Monday, January 10, 2011

Hippies Use Side Door

Some dear relatives of mine have recently moved into the area for a temporary stay, and are renting a place in a local college hippie town. The apartment isn't too unusual, but it is certainly rented to people of all sorts who stay for short periods, including, to be sure, a lot of students. The first time I visited, I did not even enter the bathroom. But when I did finally go in, I found it was a mine of interesting tidbits...

For starters, they have what I will call a "flow-through" bathroom. You remember from Lipton tea, right? That was probably even before my time, but I distinctly remember singing some sort of silly song as a kid, and my mom explaining to me the concept of the "flow-through" teabag (in order to increase brewing effectiveness, etc.) But what I mean is that there is a door on one side, and a door on the other side, so that if you happen to be on one side or the other, you can just go into the bathroom without having to walk all the way around your house to get there. Or you can go in and simply "flow through" to the other side. On the downside, you have to close and/or lock two doors, and then remember to unlock or otherwise open the other door before you leave. But still, I can see the advantages. The cat likes it, apparently.

Here is a view where you can see through one doorway into the other.

Also, another slightly odd thing about the bathroom is the way the toilet is placed, seemingly right in the middle of the floor plan. Looking at it, it's hard to see where else you would put the toilet, but for some reason it is not flush (haha) against the wall, but rather freestanding a couple inches out for reasons unbeknownst to moi. And the freestanding TP holder probably doesn't help.

Next up: The shower. If you look closely, you can see that there are two sets of knobs. One for bath faucet. One for shower. My "Aunt" (let's call her) says that this is one of the most annoying things about it, to her...

I wondered if the bathroom had always been a bathroom, or perhaps had been another type of room at some point (say, a really small bedroom?). Probably not, given the "flow-through" nature of the door arrangement. But I was noticing the way the bath and shower element seemed to be built out into the space. And I also kind of liked the archway-type detail above the shower curtain. (This was the first time my "Uncle" had ever noticed that.)

Next to the sink, they had a microfiber hand towel, which was so soft, you just wanted to keep touching it. And I kid you not, your hands would be dry in seconds, but the towel didn't seem to get wet at all. My Auntie loves it, and I must confess that I am a fan!

Finally, the bathroom chamber came equipped with this lovely sign right above the toilet. It's a pretty legit sign, actually. You could put a sign like this in almost any bathroom anywhere. But I think it's significant of the town that they are living in, which, as I mentioned, is a hippie college town. Which means it's full of people who like to save water by not flushing the toilet at all unless ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. Now, don't get me wrong. I'm all for saving water. And I also, on occasion, will elect not to flush, if it doesn't seem like there's much going on. But there are degrees to this approach, and I think some people take it to the extreme.

Case in point: I once interviewed at a political magazine (based in this same town), and when I used the bathroom there, I discovered an ongoing discussion taking place on a piece of paper taped inside the bathroom stall, debating the merits and detractor qualities of flushing versus non-flushing, including which type of pee was permissible to not-flush, etc. (For example "stinky pee" = flush, while non-stinky = okay to leave. But then you have to decide which is which. You get the point). So that's where this was happening. Which is why I laughed when I saw the sign. Because I knew why it was there and that, yes, some people do need to be instructed to flush the toilet every time. Because a clogged toilet, as I'm sure you know, is not a laughing matter.