Tuesday, April 24, 2012

On Bathroom Reading

Growing up, certain members of my family were infamous for long stretches of bathroom reading. One of the earliest anecdotes of my childhood was when I was potty trained my parents would often find me on the royal seat holding a newspaper upside down, "reading it."  There were always newspapers by the side of toilet, just waiting to be read & looked at (depending on abilities). 

So this review, by Charles Simic, really tugged on all the familiar places:
Did our Founding Fathers read while sitting on their chamber pots? In my childhood in Serbia, when outhouses were common in the countryside and toilet paper was regarded by ordinary folk as a decadent luxury, the pile of old newspapers we kept in there provided not only the necessary substitute, but also inviting reading material, which supplemented my education and entertained me. It used to be a common experience, and most likely still is in some homes, that if a child or a grownup was missing and could not be found, someone was sent to knock on the bathroom door. We’ve all had family members who spent inordinate amount of time on the potty or lying in a tub filled with water reading magazines and novels, until a small line had formed outside the door, each of us as impatient to relieve ourselves as to find out what the last occupant, looking guilty, had been reading in there.
To this day, I prefer reading something, anything while in the loo, which unnerves my husband a bit. But really it's one of the best places to read - one is left in peace & quiet, no interruptions or distractions. One of these days, when our bathroom is bigger, we will have a bathroom library or at least a few books lying around, so I can stop re-reading the ingredients of the Comex bottle. 

No comments: