An excerpt from the early draft of my new novel project, Production Notes:
Miles noted that as Simon leaned against the bar he tapped his credit card in a seeming metronome count of how long it took a bartender to come take his order. Miles wondered if Simon was the kind of guy who was keeping count of how many taps of the card it would take the bartender to arrive, and if that number might somehow factor into the tip.
Simon was stiff, and his face bore a resting expression just a shade away from a scowl. He looked to Miles like the kind of person who kept personal accounting of all things down to the penny and gram.
There is a stand up bit about Kanye West, where Aziz Ansari relates that one night out with the rapper, Kanye stepped away from their table for several minutes and upon his return loudly avowed: “Just so you know, I was on an important phone call, I wasn’t taking a shit.”
Two possibilities exist with regards to the defecation: the first is that Kanye did, in fact, go to the bathroom and felt the need to lie about it. As a people, Americans repeatedly engage in the discretion, ignorance, and sometimes outright lie of poop not happening despite the presence of bathrooms and toilets just about everywhere.
The extreme result of this social contract is the cliche joke among adolescents that “girls don’t poop.” It’s a form of weakness to be in such a vulnerable yet altogether natural (albeit stinky) position.
We do not like to victimize others with notice of their momentary biological squalor, and we take pains to keep others from having to tax their faculties by pretending not to acknowledge it in us.
Thus, Kanye may have lied to keep people from having to pretend that they didn’t notice he had just dropped his kids off at the pool. Or perhaps he was protecting his image and social stature as a person who does not regularly need to poop in vulnerable public spaces- if at all.
The other possibility is that Kanye did not poop, in which case he validates the above theory even further with the near paranoid impulse to dispel of even the slightest suspicion that he may have done so.
This is applicable now because Miles’ entire appraisal of Simon’s demeanor was due to this same social contract that caused the Kanye poop dilemma. Out of common decency, Miles could not presume Simon was a man who might need to ever go poop.
The reality was that Simon desperately needed to do so. In fact, Simon had been debating running to the bathroom despite his aversion to pooping in public restrooms (especially those in bars), and Miles had arrived before he could steel himself to make use of it.
Simon would spend the duration of his time with Miles under the extreme duress and conflict of needing two things: biologically, he needed to go to the bathroom. Psychologically, he needed to be a person who did not need to go to the bathroom for the sake of social contract, especially because he had a favor to ask of Miles.