Dearest Readers, my sincerest apologies for information that I am about to convey. It is not my intention for this blog to be a reservoir of personal hygiene indiscretions. Those are certainly better left for the privacy of my non-posting life. However, a recent and persistent habit of your humble blogger ultimately reached a level today where it necessitates a jury of my peers. Not for the infraction mind you–for that I am the first to admit there is absolutely no excuse for my gaucherie, and I am guilty as charged. Instead, I throw myself onto the mercy of the court for absolution, tea, and sympathy.
My crime? Much to my darling wife’s chagrin and frustration, I have developed an obnoxious habit of late in forgetting to engage our commode’s trip lever. Or, in layman’s terms, I ain’t been rememberin’ to flush the toilet. The shame and humiliation I feel is only exceeded by the annoyance that Gorgeous suffers each time she discovers yet another of my transgressions. To make matters worse, the majority of my lapses have occurred in the powder room– her primary bathroom.
Our main bathroom is in our bedroom (i.e. the one I’m supposed to primarily use), but that is also where her office and working area are located.¹ When she is at work, I use the powder room just off the living room. Curiously, I’m not even comfortable using her bathroom because of all the strange containers that line its shelves. They each have bewildering names such as Avojuice, Dead Sea Mud, and a really scary one called Collagen Complex. I don’t know what a collagen complex is but apparently we have the antidote to treat it. When I enter that room, I am never quite sure if I’m entering a bathroom or an Ulta beauty boutique. I always develop a kind of tunnel-vision, making sure to avoid looking at what I clearly don’t understand.
Some of this is vaguely familiar to me. I suffered from a different kind of transgression as a young man arriving back home after my first year of college. Living in a dorm suite with three other guys that year, I had developed some personal habits that were apparently not in keeping with my family’s more traditional customs. Very early one morning we all awoke to a blood-curdling scream that came from the sole bathroom on the main floor. My mother made a post-midnight visit to the loo and apparently “forgot” to lower the seat. At least, this is how I interpreted her action until my dad sat me down the next morning. He explained that I would need to lose my newly-acquired boorish habits and immediately revert back to the more civil ways of our household. Toilet seats were to remain down while I lived in that house.
To the best of my knowledge, I quickly shed my Animal House tendencies after the great maternal scream. I rejoined society with once again a more polite bearing. My later bachelor apartments were, if not exactly white-glove clean, at least sanitary. Of the many complaints my ex-wife had about me, slovenliness was thankfully not one of them. And to my knowledge, Gorgeous has not had any complaints about me as a cohabitant prior to this current misdeed. I do feel therefore that any charge of gross indecency borders on prosecutorial overreach. I plead forgetfulness and a dash of absent-minded professor along with it.
To be sure, there is still an adjustment to my non-working life. Our cross-country move no doubt added a heightened sense of unfamiliarity to my surroundings and routine. That we are living in a condo we know is temporary (until we find our dream home) is another layer of extra uncertainty. I now admire my former co-workers who have their established homes in which to retire. Interestingly though, I have received more than a few e-mail messages from friends expressing admiration and even jealousy for how I’ve changed my life. I always respond with thanks, but also that I have come to belatedly appreciate a life that is stable and consistent, pointing out their own as an example. For so many years I was proud of my gypsy-like life, and for sure I wouldn’t give up the many wonderful experiences and people I’ve met in different cities and places. But there really is something about establishing deep roots. For those who are reading this in a home that they’ve owned for 20 years or more, I commend and admire you greatly.
Which leads us back to the powder room error of my ways. For the first time in my life I have been enjoying figuring out each day as it comes with only doctor appointments to get in my way. My head is either in the middle of a book chapter or a blog posting that I think would be so much fun to write. I have never experienced such freedom from responsibility at any time in my life. Retirement, however, doesn’t mean that one should be non-productive or irresponsible. Besides that part-time job I may or may not want to find, I’ve noticed what I believe might be the early stages of some actual goals floating in a few of my brain cells lately. Not enough to actually recognize what they might be, but enough to distinguish them from not that long ago when I used to ponder problem-solving at the office.
Recently another blogger asked me in a private email if I don’t feel at “loose ends” with my current life (Hi, N). Happily, I told her I don’t feel that way at all. I am excited, though, about pursuing something productive for myself at some point, whatever that may be. Doing so will probably keep me more alert to, ahem, remembering the more mundane requirements in the home. And that is something Gorgeous might actually appreciate too.
The defense rests.
¹ Gorgeous has predominantly a phone clientele. However, when a local person wishes an in-person reading, I make myself scarce and it takes place in the living room.