standing in the shower, thinking
about what makes a man
an outlaw or a leader
I’m thinking about power
the ways a man could use it
or be destroyed by it
the water hits my neck
and I’m pissing on myself
in the shower
….Jane’s Addiction, from the album Nothing’s Shocking
Anne Lamott said in her book Traveling Mercies that while most people say God is in the details, she knew for herself that God was, in fact, in the bathroom. That’s where she would go to pray, when things had gotten too hard to handle. Even if you don’t believe in God, you’ve probably found yourself in the bathroom, having one of a variety of reactions to the undulations of being human and not always knowing what to do. The shower scenes in movies have just as much variety. The place where passion unfolds itself in steam, where we find the protagonist mulling over hasty decisions or regrets, where the broken come to get clean. It’s the place where we try, as much as we can in the physical, to wash clean the psychological scars of what’s happened to us, what we’ve done, who we’ve lost.
The bathroom is the one room of a household allowed to show its shame, the preparations we put ourselves through to face the world. On every shelf, in every cupboard, strung up on each towel rack, wadded up in balls in the wastebasket, are the testaments to our time, our place along the timeline of life. And often, it’s where we go to hide from the world, or even leave it sometimes, the last place loved ones might look for a body, or where we go simply to not think, to cope or deal, to be left alone where it is expected and respected that we can do so without anyone causing a fuss.
From childhood to adolescence on to adulthood, bathrooms and their use play a definitive role in how we are made up, composed. What goes on inside as we grow is carried with us throughout our lives. The smell of soap, or a certain kind of cream rinse, the grit of whatever cleansers mom would use. When I was a kid, my hair was so long and untamed that my mother would often have to hurl my head over in the sink and scrub out wads of gum or tangles. In the mirror, I would scrutinize my face, searching for whatever flaw burdened me from fitting in. In high school, I’d often be in the stall farthest from the door, crying quietly from one rejection or another, sifting through some composure so that when I came out, no one would be able to tell.
In the shower or the tub, we are like the way we were on the first day, wet and warm, turned to liquid despite ourselves, our skin going to sponge, loose on our bones. We are as clean as we are ever going to get, and most often it’s never clean enough, because the world is out there, waiting for us.
I always wanted to be a dancer, but I could never get the shit off my shoes.
….quote from Crazy Paul as stated from Henry Rollins, from his spoken word CD Human Butt.
And the time goes by so fast.