It was a weekday morning, and I was getting ready for work. I had been up for awhile and was nearly ready – which was good, because I was also running a little late. I brushed a few strands of hair in place, turned off the hair dryer and examined myself in the mirror. Good, good. Then, I plugged in my straightener, just to make sure the ends of my hair would be perfect. I decided that I would grab a quick, half-cup refill of coffee while the straightener was heating. Not too much; I didn’t have much time, after all.
I walked out of the bathroom, down the hall, and just as I was turning the corner – slam! I heard the bathroom door close behind me. BRYAN. I ran back to the door. It was locked.
“Bryan!” I knocked. “Bryan! I need in here! I’m not done!”
“You don’t want to come in here right now. It’s going to be a few minutes,” he replied.
“Ugh BRYAN!” I whined. “Why do you always do this? I wasn’t done! I’m going to be late for work!” But nothing I said could change what had already been done. I was locked out.
And this is the way it goes in our house. In our rental, we each had our own full bathroom which was glorious. Oh man. Separate schedules? Different decorative tastes? Need some time alone? No problem! Just use your designated bathroom! In our new house, we have 1.5 bathrooms. And for some reason, we act like we don’t have that extra .5.
I pouted around the house until Bryan emerged, checking the clock every 30 seconds and sighing loudly outside the bathroom door to encourage him to hurry it up. When he was out, I ran in and straightened my hair for the two whole minutes it takes.
“See, Bryan?” I shouted as I straightened. “See how long this takes? This is all I have to do! It only takes two minutes. Maybe not even that long. Couldn’t you have waited this long? I wasn’t done in here!”
“Listen,” he said from the other room. “I got up, you weren’t in there, I went in there. What was I supposed to do?”
“Well, maybe you should have asked me if I was finished with the bathroom!” I said.
A moment of silence, then: “Ask you if you’re finished with the bathroom?”
“Yes! I think that’s a great idea. Every time you think about using the bathroom, maybe you should pause, notice if there are things around like a plugged-in straightener and ask me if it’s ok to use the bathroom.”
“Are you hearing yourself?” he laughed. “That is ridiculous! Are you the guardian of the bathroom now?”
“No,” I responded. “But maybe I need something from there that will take one second! Maybe I need to get a hair tie! Maybe I need to brush my teeth! You can’t just bumble in here and lock the door for 20 minutes and not ask me. That’s not fair!”
“Well, don’t leave until you’re finished in there,” he replied. “That seems simple enough.”
“No! Sometimes things are in other places!” I whined. “Just ask me first! Just ask me!”
Around and around we went, to no avail. A couple of days later, the same scenario played out, and I cried from the outside of the bathroom, “You should have asked me! You should have asked meeeee!” like a forsaken lover in some tragic romance.
Last week, when Bryan and I were sitting quietly for a few minutes, watching TV, he laughed, “Hey. Remember the other day, when you asked me to ask you for permission to go to the bathroom?”
I laughed, too. “I mean, it sounds weird when you say it like that, but yeah. Why? Do you understand now?”
“That is ridiculous,” he said. “I’m still not going to do that. But it is pretty funny.”
“Well, just consider it,” I said.
“No,” he replied. “I will not. But I love you.”
I sighed. “I love you, too, sometimes.”
This morning, I was finishing up my makeup in the living room when I heard Bryan walk out of our bedroom. “I’m going to go into the bathroom now, ok?” he called down the hall through a crackly morning voice.
“Yep,” I smiled. “Ok with me.”
These are the days of our lives.