DEAR MISS MANNERS: I was in one of three or four communal stalls in the ladies' room of a restaurant, just finishing up, when another person walked into the stall next to me, closed the door, and then began to both sob and urinate audibly.
What is the appropriate response in such a situation?
I am one who would become more upset in the face of sympathy from a stranger, so I kept silent and waited for the aggrieved party to finish both her micturition and her audible sorrow. But perhaps this was inappropriate.
GENTLE READER: Forgive Miss Manners -- she knows that the answer you are seeking is in regards to the crying, but she can't get past what you might think the response to someone audibly urinating might be. ("Could you tone it down? Some of us are trying to concentrate.")
In any case, you should ignore both. If the stranger's ... ahem ... noise escalates, you can certainly ask if she needs assistance, and if you feel unable to provide it, send for an employee -- or doctor -- instead.