Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The most quiet room in the house.

We're blessed with several privvy visits of lore. Elvis leaving the world from a Graceland water closet, Old Mother Hubbard fetching beer from the outhouse for her dog, and Thomas Crapper improving upon the work of Italian plumbers in service to the Queen. Then there are outhouse legends such as the lantern-waving lady ghost of Plimoth Plantation. We also have the history of Andy Gump, originator of those blue, plastic, rental outhouses parked at county fairs, construction zones, and the National Mall during protests and rallies.

Private toilets are quiet and are usually equipped with locks. Some thoughtful people keep a stock of magazines and books in theirs. Others run phone and Cat5e cables into their johns, which is something I'll never do. The throne room should remain an elemental place. Advances in wireless technology have made that pointless at any rate. However, the bathroom is a place where one can think tangentially. Unless someone starts pounding on the door . . .

Well, anyhow, I went into the lavatory at midday to clean up before a rare trip to town. While trimming my beard, the guage popped off the clippers. I drew the clippers back too late, which reminded me how terrified my two-year-old daughter was the last time I butched up my beard and had to shave it off. She cried and wouldn't come near me for weeks. That was 12 years ago, and since I was going to town to pick up very-same daughter for a doctor's appointment, I attempted to blend in the damage with a little more clipper work.

It worked somewhat like expecting body putty and chicken wire to renew a rusted-out '67 Mustang. The plastic guage again popped off. It went into the trash where it was soon met by a lot of gray whiskers.

After disposable razor work, the mirror face was the same one that petrified my daughter. The faint scars from accidents and fights each brought back a memory. The personnel-manual habits came back as I leveled out the sideburns and trimmed the moustache. Not many wrinkles were hiding under there, which was surprising. The face shows age, but it is all above eye level.

The toddler-turned-teenager didn't notice I had shaved for at least 15 minutes. Then she rolled her eyes. No tears in sight. Just sheer orneriness.

"The kids these days!"


Brigid said...

I stayed in a hotel in DC that had this fancy phone right by the toilet. I called my Dad just to say. "Dad I'm staying at a hotel that has as toilet in the john" and he laughed at that.

Didn't use it again.

My daughter looks just like me, it's almost spooky at times. As she reaches womanhood it's like looking in a mirror, for both of us.

Somerled said...

Thanks for the comment, Brigid. God is smiling down at both faces, parent and child.