I hate to interrupt my recent slew of compelling non-writing followed by depressive brooding – particularly since you were all so beautifully transparent and wonderfully kind and wholly nonjudgmental in your supportive comments to me and to each other – but we really do need to discuss Bathtub Communities.
We’ve created a community here, ladies and gentlemen. A Village of misfits who wave in the dark and sit in the mud and practice radical kindness to each other by showing up and saying me, too. A lot. And I love you for that; I do.
But we are missing something important, folks. Something vital. And that something is bathtubs.
It occurred to me while I was writing about the dimly lit den, in which I’d like to practice extended hibernation, that dens are impractical hidey-holes for humans. I mean, digging a deep hole in the dandelion garden that is my backyard “lawn” sounds hard, like work, and if I wanted to do hard work I’d do the laundry. Besides, it’s too easy for the smaller humans to smoke us out of the dens, you know? Like, I could easily disguise the entrance to my den with all the broken pieces of plastic toys and last year’s Otter Pop garbage scattered around our property – the perfect backyard camouflage – but I’m pretty sure my kids, who always, always find the hidden Christmas gifts and my secret stash(es) of chocolate, will suss it out eventually, if only by the woosh and ker-clunk sounds of the underground plexiglass tubing which will be kept busy delivering my trashy novels and cannister-shaped pies.
Which is why bathtubs are a much better plan, friends.
Now, yes, granted, my kids can find me in my bathtub, just like they’d be able to find me in a den. But I think we can agree it’s harder to smoke a mama out of a bathtub. Harder to get that mama to move. Easier for the mama to occupy the heck out of that thing.
Cai, one of my 7 year olds, found me in the bathtub last night, in fact.
He burst into the bathroom, full of itemized reasons I should get out (1. Your kids NEED you. 2. REAL BAD. 3. And Dad always says no to treats.) and dissatisfied with every reason I gave that I shouldn’t leave the bathtub quite yet (1. I don’t want to. 2. REAL BAD.), so I told Cai that it would be irresponsible for me to leave. Unconscionable, really.
“But, Mom,” said the 7 year old as he peered at me in the tub, “you have been in here for 20 MINUTES already.” Which is approximately 1/3 of my average bathtub stay and 1/9 of my pre-kids record and only one chapter of the average trashy preternatural novel.
So I said, “I’ll be in here a little bit longer.”
And he said, “Like AN HOUR. I seen you do this before, Mom.”
And I said, “Exactly.”
And he said, “Why? WHY DO YOU DO THIS?”
And I said, “Because it gives me energy and makes me happy.”
And he said, “But you’re ALONE IN HERE, and that makes no sense.”
And that’s when I had the a ha! moment.
Somehow it never occured to me to let my kids specifically in on the “Mommy’s an introvert and gets energy from being alone” news. I guess I figured it’s the biggest non-secret in their universe.
“YOU GUYS!” he yelled down the stairs after I told him the truth, “You are NEVER GOING TO BELIEVE THIS.” And they all came running, because whatever his news was, it was obviously VERY EXCITING and NOT TO BE MISSED and, also, our house is very boring, so it doesn’t take much to get them to come running. Try walking into our house sometime and yell, “CHIPS FOR EVERYONE” or “THERE’S A SPIDER” or “I’M GOING POTTY; I’LL BE OUT IN A MINUTE”… I’m telling you, you’ll have an audience FOR SURE.
“What, Cai?” they hollered back up the stairs.
“You guys. You GUYS! MOM GETS HER ENERGY FROM BEING ALONE.”
And guess what?
They were amazed. Blown away.
“WHAT?” they said in their incredulous voices, and “NO WAY!”
Which is when I realized I’ve neglected an important part of my kids’ upbringing, and it occurred to me I may not be alone. That we all may need to help rectify a gap in our parenting lest the next generation fail to understand the importance of hiding and energy-finding and the critical role bathtubs play in all that. Obviously, we owe it to our kids – and to the future – to train them to respect the bathtub. AND we need to support each other while we do that.
Enter: Bathtub Communities.
Bathtub Communities for communal support of bathtub activities.
I envision a whole patio full of bathtubs, friends! Of all kinds so you can pick the one you like best. Clawfoot. Deep soaking. Japanese. Roman. Everything except the kind that’s too shallow to cover the boobs and the knees, which is nearly every bathtub in the United States of Bad Bathtubs America. That kind is not allowed. Unless you want that kind, in which case we won’t judge, and you’re invited to bring your own. B.Y.O.B.
And there will be trellises over our bathtub patio covered in grapes and climbing roses. Or something easier than roses. Plumeria? What do I know? We need a horticulturist on staff. And a sommelier. And a beer steward. And a Diet Coke steward. And a barista for the cappuccinos and lattes and honey soy cinnamon concoctions. And a librarian to fetch us books. And a keg for the bath bubbles. And a baker. And a butcher for thinly sliced dry salami and perfect ribs and saucy meatballs. Because we can make a horrific mess; we’re in bathtubs! It all washes off! And a cheese guy. And a candlestick maker. I am telling you; it’s going to be the Best Bathtub Co-op EVER.
And everyone’s invited! ‘Cause we’ll have dozens of bathtubs, folks. Dozens of bathtubs on our perfect patio. Room for everyone. And no worries at all. Not even about nakedness, because a) you can bring a robe and b) we have already given up All the Privacy, parents. It is gone and it’s never coming back. It ran away with All the Sleep and All the Dignity for spring break that one year and just never came back, and I’m still reeling from its loss, too, but it’s over. Over. Over, I tell you. Done. Besides which, being naked and soap-bubble slippery is, like, our secret weapon. They can’t smoke us out and, by golly, they won’t be able to pull us out, either. So, HA! I’d like to see them try.
In our Bathtub Community, we will band together! Refuse to budge! Hold a Bathtub Sit-in! Stand Up (read: lay down) for Bathtub Rights EVERYWHERE!
So what do you say? Are you in? And, most importantly for the Bathtub Communities Kickstarter campaign, what else do we need to add to our list of amenities and staffing plan?
Towel and Flowers image credit to markuso via freedigitalimages.net