“I just knew at an early time in my life how important privacy was.” – Daniel Day-Lewis

I enjoy Daniel-Day Lewis.  He is definitely one of my top five favorite actors.  That list pretty much goes like this (not in order this time):

Daniel Day-Lewis (DDL)

Tommy Lee Jones (TLJ)

Gary Oldman

Bill Paxton (B. Pax)

Today we’ll put Willem Dafoe

People, one person, a friend, former friend used to tell me that I look like Bill Paxton.  I don’t see it, but I’ll take it.  Have you ever played that drinking game called Circle of Death or Waterfalls or whatever with the deck of cards and each card is a certain little game/task?  When we played, there was always a card that was “Categories” which I think might be its own drinking game to some extent.  The person who draws names a category (i.e. makes of automobile), then you go around the circle and each person has to name something in that category (Chevy, Ford, Mercedes etc.).  When you get to someone who can’t come up with an answer within about five seconds the round is over and that person has to drink.  I used to play that game with the afore-mentioned former friend.  Do you know what my go-to category was?

Bill Paxton movies.

Because he has been in a ton of movies.  Many of which I have seen.  Even more of which I can name.  Speaking of Bill Paxton, did you know that he “is the only other actor, along with Lance Hendrikson, to have been killed by a terminator, an alien, and a predator on screen (per IMDB).”

Anyway.  Back to DDL.  Because this post isn’t about B. Pax or DDL really.  It’s about privacy.  Or the opposite of it.

I want to talk to you about public bathrooms.

I consider myself a pretty private person.  I use a pseudonym on this here blog and I try not to get too specific or personal.  In real life, I don’t have a lot of friends and I like to take time to get to know someone before I open up and tell them a whole bunch of stuff about me.  I feel like it works better that way for everyone.  I used to avoid public restrooms at all costs mainly because I think they’re pretty gross, but I’ve been working 10-12 hour shifts in a town a half an hour away from my house for the past several months now, so it’s become necessary to use public facilities more often.

Here’s the thing.  I know that stores don’t have to provide a restroom.  Many don’t.  I know they don’t have to provide a spotless, sterile environment for customers or passersby to use at their convenience.  Because that’s what it is: a convenience.  But if you’re going to put time and money and manpower into creating a bathroom for people to use, here are the things that bother me the most.

  1. Warm Seats.  Let’s get this one out of the way because there really isn’t much of anything that anyone can do to eliminate the incredibly unsettling sensation of sitting down on a public toilet seat that someone else has already warmed up for you.
  2. Paper Towels/Hand Dryers.  I am concerned about the environment, but not so much that I won’t grab a handful of bleached, pre-consumer, white paper towels to dry my hands instead of standing there hunched over against a wall trying to dry my giant hands with the equivalent of a warm spring breeze.  If I’m going to use a hand dryer, it’s gotta be an XCelerator (is that what it’s called?) or the Dyson blade, because I need gale-force winds to dry my hands.  Time is money.  The thing that really bothers me about the hand dryers has to do..
  3. Inward-Opening Doors.  There is no place for an inward opening door in a public restroom.  Why?  Because not everyone washes their hands, but everyone has to open that door.  And if you combine that with a bathroom that installed gentle breeze hand dryers, you’re pretty much going to be opening that dirty-ass door with your moistened fingers.  Unless you have one of these bad boys:
    article-2536511-1a8388ee00000578-304_634x502

The StepNPull is one of the most brilliant inventions, as long as it’s probably installed and the hydraulics on the door aren’t set to Herculean.  Speaking of doors.

4.  Gaps in Stall Doors.  There can’t be more that maybe 1/16th of an inch space between the door and the frame on a bathroom stall.  Otherwise, I feel like someone is probably going to peek in.  It’s unsettling.

5.  Automatic toilets.  I would almost rather use my foot to flush a manual toilet that use a poorly calibrated auto-flush toilet.  There’s something really frustrating about an automatic toilet flushing way too early or not at all.  Then you have to push the button on the side which could very well be covered in microparticles.  Of poo.  And speaking of the toilets themselves.

6.  Urinal Troughs.  

stainless_steel_urinal

Quite possible the worst bathroom fixture in the history of bathrooms.  I definitely don’t want to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with some other dude while we’re urinating.  They had these in my elementary school and I thought it was weird then and I still do.  I’d rather pee outside.

Thanks for listening, Dear Reader.  I know this is a far cry from my usual profundity but it’s been on my mind lately and I thought I’d put it out there.

 

Publicly,

Glass

P.S. – Here’s a glimpse into of one of my favorite restrooms in Central Texas, located at the new Brookshire Brothers off FM 306 up by Canyon Lake.  Each of the two sinks has three spouts like this: one for foaming soap, one for the water, and one for the high-power hand dryer.  The dryer also has a light to let you know that it is, indeed, the device that will DRY your hands.  Bathroom tech at its finest, am I right?

“The word ‘happiness’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness.” – Carl Jung

I’ve been avoiding this post.  I’ve been avoiding this whole blog to be honest, save for the occasional stats-check here and there.  I haven’t written anything in about five weeks, which is along time, even for me.  I’m going to tell you now that this post is not going to be a very pleasant one, at least in the beginning.  It is going to be very dark and then probably darker and very emotional and then it should end on a positive note, if all goes well.

