I grew up in a house with nine other people and two bathrooms, so you can imagine the wait.  In fact, there was an unspoken policy that if you were in the shower, hidden safely behind the thick shower curtain, the door should never be locked.  That opened up the sink for anyone who needed to brush their teeth, apply make-up, or stare at themselves.
We formed long lines down the hallway, bleary-eyed and clutching clothing or towels.  And the line waited for no man.

Although my family had something of an unspoken Seat Rule (if you sit in the right-hand corner of the couch, move, and come back to find it occupied, the new occupant must give you back your space), it was not so for the bathroom line.  If you left your spot you went to the back of the line and started over again.  This probably had more to do with the fact that there was no delay than with our lack of consideration for each other.  As soon as one person came out, the next went in.  And the next person in line would knock at regular intervals of about, oh, I’d say, every forty-three seconds. 
“Are you almost done?” 
Long pause.  “No.”
Places ear to door.  “Are you just standing in there?”
Long pause.  “No.”
Does the “I’m-waiting-to-get-in-the-bathroom” shuffle.  “Almost done now?”
“Go away or I will NEVER come out!”
This threat usually proved effective.  We were all terrified that someone might, someday, barricade themselves into the bathroom and we would have to function with only one.  And that, of course, would be The Downstairs Bathroom.  Whereas the upstairs bathroom had all the extra towels, q-tips, and lotion, the downstairs bathroom had smelly shampoo and no conditioner.  This is probably why, to this day, we call it the “boy’s bathroom.”  Oh, you lost your place in line?  You have been demoted!  Go down to the boy’s bathroom!
The dilemma escalated on early Sunday mornings, when everyone needed to shower before church.  We operated under a heavy sense of doom that if we couldn’t manage to squeeze ourselves into the bathroom before dad yelled the final warning to get in the van, we’d have to go to church in our pajamas.  In fact, I distinctly recall jolting awake as early as five in the morning, intently listening to see if anyone else was up before jumping out of bed and racing my unidentified opponent to the shower.  Actually, I’ve never been able to entirely shake this tendency.  I still have some kind of perverse need to be in and out of the bathroom before anyone else.
You can understand how I have developed an obsession with floor plans that have a bathroom to every bedroom.  The imaginary family beach house (nonexistent until one of us wins the lottery) has something akin to twenty baths for twenty beds, with two extra bathrooms just in case.  And also one outside.  And also a guest house with its own bathrooms, in the next lot over, so we don’t ever have to share.   
Until then, we will content ourselves with making up poems.
What could you possibly be doing in there -
So long
When I just wanted to brush my teeth?


  1. unfortunately, I remember this about your house. :) lol

  2. Haha sure you do. But it was overshadowed by the freezing cold temperature and the smell of oatmeal.

  3. Oh yes. We have seven people to one bathroom. I definitely know the rules :) Which is think is why I'm obsessed with bathrooms to this day

  4. Ha! This reminds me when you got to tile your bathroom at home and Liz said you spent hours obsessing over where this one tile would go. . .

  5. Oh man, this is so true!
    I always wondered if it was jus tour household that ran like this. ;)

    For the record, I'm always the first one up on Sunday morning. 7am. I wake everyone else up at differing intervals, therefore organizing the effect a wee bit. hahahha.
    And yeah. You'd think the older ones might be more grown into the concept of patience, but NOOOO. My older sister, if she gets the unfortunate thought in her head to come down and wait outside the bathroom when I'm in there, she stands there and talk talk talks, telling me to hurry up, etc.

    Pretty funny. :D

  6. p.s.--we have one bathroom on each floor, but the main floor bathroom doesn't have a shower. hehe.

  7. My family of seven (growing up) shared one bathroom, and our family "rule" was that the door was never EVER locked, and people of the same gender could come in whenever they wanted (to yells of "shut the door!" and "Get out!!" which were totally ignored). For some reason, I am the only person in the family how isn't totally comfortable with this. I was SO uncomortable with this arrangement, actually, that I somehow trained myself to "hold it" indefinitely, so I could use the room when no one else was home, or were otherwise engaged (I can't count the movies and meals I missed, to use the bathroom)! The last time I visited my folks, I was in the shower, when my step dad came in and used the toilet. Yah...I don't stay at thehouse when i visit anymore :P To this day, I am ocd about the potty - can't use it unless the door is LOCKED.

  8. Beka and Alena: Exactly!

    I know exactly what you went through.


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