Bynature I am neither a covetous person nor am I overly acquisitive. When friends or relations discuss their Viking appliances, show off their 50th birthday present— “A tennis bracelet with 50 diamonds. Wasn’t that so thoughtful of Phil?” Yeah. He’s quite a gem. Creative, too!”— or point out their new baby blue BMW Boxter, I’m honestly not that envious.
Sure, I’d be pleased as punch with any kind of dishwasher. (My 52-year-old manual model isn’t all that reliable!) And who wouldn’t enjoy the convenience of a pot filler?
Jewelry? It really isn’t my thing. I wear my wedding/engagement ring set, maybe, once a year. I’d rather my husband put the “bling” money into my daughter’s college fund.
Cars, fancy or otherwise, hold very little appeal. The twinge I feel upon seeing someone purchase this sort of thing has less to do with the cachet of its brand and more to do with the fact that it screams: “My kids are grown and out of the house!”
Recently, I was involved in a conversation where one of the women in the group mentioned that she had purchased four of the “cutest little wastebaskets” at Home Goods. Any mention of Home Goods always gets my attention. (I have been known to roam around that place for hours!) When I asked her why she was stockpiling wastebaskets (cute, or not— four just seemed, well, three too many), she revealed that the teal one with the ducks would match the shower curtain in the boys’ bathroom, the raspberry ballerina print was just the splash of color that little Maya’s lemon yellow bathroom needed, the brown and green monkey toile provided just the right amount of whimsy in the master bath, and the lavender plaid was just the element she’d been looking for to pull the look of the downstairs powder room together. (Not to mention how it “set off” the magazine rack!)
Ordinarily I wouldn’t last five seconds (physically or mentally) in a conversation devoted to wastebaskets. But it wasn’t the wastebaskets, delightful patterns notwithstanding, that caused my salivary glands to go into something like overdrive. No. It was the fact that this woman has four bathrooms! Four!
No doubt about it— I was jealous, which, I’ll admit, startled me somewhat. It felt like an inappropriate reaction for a reasonable person to have to an acquaintance’s extra John (or three!). It was certainly not a “Mary laughing at Chuckles the Clown’s funeral” inappropriate, but it felt a tad disproportionate just the same.
In my defense (and, yes, I do feel it necessary to defend my jealousy over someone having a couple— make that a few— more bathrooms than I have), my reaction may have had something to do with timing. I had just that very morning been lamenting the dearth of bathrooms here at the hovel. There also may or may not have been some pouting. If you have a second commode in your home then you likely cannot sympathize with the plight of a woman who can never do her business in peace. (NEVER!) There is always someone knocking on the door, which often means that they are lurking outside the door. (The hollow, plywood door!) It’s an uneasy feeling, trying to quietly evacuate as you imagine the eye through the keyhole, envision the kid doing the “pee pee” dance, and hear the husband (probably with his arms and legs folded) tapping his foot and sighing.
Needless to say, there’s very little opportunity for reading. (And, really, not all that much for peeing!) Don’t for a minute think that I missed the bit where this woman mentioned having a magazine rack in one of her bathrooms! I didn’t. What the presence of a magazine rack in a bathroom implies is that a person, while using the loo, might actually have the time to breeze through an issue of People magazine, glance at the L.L. Bean catalog, or catch up on The Archies. (That’s right. I still read the odd comic book. Sue me!)
Even if, by some miracle, I were to manage a few uninterrupted minutes relaxing on the throne, I can’t fit a magazine rack in my bathroom. I can’t even fit towels in my bathroom. Someone, I don’t know who, but my guess is it was a man, chose to put a pedestal sink in a bathroom that doesn’t have enough space for an average size person to turn around in, thereby eliminating any possibility of under-the-sink storage. Yes, there is a wall shelf with a towel bar, but the shelf has to hold baskets. Baskets that store what most folks keep under the sink. So, we keep our towels in a beach bag that hangs outside the bathroom door— doesn’t everyone?
Lacking things like spiffy cars, Tiffany rings, a well-appointed kitchen, or the means to procure them does not mean that I am doomed to live an unhappy life or that I will die unfulfilled. Those things will not, in and of themselves, make me happy. (More comfortable, maybe, but not happy.) I know this. I also know that I could come up with a really profound answer to the question, “What is a life well lived?” if I had an extra bathroom. With a magazine rack. (For reading!) And a vanity. (For the towels!) And a clawfoot tub. (For pondering whilst soaking!) Oh, come on! Admit it. So could you.
photo credit: decorpad.com