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Piece of Mind From Inside a Bathroom Stall

July 22, 2008

By David Trinko Senior, The Lima News, Ohio

Jul. 22–Don’t tell anyone, but I started writing this column from my bathroom.

I spend a lot of time in the restroom these days, and it’s probably not why you think.

Lest anyone worry about my colon’s health, it’s just fine. The waterworks are just fine, too. But I’ve found something while using the facilities I never noticed before.

Silence.

I find that as much as I like being a husband, a dad and a boss, sometimes you just miss that golden quiet that constantly surrounds you when you’re younger.

It’s harder and harder to take a deep breath and relax without some kind of interruption. At my desk at work or on the couch at home, there’s always that threat of someone needing me to drop everything and come running for the crisis of the day.

That’s the beauty of the bathroom. It’s my fortress of solitude. No one would dare bother me in here.

The Fonz from “Happy Days” liked to ask people to step into his office, the men’s restroom at Al’s Diner. I, on the other hand, like people to step away from mine. I can’t make a jukebox go by bumping it with my fist, either.

I always feel uncomfortable when people want to chat when they see me in the restroom at work. I’ve adopted this sanitary code: I try not to talk to anyone until we’re both washing our hands.

Perhaps my joy at hiding in a silent stall is an indictment of how accessible people are nowadays.

If I’m within 10 feet of my desk, the ring of my phone or ding of my e-mail draw me back, no matter why I walk away.

If I’m within two floors of our children, the scream of a baby or pout of a first-grader push me into action, no matter how inconsequential her request seems.

That’s the draw of the commode. It’s out of hearing range from most other distractions. Most of the time, I wouldn’t dare answer my cell phone from a seated position in that room.

And, most wonderfully, people feel uncomfortable interrupting your time inside a restroom. Apparently, most assume you’re doing more than taking a breather.

I hadn’t realized how much time I spent in the downstairs bathroom of our home until our 6-year-old asked my wife if she could use “Daddy’s bathroom.” Apparently, those five-minute visits made it mine. Perhaps she chalks it up to squatter’s rights.

I love the people in my life dearly, but sometimes you just need a couple of minutes to yourself. Sometimes, I’ll pad out a visit to finish reading an interesting article. Sometimes, I’ll start writing something. Or perhaps it’s just for a relaxing game of solitaire on the cell phone.

Some people solve their problems over a night’s rest. I solve mine over five minutes in a restroom.

I’m not sure whoever decided the restroom was for the bladder and intestines only, anyway. I’ll take my rest anyway I can get it — even if it seems like I’m flushing my free time down the toilet.

You can comment on this column at limaohio.com.

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