To avoid the ultimate humiliation of eating alone in the cafeteria, Tony started taking his lunchbox into the end stall in the men’s room on a different floor of the building every day. He found he could safely and quietly drop his pants, sit down, and quietly enjoy his lunch alone. He usually brought a book or a magazine to read, and even if someone came in to actually relieve themselves, they always used the stall nearest the urinals, because guys like to make sure other guys hear and smell it when they shit in a public place.
This exercise in overcoming aversion to the idea of eating in a bathroom that was actually kept fairly sanitary, especially compared with filth and unknown stickiness associated with the average lunch room table, began in high school, but it worked so well that Tony took it with him when he went to work for state government, and he continued the practice every single day until he retired after 37 years.
Eating lunch at his own kitchen table, in his own home, on a weekday, was such a novelty to Tony that he had to work up to it, starting standing at the kitchen counter, then sitting on a stool at the kitchen counter, then moving toward and eventually to the table and chair itself over the course of three months. The day he first was able to sit down, alone, and enjoy his meal at his table, in his chair, was one of the happiest days of his life. He still, however, ate with his pants around his knees, for the rest of his life, unless, of course, he had company present, which was seldom.