Does your family have a poop bathroom? Mine does. It’s the one bathroom in the house that everyone uses to poop. You might be thinking, “This is actually a great idea—a toilet out of the way, in a private corner—why didn’t I think of this?” And you would be right; that would be a great idea. Ours is just off the family room.
This very open and public space has high ceilings and hardwood floors and is furnished with only the barest of chic essentials. My mother’s unnatural fear of clutter makes for the perfect, photo-ready family room…and great acoustics.
Every morning there is a ritual. In the serene and dewy quiet my father, my brother and I move through the kitchen in a synchronized dance of coffee and breakfast making, dishwasher unloading and gathering of the newspaper. Somewhere around a half cup of coffee, my dad will grab the newspaper and head to this bathroom where the percussion of digestional warfare can be heard with crystal clarity. This is usually as I am about to take my first bite of oatmeal.
“Is it weird that we can hear dad right now?” Yes, Conner, it is.
But this revelation doesn’t stop my brother from using the bathroom as he’s headed out the door, or my mom from using it on weekends when she doesn’t have to be up at the ungodly hour of 5:30am.
I don’t know why everyone poops in this bathroom. It could be a subconscious thing, it being the farthest away from their bedrooms. But it’s also the closest to the kitchen, so that seems odd. Or they could have held a family meeting after I moved out and decided that this would bring them closer together in a base, tribal, we must forage for our food, kind of way.
All I know is families are weird, and mine is no exception. I noticed this trend when I first moved back home a year ago and thought it strange. I made a special point not to use this bathroom, as if my silent protest would make them realize the oddity of their behavior. I would risk the possibility of no or insufficient toilet paper, ruining my favorite underwear, anything to avoid using this toilet. But after one morning of too much coffee and oatmeal, I had no choice and I too graced this porcelain throne with my presence.
As I sat, I realized the bathroom was really quite pleasant. The warmth of the light made the brick-colored walls and white panels soothing to stare at and the coziness of the interior almost erased the captive audience outside. Within this small sanctuary, it was possible to believe that no one could hear every twitch or grumble, and to believe that you were completely alone.
As a private moment, it’s not that bad. Problem is, when you’re part of a tribe that lives under one small roof, there aren’t many private moments. Even if there is no one around when you enter the bathroom, by the time you’ve come out, someone has come home or come downstairs for a glass of water, and you have to face them in all of your exposed glory.
“So…um…it’s supposed to be nice this weekend.”
Yea, it’s awkward. Especially when you live with your adult brother who still thinks that girls don’t do things like fart or poop. So in the interest of all those involved, I generally give a short head nod and make up a reason to go to my room where I stay until the audio memory fades. And if it’s one of the other tribe members who has just given their best and most embarrassing performance, I find something in the newspaper and become completely engrossed for at least 30 minutes.
I suppose sharing one of life’s most basic rituals is supposed to make us closer as a tribe, but I am resisting it with all the energy I have. There are some things that we all just don’t need to know about.
Oh the irony….