Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Conversations from the Bathroom

It is a building of distinction.  Mostly hidden from the street by stately trees, the landscape numbered in acres and impeccably maintained.  20 units sit,  in an L configuration. 10 apartments at ground level, and 10 duplex apartments above. Built in the 1980's on the site of an old hotel, it is a place of great charm and beauty. And in one those upper story units, you will often find me and my family.

To get to our apartment, one must climb a flight of stairs. At the top, there is a landing, which services both our apartment and one immediately to our left (looking up). And oh, one more fact of note.  Next to the front door, and within inches of where one stands to gain entrance, is the downstairs bathroom.

The window of that bathroom opens to the outside world and the events that transpire on that landing.  Thus, on a typical day,  while showering, shaving or performing the functions for which this room is most often intended,  one might be engaged in discussion on topics as diverse as the weather or the political climate. The separation of universes, and the barrier between them, is often only theoretical.

But, that is not the only avenue of dialogue from one's perch on the throne.  When this unit was acquired by us, outside the bathroom was a small alcove,  wedged between the bathroom and the den/guest bedroom. In this area was a sink and vanity, with a row of light bulbs above, meant to illuminate one's physical shortcomings.  This space, seemed both to myself and my wife, to be improperly utilized. And so, the sink and vanity were removed, and in its stead an office was created.

For the most part, this works without issue. For me, or for a guest who may be in this "suite", there is a comfortable and defined area to spread out. The downside occurs when bathroom requirements and computer needs coincide.

This past weekend, we had a friend staying with us, who was in the midst of battles with his internal being. He had rushed himself to a hospital, but a few days earlier, fearing he was suffering from an appendicitis attack. While that self diagnosis proved faulty, he was on a course of treatment for his remaining symptoms when he arrived. The cypro he was taking left him in an even more altered state than usual. And of course, care in his choice of words has never been a great priority.

Emerging from the bathroom, he announced to all within earshot that he had a complaint.  Prefacing his remarks with overall praise for his accommodations, he announced,  "I can't fart when I am in that bathroom. I could almost tell what was being typed on the computer." While his point was rather obtuse, I thought I understood this to be a small criticism of the fact that I could virtually unroll his toilet paper while still sitting at my desk.

My wife agreed with his assessment, and stressed that we had all been given strict instructions to stay away from the offending area while someone was on the crapper.

But I find this bathroom to be a great conversation piece, literally and figuratively. It adds character and  uniqueness to our home. And I know that I for one never like being in a situation where I might be removed from a discussion in which I want to impart some wisdom. Our downstairs bathroom allows one to be in private and public space, all at once. And for that, I think it is the ultimate in a multi-purpose room. Just be sure not to visit us when you are feeling a bit inside out.


Anonymous said...

you would love those old lower east side tennaments w/ the bathtub in the kitchen!

Anonymous said...