You see, my dad died on March 8th.  I typed and retyped that sentence a few different ways to maybe soften the blow (I hear I can be overly blunt sometimes), but the truth is that my father is dead.  He was diagnosed with esophageal cancer last summer, it was 95% gone by November, then came back with a vengeance and took his life.

My wife and I consulted Betsy Braun’s book Just Tell Me What to Say when we were trying to figure out how to break the news to our four year-old daughter.  We didn’t tell her much during the first round of chemo because the outlook was good and we really didn’t know what all was going to happen.  Then the cancer came back and we felt like we should prepare her for the worst, especially once my dad decided that he would rather stay at home than suffer through another round of chemo.  So Betsy Braun says to be honest and use the medical terminology and avoid euphemisms.  During the first round:  Papa has lumps inside his body called cancer that makes him sick but the doctors have a very strong medicine called chemotherapy that they think will help and they know a lot about cancer so they’ll know the best ways to help Papa get better.  Later, during hospice:  The medicine didn’t work and cancer is making it harder and harder for Papa’s body to work.  Papa’s body is going to stop working soon and he is going to die.  Then:  Papa died today.

This is difficult.  I can remember her reaction to each conversation.  I can remember the works coming out of my mouth feeling like barbed wire but sounding much smoother.  Trying to stay strong for everyone around me.  I think it might be harder now in some ways though, now that the shock is gone, and the memorial service and internment have passed.  I feel like a  lot of other people have moved on and maybe don’t think about him as much as I do.  I know they don’t.  But I think about it everyday.

You see, I’m the one that found my dad.  My wife spilled her heart out to him, we left the room, and when I returned less than five minutes later, he was gone.  I still think about his face.  His eyes.  His hands.  I think about the Medical Examiner coming to the house and the funeral home workers coming to get him in the hearse and how terribly sad it all was and my  through all of it.  I kept/keep thinking it’s a joke and that he’ll call or come around the corner and we’ll all be pissed that he played such a mean joke but so happy that he’s still alive.  I think about all the things he’s going to miss and how I should’ve called more and how I miss him so much that it physically hurts.

My dad is dead and I was not, am not ready for it and each second, hour, dayweekmonth that goes by is that much further from the last time I’ll ever see him alive or otherwise.  I held his hand as the warmth left it and my heart filled with pain and sadness and I sat and played guitar for him while we waited for the official people to come and officially say he was dead and take him away.  I helped the guy take the hospice equipment out of my parents’ bedroom and out of the house so that my mother could sleep in the room again without the glaring reminder that her husband had just died there.

Her husband, my dad, my hero is dead and I keep hoping that I’ll feel better about it if I tell myself a hundred, thousand, hundred thousand times a day, but it doesn’t.  I was not, am not ready for him to not be here.  I was not, am not ready to be an adult without him in my life to provide me with the paragon of what it means to be a husband, a dad, a hero.  There are so many big things coming up that I want his advice on, that I want him to see and be a part of.  I want my daughter to have two grandpas because I didn’t.  I want her to have strong, decent men (and women) in her life so that she grows up with high expectations and standards for interpersonal relationships.  I want my dad around because he was, is the best man I know and I miss him so much it hurts.

It’s almost exactly one day later and I’m glad I stopped where I did.  That train of thought tends to dip into some even heavier stuff that I probably shouldn’t ever put in writing or say out loud.  I talked to my wife last night.  I talked to my mom, too.   I slept better; I feel better.

[My dad’s death is like a semi-colon; a break in the sentence that unifies the pre&post the before&after in all of this.]

One of the biggest thoughts I have about all of this, something that I wrestle with almost every single day, concern the Why’s.  Why him?  Why us? Why now? Why not that guy? Why did the cancer go away in the first place?  Why did it come back?

The truth, The Truth is that our world in its entirety, life  Life as a Whole is beyond our understanding.  I believe in God and Jesus.  My God is not a white-haired old man, but an energy that permeates everything and creates a balance within all of existence.  This thought, this idea of a balance is what keeps me going when the going gets tough.  Faith is a powerful tool in situations like this and situations that aren’t like this at all.  Faith is the current in the river, the warmth in sunlight.  I feel better today, but I don’t feel great everyday.  I have to wrap my head around this and have faith that my dad is in a better state.  That his energy lives on and that his soul is balanced and cleansed and where God intends it to be.

I miss my dad.  I know that it is going to continue to be hard without him around.  But I also know, because he told me, that it’s important to keep living my life.  It’s funny but I appreciate the days like this, the ones where I feel good and energetic and happy? more, mainly because of how sad I’ve been recently.

So, in closing.  I would like to proudly announce that Mrs. Glass and I are expecting Baby Number Two!  We don’t know if it’s a boy or girl yet, but the due date just so happens to be on my dad’s birthday!  We are so very happy and thankfully my dad got the opportunity to see the first sonogram while he was alive.  I now that wherever he is, he’s looking out for us, all of us, and that he lives on in our hearts and our blood and our name and our memories.

I love you, Dad.

 

 

Half-full, half-empty,

Glass