Can I Use Your Bathroom?

It’s a question that I have to ask nearly everyone that I encounter for any length of time.  It has to do with how much water I have to drink.  I don’t count, nor would I want to count really, how many gallons of water I drink every day, but I imagine the number is abnormally high.  The reason that I drink so much water has to do with all of the anti-depressants that I take.  Prozac and Xanax are pretty well known for giving you a dry throat and the only real way that you can combat that is to drink a ton of water.  It’s especially a problem for someone like me who doesn’t merely show up to things, but likes to get involved.  It’s a rarity that I’m invited somewhere and I just show up and don’t talk, don’t interact or don’t communicate with anyone.  That would be weird.  I’m not sure that I’d be comfortable going anywhere that had any restrictions on the free flow of feelings and thoughts.  That’s actually a scary thing to think about; that there are places that restrict how you interact with others is something that is quite depressing just to think about.

You can tell a little bit about someone by the kind of bathroom that they have.  I don’t say that because it sounds like it’s from a movie (I think it is, in fact, from a movie, but that’s beside the point) I think what kind of bathroom you have and what you have in your bathroom is a statement about who you are and what values you have.  My Dentist, for instance, has mouthwash in his bathroom.  That would be weird if he weren’t a Dentist.  He also has flowers in his bathroom and they’re real flowers not fake flowers.  The room is casually dark, like something you’d expect to find at a nightclub or in a bar, but I think it’s dark because when you’re at the Dentist they shine that huge Emperor 3000 light in your eyes for like an hour, so people probably can’t handle a lot of light in the bathroom.  That does make you wonder how people react when they go outside and are exposed to things like sunlight.  Should we be allowed to drive after we visit the Dentist?  I don’t know.  They pump you full of chemicals, so wouldn’t it make sense for you to abstain from driving for a while.  That would probably be a difficult thing to enforce, which is my guess as to why they haven’t written that law yet.  I can’t be the first one to think that one through logically.

The worst bathrooms in the world seem to always be in gas stations and convenience stores.  I don’t know if people have just given up on cleaning them or giving them the appearance that they’ve been cleaned, but the state of our nation’s restrooms in establishments frequented by many travelers should be of prime concern to everyone.  Whether it’s the soap that has long passed it’s pure liquid state or the sink that is clogged with some sort of nasty hair that likely did not come from someone’s head, there are too many things wrong with the bathrooms in gas stations and convenience stores to list.  As someone who frequents many different bathrooms in many different places I know to avoid gas stations and convenience stores, but what about everyone else?  There is no public service announcement warning people of the dangers of nasty bathrooms and there likely will be none in the future, so what are we to do?  That is a question that our elected leaders should be focusing on.  Forget the deficit, forget jobs, forget health care, let’s talk about the state of our nation’s bathrooms because those are the places that have found themselves in real disrepair.

My friend Tia has by far the weirdest bathroom I’ve seen in quite some time.  It’s not weird because of its’ design or anything (actually part of it is related to the design, but not in a traditional way) It’s weird because of what it contains.  It contains lots of angels and other Christian symbols, which I wouldn’t find weird in and of themselves, but I find them weird because they’re taken together with this odd mix of Bed, Bath and Beyond fragrances, unusually coarse towels, carpeting (yes there is carpeting in the bathroom!) and the wallpaper, which is falling off the wall combines for a bathroom experience unlike any other.  I have often thought about how I could remake this bathroom so it would not be so weird and I simply haven’t been able to come to a solution that wouldn’t involve blowing up the room or something.  Now all this is said without taking into account the fact that her dog is usually hiding in the shower.  Talk about terrifying, imagine walking into a bathroom and getting barked at by a dog.  It’s just an all-around bad experience and unfortunately for those who have the grave misfortune of using Tia’s bathroom there appears to be no end in sight to the madness.

The truly important part of constantly having to go to the bathroom is that this condition teaches you to prepare for things that you otherwise wouldn’t be prepared for.  I bring a bottle of water with me everywhere because I know I’m going to get thirsty whether I’m gone for five minutes or five hours.  I find a place with a decent bathroom that is en route to my destination before I leave my house and I’ve learned that timing your bathroom breaks are critical when others are determining whether you’re weird or not.  If you get up and walk out of something while someone is talking or something, people are naturally going to think there’s something wrong and the last thing you want to do is answer questions and start a relationship off on the defensive, so I’ve learned to plan for at least one bathroom break every hour.  Sure it may seem excessive, but by having a pre-arranged block of time worked out I give myself the freedom to pick the least awkward moment to leave the room.  Planning is such a crucial life skill and it something that so few people know how to do well that I almost wish everyone could understand why bathrooms are so important that way they would have the knowledge that has helped me so many times in my life.

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