Thursday, 3 November 2005

Oh Bathroom, You Ought to Be in Pictures::

Life France
scaffolding outside my bathroom window

My apartment's bathroom is rather, er, unique. Cramped to the extreme, the shower is immediately in front of the toilet, which crouches next to the sink. There's only just enough room to sidle between standing in front of the sink to standing in front of the toilet, and then spin around in that place.

Did I mention the deep-brown sink bowl, or the Margaritaville motif on the tiling? No? Well, then you must have heard about the Astroturf on the bathroom floor. Really. I have witnesses.

This room hardly sounds like a candidate for movie stardom, and yet there it is.

My apartment straddles the building in such a way that one side looks out to the street, and the other opens up to the courtyard. In France, this would be called a double exposition but it doesn't really mean anything since I don't have a view on either side.

The street side can be rather noisy - especially in the neighborhood that I'm in, with a narrow street and delivery trucks stopping all day. At night there's more than the average amount of traffic because it's a good shortcut, avoiding major streets with many stoplights. The courtyard, in contrast, is calm and pretty much never changes.

So you can imagine that it was with some surprise that around the middle of last week, I returned from work to find the scaffolding. By the next day, it had climbed past my apartment and all the way to the top. By end of the week, it was obviously ready for workers to use it.

All this runs right past my bathroom window.

Because of the long weekend (Tuesday was a holiday, so most everyone took off Monday), no one was scampering along the grid of metal tubes outside my window. All was quiet yesterday, too. But I steeled myself, and adjusted my schedule to wake up early. Sure enough: this morning, at 8:30 AM (eight thirty!), I heard the oncoming workers climbing.

view from the building stairwell

This was a scene straight out of one of those B-grade horror flicks: Trapped in a tiny room, with no way to hide. (My apartment owner - in his infinite wisdom - apparently hadn't seen the need to add curtains to cover the window.)

And naked.

Now, I'm absolutely positive that I wouldn't be as titillating to the average movie-going audience as some nubile 17-year-old girl. But I can assure you with the utmost confidence that I was not looking forward to being eyed by the wildlife clambering up the monkey bars as I stepped out of my shower.

Fortunately for all concerened, I succeeded in getting out of there before anyone made it to my floor. The rest of my morning getting-ready-for-work routine was spent darting in and out of my bathroom, timed to avoid the workers outside my window. Oh, these next few weeks are going to be so much fun!

But wait! You weren't expecting a double-billing, but you're going to get one anyway: How about a twist on a teenage comedy?

In normal times (or as best conditions may be said to be "normal"), my bathroom window looks out onto the courtyard. Upon which other neighboring apartment windows look. And their occupants, as well.

Not a biggie, right? Well maybe you forgot that I don't have any curtains on my window. And I certainly didn't mention that, when standing upright in front of my toilet to do... what I do when standing upright in front of my toilet, my head is unavoidably positioned right in front of said bathroom window.

You can just imagine the ensuing hilarity. The entire courtyard population within view of that window must have seen me looking out at one time or another in the last five years. I do believe I've become some sort of an imagined Peeping Tom bogeyman, sheerly by answering the call of nature as my neighbors do what they do.

The greatest irony in all this is that mine is the only bathroom window - all the other courtyard windows look into kitchens, hallways, etc. So, I'm really the only "vulnerable" one.

Ha ha ha, haha. Ah, good times, good times. (I've gotta get out of this place.)

[ 11:43 AM on Thursday, 3 November 2005 ]


lianne [ 12:06 AM on Monday, 7 November 2005 ]

hey john! remember me? (irene's friend's daughter.) congrats on the engagement and the househunting in paris! our apt (now in new york) has a similarly miniscule bathroom, tho' the scene outside is less scaffoldy than naked columbia undergraduate-y. sigh. such is the city life. all best! :D

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