I would like to tell you that this is the story of the time I almost pooped in a shoebox, but that wouldn’t be the whole truth. Because the truth is that I almost pooped in a shoebox on multiple occassions.
So I live in a 4br/1ba loft in Brooklyn with 3 other folks, all in their late 20’s/early 30’s. I think there’s a big difference between having roommates in your 20’s versus having roommates in your 30’s. When you’re in your 20’s, you want your roommates to be like, Siblings 2.0 — built-in BFFs who you can come home to at night and vent your days’ complaints to, go shopping with on the weekends, have messy cake-batter fights with…I blame the media. Laverne and Shirley. The Odd Couple. If you stayed up late enough as a kid to catch these shows on Nick At Nite, you probably grew up believing that having roommates in your 20’s would be the most fun evarrrrr. I’m looking at you, too, Friends!
Living with roommates in my 30’s has been a TOTALLY different experience. The vibe is less college dorm, more “amicable boarding house.” I’ve lived here a little over a year and I’d estimate on average, I had about 1 (one) conversation with each of my roommates approximately every month. A “conversation” being any exchange of words beyond “Good morning/You too!” or “Have a good one/You too!” And I *LOVE* that we’re all cool with this. We’re just 4 laid-back people who can’t afford to live alone and thus, share the same bathroom. Welcome to Roommates In Your Thirties. Welcome to the crux of the problem.
A large part of our disconnect is due to the fact that we all keep very odd schedules. I never know when somebody is going to get in the shower and thus, be in the bathroom for half an hour. Or more. I do it too! I’m sure we do it to each other all the time! But I’ll never forget the first time that it happened to me.
It was an early morning, and I’d just finished drinking my coffee. BOOM. Stop. There you go. You know EXACTLY where this is going.
I gotta poop.
I hop out of bed and waddle uncomfortably to the bathroom door which is…. closed. We have an “open door” bathroom policy in this house: if the bathroom is not being used, we leave the door open, so right away, I know this is not good news. Closer examination, and I can hear the faint sounds of water running. This does not improve my condition.
Well, I’m not gonna stand outside the door like a ghoul! I shuffle my overburdened colon back to my bedroom and re-strategize. OK. Do I focus all my energies on listening for the bathroom door to open, signaling an end to my suffering? Do I try to take my mind off of things? Do I sit — NO, better stay standing! Every minute feels like an eternity. How long is this shower gonna take, anyway? I start to spiral with catastrophic thoughts: This is your life now. You will never be able to poop when you need to. You’d better get a chamberpot for your bedroom and kiss that toilet goodbye. Your name is Umbriel now, bitch, because your life revolves around Uranus! That was the loftiest and classiest joke in this whole blog post about pooping myself, so I hope you appreciated it.
Now, I am a problem-solver by nature. And as nature’s call refuses to abate, I start to grasp at straws for solutions. My immediate thought turns to: “what can I poop in?” which leads me to a shoebox. Of course. I start sadly emptying my nail polish collection onto my makeup table from the empty Converse shoebox they call home. Sorry, soldiers, you’re being displaced. Duty calls. When —
I hear the bathroom door creak open and the sound of feet padding down the hallway past my bedroom door. YES! I wait for their door to close, then one beat before I ROCKET LIKE A FLASH into to bathroom to end this tale of woe and strife.
But (BUTT) but, I can’t be too angry. It’s a 4br/1ba, after all. And I’ve been known to take long showers (and spend a long time on my skincare routine) myself. I’m certain that there’s been a couple times when yours truly has been the villain of the story: tying up the bathroom when one or more of my roommates was in desperate need. So I can’t hold a grudge for this or any other instance where I’m holding it during someone’s primping session…
… but I CAN hold a grudge for THIS:
Back in the fall, we had a temporary subletter who, long story short, must not have caught on to the whole “open-door-bathroom-policy.” Granted, it’s an unspoken one, but who CLOSES THE BATHROOM DOOR AFTER THEM?!? Well, this subletter, apparently. And I’d rather
die poop in a shoebox than bang on the bathroom door in the morning to ask if there’s anyone in there… which is how, dear reader, I spent a harrowing 45 minutes in absolute anal agony waiting for literally no-one to vacate the bathroom before I finally barged in to see that the bathroom had been free the whole damn time. Honestly, I’m still a little butthurt over this one.
So the other thing I’ve learned about having roommates is this: GO. GO RIGHT NOW. IF YOU GOTTA GO, GO. So often, this situation could’ve been avoided if I’d let my pride take a hit and dashed for the bathroom BEFORE someone set up camp in the shower, but I let myself be lazy. I wanted to finish the episode, I wanted to finish typing out that last sentence, I told myself I could hold it until I really needed to go. NO! That is the mistake! It’s like re-toilet training yourself: at the very first inkling, you gotta GRAB that bathroom and use it or lose it.
poop emoji via Wikimedia