Bathrooms are quiet places of refuge, and should be properly respected.
I had to play a joke on the maid at a hotel where I was staying. You know that little paper wrapper they place over the toilet seat, that thin paper band that is supposed to convince you that the facility is clean. You normally take the paper band off and throw it away when you go to use the john. Instead, I saved mine and each morning before leaving the room slipped it back on the toilet seat, giving the impression I never used it.
After day five of this I could only imagine the maid’s reaction.
Staring, she said, “What are you, some kind of a lizard?”
To me, bathrooms are like Greek temples, made of stone and cool marble, reassuring, serene, little worlds of their own, a place of refuge, shut away from the world and its problems.
Such places thus earn the more dignified name of “rest room.”
For example, if you hate your dead-end job, and you share a communal bathroom down the hall with the employees of other companies in the building, chances are you’ll spend more time here than you should, away from a threatening, dishonest boss, ringing phones and mountains of paperwork.
I admit I’m selfish. When I use the communal john, I want it all to myself—alone.
I also don’t want my imitation Greek temple sullied. Therefore, I never perform major bodily functions here (the only time I ever did I was sick).
There’s this guy. Every morning at 8:45 a.m. he’s seated on the throne. Now, I fully know this is not a common subject for a column, and I don’t want you to think I’m strange. But I’m truly curious about this guy, perplexed, baffled, whatever.
Since it’s only 8:45 in the morning, he can’t have been at work very long, not much more than an hour. Why can’t he hold it longer? Why can’t he do his disgusting business at home before he comes to work?
What does he do, process food like a goose?
Now, we all drink coffee, which I admit goes through you pretty fast. So I’m not against use of the john for small calls of nature. But I’m thinking of posting a sign, which reads, “This Facility Used for Minimal Body Functions Only.”
Don’t foul my Greek temple with your digesting bowels.
More bathroom palatial.
Bathrooms like restaurants should be rated in travel books as to how good they are. For instance, we’ve all seen gas station bathrooms in truck stops on Labor Day where the un-flushed facility hasn’t been cleaned and the globs of stuff in there are so putrid you think they may reach out and grab you.
Such places assign us lower on the scale of evolution.
Then there are bathrooms like the one I saw at Pebble Beach Resort. The heart soars. You could eat off the floor. Little, moist cloth towels hanging from silver trays for cleaning your hands. Embossed toilet paper. Gleaming brass and silver fixtures.
A dream come true.
I was in tears.