Friday, June 27, 2014

Bath Mat Independence Day

When I was growing up, I told myself that I would never have a rug-like toilet lid cover that with a matching contour mat, sink mat and bath mat.  Maybe it was because they always seemed just a little bit dingy.  Maybe it was because even at a young age I struggled with the idea that there was no way of knowing when they were last cleaned.  Maybe it was because the only people I knew with toilet covers were old people.  It's a silly thing to realize I actually thought about it, but when I was mentally decorating the interior of my someday home the toilet was never covered with a rug.

I grew up and I got my own place.  I had a bath mat because that is just the practical thing to do.  When my ex moved in, it was only a matter of time before I noticed the color of the flooring was starting to wear away in a particular spot.  At first I didn't realize what the problem was.  But then I realized the day had finally come...I needed a contour mat.  We went to the store and we he purchased the cheap-but-matching unholy trinity of toilet seat cover, contour mat, and bath mat in the color of my choice.  I tried to look on the bright side; I enjoyed the soft fibers beneath my feet as I took my morning fizz-winkle instead of the hard and sometimes cold floor and it was kind of nice to have something that matched and belonged together in the bathroom I had never really decorated.

Every time I would clean the bathroom I would turn the water temperature nob to Hot/Cold, pour in bleach and then I would pick up that filthy contour mat with two fingers, hold it away from myself and move slowly as if it were a dead animal I didn't want to touch me before gingerly lowering it into the washer.  I didn't realize it at first, but every time I did it... I was angry.

I was trying to be the kind of woman who provided a good home to a man she loved and his child.  I kindly reminded people to " a sweetie, wipe the seatie" day after day, week after week as I cleaned one gross mess after another off the seat.  I got angry and went on strike after not being able to get any help cleaning the room which everyone made the most personal of messes in, even if it was just wiping up after themselves.  I'd had children of all ages in my bathroom (even in the process of potty training), various house guests, even roommates once and had never needed to beg and plead for common decency or needed a contour mat until a man over the age of 30 moved into my home.

I'm sure someone out there thinks I sound petty, immature, maybe even a little bitter. You should know that I'm leaving out the details of how extreme the mess was.  And while I accept that sometimes in relationships you take care of each other's gross messes (to his credit, my ex washed the dishes about 1 time every other month including gross fridge experiments) there is just something the crosses a line about washing a grown man's piddle carpet week after week because after over three decades of having a penis he still hasn't figured out how to stand in one place while he points, shoots, and shakes before putting it back in his pants.  Pssst...this isn't really about the goddamn contour mat!

When the relationship ended, I threw out the contour rug and  I bleached everything within the first two weeks he was gone...scrubbing him out of my life, taking back my space.  I bought new mats when I got my tax money back.  Sadly, I'm the kind of person who needs things done perfectly or I wont do them at all...including setting out my new bathroom accessories.  And so they sat in their bag for months while I've struggled with anxiety and stress, and nearly debilitating depression.

Until this past Sunday when I cleaned the bathroom and while there are still shelves and spaces to be organized, I cleaned and bleached the floor like I haven't been able to in months.  As I pulled the beautiful, soft blue mats from the bag I reveled in their newness the same way I do new sheets or new socks.  Then, I took them into the bathroom and arranged them, perfectly lining up every edge, checking to be sure every line was parallel.

And as silly as it sounds, it was like Bath Mat Independence Day.  I sat on the squishy softness that was now my toilet lid, rubbed my bare feet and curled my toes in the clean, plush softness underneath them and realized my anger at cleaning the bathroom for the past two years wasn't really about cleaning the bathroom at all; I spent so much time trying to make nice, asking my ex to be nice to me and treat me with the kindness, decency and respect I deserved, and on my hands and knees trying to clean up the messes other people made all while I was losing MY coloring.  Another lesson learned.

Bath Mat Independence Day... because I like the feel of soft plush between my toes in the morning when I pee, not because it makes disrespect tolerable.

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