Stay Out Of The Bathroom
By Darin Z. Krogh
My wife and I have enjoyed years of
connubial bliss. The secret to our marriage, I
believe, is that we are fortunate enough to have
our own bathrooms. I am an aged man of medium crankiness and intolerance. My wife is younger and very tolerant except of me. I am not allowed to use her bathroom. Never entering her bathroom is the secret to our marriage. Elderly men need to have their own bathroom.
Bathrooms are important in family dynamics. I grew up not far from downtown Hillyard, back in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. That was in the previous century for you younger readers. My family lived in a house with six kids and two parents and ONE BATHROOM. As I look back on those days, I am struck with horror. How did we do it? In the morning, we all competed for the shower/tub before going to school and our father before he went to work. Other activities, specifically involving the toilet were also completed. Sitting and reading a magazine during these unspecified activities was out of the question. My mother acted as the monitor for bathroom shifts among all of us, but not always assigning equal time to the various occupants. We boys got the briefest allotment, my sister was allowed substantially more time and our father could have finished reading a slightly abridged version of Tolstoy’s “War And Peace” during his toilet time. But after a while, no matter who was in the bathroom, our Mother would shout through the door “get your ‘business’ done and get out!”
I made up my mind that one day, I would own a house with an extra bathroom where I could sit and read all day without hearing someone shout through the door. When we complained about having only one bathroom, our father took a moment(s) to deliver his speech on how he grew up in the back woods of northern Minnesota where the family bathroom was some 30 feet from the house, often requiring a trudge through deep snow. None of us kids ever made a comment after he finished his speech because that would give birth to other hardship stories that he ached to recite, stories about bathing in a metal tub in the kitchen and such. Usually he ended his life lesson by describing the visit to his cousins in the Big City, Minneapolis, where he was shocked to discover that these people did their “business” inside the house, in a room they called the bathroom. He was troubled by the misnomer, although a bumpkin, he knew the toilet was not for bathing.
A neighborhood friend of mine in youthful days, Chuck Siver (obviously not his real name), lived closer to downtown Hillyard than me. One night, I stayed over at his house. In the morning, I used his family’s single bathroom which was much like our own at home, except that Chuck’s bathroom didn’t have a sink. I courteously, did not mention the missing sink until some years later. “Chuck, what was the deal with no sink in the bathroom at your house?” Chuck responded, “I never noticed until you mentioned it.” Later, he asked his parents about it. He reported “My father suggested that I move out, into someone’s home that had a bathroom sink. End of conversation.”
Later on in life, I was raising my daughters in a house with plenty of bathrooms, most of them with two sinks. Chuck Siver would have been flummoxed, which I was, especially when I entered my daughters’ bathroom. One day, I needed some Q-tips to clean the grooves around the oven door in the kitchen. So entered into my daughter’s bathroom where I presumed there were cases of Q-tips that I had often seen their mother bring home from the store. The girls’ bathroom reminded me of stumbling into a college biology lab years ago. There were devices and apparatus that were unfamiliar to me. Things suspended from hooks and bars. And several foreign chemical smells in the air. But not one Q-tip. Apparently, my daughters were selling the Q-tips at high school for spending money. And both sinks in their bathroom were full of junk, bottles of stuff, curling irons, etc. Unusable sinks. It made me think of Chuck and his missing bathroom sink.
All this is a digression from my original point. Men: As you enter your golden years, make sure that your lodgings include HIS and HERS bathrooms, separate and distinct. After decades spent with you, the Woman in your life may find that you grate her wrong in some little ways. Get two bathrooms, rather than end up as subject material for those real crime shows on T.V., like “Investigation Discovery Murder: Wives Who Couldn’t Take Him Anymore”. And enjoy the added benefit, you will have a quiet place to sit and leisurely thumb through a full length version of “War And Peace” taking time to ponder the illustrations and read all the footnotes.