But I was tired from being up late, and it had been a busy day, so I just looked this guy in the eye.

“I’m an atheist.” (I’m actually more of an agnostic, but I was not going to go into semantics)


“And I think carving obscenities into the bathroom stall where you attend school to be entirely pathetic and somewhat immoral by my standards, and I’ve never done anything like that in my entire life.”

“Well, I meant…”
“Most students here are Christian, as are most people in the US, so the chances are, the person who did that act was Christian, believe it or not.”

He zipped up, backed away from me, and got the hell out of the restroom before I could even form the next sentence. I wasn’t even mad, just very matter of fact, somewhat offended, and tired of hearing shit like that.

So maybe that person’s kid won’t be coming to Bluffton.

6 thoughts on “A Random Encounter in a College Bathroom Where I out Myself As Atheist”

  1. I had a similar situation at work yesterday. On my way to meet with someone I passed the office of I guy who was on my first team at Real. I stepped in to say hello and see what was new with him. I’d always known he was religious, but I wasn’t prepared for when he asked if there was anything he could pray for me about. At first I thought he was joking, but he persisted. I appreciate the sentiment but that’s like walking up to someone and trying to hand them $20 for no reason. It’s weird.

  2. Heh. Well, his kid may not come to Bluffton, but it sounds like at least he got a bit of an education.

  3. Hm. Guess he didn’t spot your horns or tail, so assumed you must be like him — believe as he does. A lot of that going around, it seems to me.

  4. Wow. Sounds like a cool scene for a book. But I can see the editor’s comments: Please reconsider. Not realistic.

Comments are closed.