Tuesday, June 7, 2011

College, and the communal bathroom, was a very difficult time for me

Bathroom time has always been a personal time for me.  You don’t dilly dally, you do what you need to do and then you get out, without informing the whole world what you’re doing.  I have obviously had to ease up on those restrictions since having children.  If I don’t leave the door at least cracked Sebastian will just open it anyway.  And if I lock it he sometimes will scream and cry and bang on the door until I come out.  Or he just says “I can’t open the door, Mommy.  I can’t get it!  Can you help me?  Please?  Mommy!  Mommy!  Fireman Sam!”

It used to be that anytime anyone tried to talk to me while I was in the bathroom I would just tense up.
But I didn’t realize how much of a problem I had until the summer between fourth and fifth grades.  

At the end of the year someone came to our school to talk up how awesome Conservation Camp was.  There was boating and archery and crafts.  It sounded like so much fun!  So I convinced my parents that it was a good idea and they finally set me up to go.

We bought all the stuff I needed, including a matching set of a purple tank top and shorts and a blue set too, just for good measure.   (It was 1991. I also had matching socks and banana clips.)  

I was thrilled about being away from home and excited when I saw the cabins.  They were big communal cabins with about 10 people to each.  

I think the first day I was probably fine.  

But then the counselors informed us that we had to always have a buddy when we went to the bathroom.  I realized that I wouldn’t have any privacy.  

Let me repeat that.


I couldn’t understand why no one else was bothered by that.  Does everyone just go willy nilly no matter who is around?

So in between archery lessons and learning about Beverly Hills 90210 for the first time, talking with my decidedly more, um, developed,  friend about how she was sure her period was starting, and swimming, I tried to find time to sneak away to the bathroom by myself.

It never happened.

Which means I didn’t poop the whole week I was there.

I met with a leader there who was informed about my ‘stomach ache’ by my friend (who didn’t know the real reason I didn’t feel well) and he asked me if I wanted to go home.  My mouth said no when every part of me (especially my stomach) screamed ‘yes, YES, OMG YES!!’

I stuck it out because I wasn’t a quitter.

I did not go back the next year.

(Remind me to tell you about losing my swimsuit top while taking lessons at that same camp.  It’s not an embarrassing story at all.)

I still have that tank top and it still fits.


  1. I know exactly what you mean. I freak out when I use a bathroom in someone's home and the bathroom as two doors (like in old houses). I have to make sure both are locked.
    And that picture is cute! Sweet, innocent Jaime.


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