Good news. Bad news.
The men doing manly pipe things left at about 6:30 last night, the contractor parting with a meaningful, “We’re turning your water on for the kitchen. You can use the kitchen sink and your washer. But you cannot use anything in the bathroom.” We stared at each other while thoughts remained unsaid. “I wish I were a dude right now” was the best I could muster.
I wanted to take a hot, soapy shower. I wanted to use a bathroom. I wanted to shower again and again. I wanted to dry my clean-as-fuck body on a soft, favorite towel and then pamper it with fine lavender lotion. I wanted to cover it with clean socks that were fuzzy and a robe with the softness of a hundred baby’s (clean) bottoms. Then, I wanted to crawl into fresh, crisp linens and feel the weight of several blankets and quilts.
In short, this fantasy could not occur in my own home on this evening. Of course, if I couldn’t have the basics of bathroom plumbing, then my landlord should front the bill at a five-star hotel. Heck, I would even compromise for 3.5 stars. But I couldn’t screw up enough chutzpah to call him … I knew how the conversation would go … he would brush off this request as the most unreasonable, indulgent, insane idea he’d ever heard. Did I not realize the thousands he was spending on fixing the plumbing and sewer lines? Was I not grateful enough for that? Was I really expecting him to provide more than the ability to run my AC/Heat without a sewer smell – which has been the dirty, shameful secret for the 2.5 years I’ve lived here?
I couldn’t call him.
Making that initial call about the bathroom, and tacking on a few more collected issues (garage door opener not working since Spring; main doors that didn’t fit properly) took all I had.
I had to coach myself through all my limiting beliefs … and there were many … and they were tangential.
I got online and drooled over the photos of the hotel rooms that Priceline whispered were less than half an hour away … I let my mind wander to imagine the bathrooms … with their hot water … their tiny soaps and conditioners … the toilet … oh sweet Jesus, the toilet. I named my price. Anything was too much … I am paying rent, dammit … but I was smelly, I was desperate, I was weary. William Shatner didn’t consider my offer very long before coming back with a “That is insulting. Of course I’m not going to sign off on this.” I fucking hate William Shatner.
I’d not eaten. I had an extremely important tele-course call from 8-9:30.
Resignedly, I microwaved the bit of leftover pot roast and ate it in a few bites from its Corning Ware dish.
I found a small bucket, cleaned it, took it into the bathroom and filled it with tears and urine.
I brushed my hair, washed up in the kitchen sink, brushed my teeth.
This morning, I moved the bucket into a closet.
I didn’t want it to bear witness to my shame.
The shame that I couldn’t stand up for myself.