Bathrooms and Thinking

Inspiration comes in many shapes and at the weirdest times. Yesterday as I sat in the rather hot room we have been using for the writing program I am participating in this summer, inspiration for this blog came from something someone said. In the middle of a “show-and-tell”, one of the guys (thank you “Ron”) said something that sparked the little flame of inspiration (and memories, as well).

“Ron” was explaining—after we all laughed at it—that the model of his “thinking space” had a bathroom because a lot of thinking goes on in there. Immediately that took me back to my childhood. Bathroom? Your memories of childhood connect to bathrooms? What kind of a childhood did you have? A very happy one, as a matter of fact. However, these small private spaces did provide me with a lot more than just a place to…well, you know what.

pexels-photo-105934

This is NOT the bathroom I’m talking about!

When I was a kid, my parents, my sister, and I spent the weekends at my aunt’s (my namesake) house (if you want to know more about her just click here). The whole family met there. My grandma would cook these gigantic meals, and uncles, aunts and cousins all gathered around the table and around the house for the day. It was fun but, for an introvert like me, also often overwhelming.

If you are one of them, you know that introverts need their time alone, their quiet space where they can recharge the energy they just expended around all the commotion—no matter how much fun it was.

In my case, the only place I had to recharge was the bathroom. My aunt’s house was big by Portuguese standards but had only one bathroom. It was a rather large bathroom with a huge shower and a nice little space with a small table and chair.  When activity and noise got to be too much for me, I would retire to the bathroom, lower the toilet cover (I don’t know why I didn’t use the chair), sit and either read, talk to myself (don’t judge. I’m a writer), or just sit quietly.

This seemingly harmless activity didn’t always go too well with the rest of the family. After all I was occupying the only bathroom in the house and this was a family heavy on the female side. I recall loud banging on the door, name calling (from my cousins), threats (from the grown-ups) and even bribery (from my mom and grandma). Even as a child, I knew what my limits were and when I was sure I couldn’t push it any further, I would close my book, finish my soliloquy, and unlock the door to the flood of desperate humans dancing around on the other side.

restroom sign

“Ron” was absolutely right.  Bathrooms ARE indeed thinking spaces for a lot of us. Even today some of my best ideas are born while loitering around the white and blue space of my quiet bathroom. How many of you use the “little girls/boys’ room” to do a lot of your thinking? What do you think makes them such great places to think?

And don’t worry; even though I talk to myself all the time, my imaginary “friends” have never once answered back 🙂

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