Tonight there was something soothing in the rhythmic hum of the dishwasher next door. I could hear it best from my bathroom, a tiny space with just enough room for a toilet and a bathtub. I sat there and listened for a moment, or two. Everything else melted away, and I felt my shoulders fall from their perch next to my ears. They’d been there all day.
They say stress builds over time. If that’s true, then the stress of my job and my life built a city the size of Manhattan over these past few years. To be honest though, I’m a Californian and I have no idea how large Manhattan really is. It’s all about scale. I can imagine the city’s sun tipped skyscrapers and shaded boulevards as the peaks and valleys of my anxiety and depression.
Many years ago, I was looking for a little peace and quiet. I wanted a room of my own, and the bathroom is just big enough for one. When my children were young they used to tap on the door and say, “Mommy, can I come in?” But my children are grown now, and have their own children who can offer them the same group therapy.
Over time, I’ve heard the neighbor’s bathroom fan that needs a tune-up, baby cries that stop shortly after they start and an occasional cocktail party that migrates from the space opposite me to their deck and back. It’s all muffled. I’m not even trying to listen. It’s just that I need my space, and life continues to go on around me. And that’s the beauty of it.
As I sat there tonight, I tapped into a gold vein of routine. I know, I know, so many of us try to escape it. But I’ve found that the everyday sounds in that tiny room bring me back. They are the moments when I can walk out of the bathroom and into the kitchen, make toast with butter and jam and take in the space outside my windows.
© Jan Joe and Born in the year of the dog, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jan Joe and Born in the year of the dog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.