My Bathroom

My bathroom is a mess.

As a kid I was expected to clean up bathrooms. At some points, it was just mine, and at some points it was all two-and-a-half bathrooms of the house. (2.8 bathrooms if you figured in the huge master commode.) Thanks to a parent-child dynamic the blame for which rests firmly on the shoulders of the industrial revolution (yes, that one.) I never learned to do it right. There were always missed spots (drying spots, really, where, the cleansers failed to evaporate) there were parts of the latrine topology that perpetually evaded my scrubbing. I could never get it done right.

Eventually bathrooms became a nexus of failure for me. It’s one of the household chores that actresses in cleanser commercials are to be able to handle easily, never I, even when armed with the same cleanser. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that I cannot clean bathrooms the way that houseplants in my care will wilt and die as my shadow passes over them, like Count Dracula. Cats and dogs think I’m the bees knees, and so I care for them. But if you make me water your plants, I can’t take responsibility for the misfortune that will befall your garden. So it is with bathrooms: I’m fine with dishes and can make kitchen counter surfaces shine. But bathrooms are my cleaning nemesis. Assign me to them at your peril.

My situation is not unique: The internet is lousy with conflicting accounts of how to tackle bathroom surfaces, especially those difficult porcelain stains. (Some suggestions feature sandpaper, pumice, high-concentration cleaners (e.g. HCl) or sandblasting …but be careful so as to not blast the finish off the porcelain)

As an adult, I came to the same conclusion that Bill Gates did: we need to make toilets with a surface that doesn’t interact with urine (which is why those stains are persistent). In fact, we need to make the entire bathroom self-cleaning, so it’s fresh and sparkly every time someone walks in. While we’re at it, let’s replace the sewage system with something that’s not from the fifteenth century. (Seriously, our drainage, processing and water filtration tech is literally medieval.) So yes, it took until Bill Gates for anyone to do anything about it, and his solutions are still in the development phase (but may provide clean drinking water to most of the world. Thanks, Bill!)

My still-porcelain bathroom has years of stains, a legacy of our anachronistic bathroom technology and my eternal contempt for it.

And I still have to pack.



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