I’m not sure if I told these stories on the blog, so I’ll share them anyways. They both happened when I was a PhD student at Yale and contributed to the culture shock I experienced because of moving to the US from Canada.
Once, I was studying at the Graduate Student Center. I’d had two cups of coffee which made me need to go to the bathroom. To pee. If you think this is a superfluous bit of information, wait until you hear the entire story.
So I go into the bathroom and I discover a group of women who are standing in a circle, holding hands with their eyes closed, and praying. Aloud. In the toilet.
So I went into a stall but the sounds of “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.Your kingdom come. . .” made it impossible for me to proceed with the business I came into the bathroom to do.
In case you are wondering, there were many places of worship on campus provided specifically to accommodate the needs of prayerful folks. There were also several churches surrounding the campus.
There was, however, only one ladies’ toilet at the Graduate Student Center.
The second story unfolded at a local restaurant where I went with my boyfriend. Once again, I entered the toilet and wanted to proceed with the task I came in to perform. Apparently, different people have different ideas of the purpose bathrooms serve. There was a Bible right next to the commode. And a stack of leaflets promoting a neighborhood church.
If you have any feelings at all towards the Bible, you will realize why I didn’t manage to do my business in the toilet yet again.
This is why when I went back home to Montreal, I told everybody I knew that I was living in the Bible Belt. Little did I know that the area where I lived was considered a hippy latte-drinking godless atheist East Coast.
The encounter with the real Bible Belt came later.