My last post was at 9:30. That’s “p.m. PDT, or 2100 local, or 1400 GMT, or three bells, Navy ship time. i was tired and excused myself because i’m seventy-three.
It is now, without all that quibbling over what to call it, 2:42 in the morning in the Southwest corner. i’m awake.
i used to sleep like a rock, anywhere, anytime, and slept through the night without fail. My father slept through the night until he was well into his eighties as far as i can tell. i started getting up once in the night in my late thirties for trips to the bathroom (sic). i attribute my early start on this male habit due to ship watch standing and perhaps a little bit wilder lifestyle than my father. But i would always fall right back to sleep.
Then in the last several years, going back to sleep became more difficult. i got where i started worrying about something, or thinking about something i should have done the day before or several decades before, or feeling guilty for some slight i might have accidentally conveyed to someone, or worrying how i was going to get anything done the next day with little or no sleep.
Then i went to a counselor. She’s terrific, and got me into meditation. The techniques take my mind off of all those things, and i usually go back to sleep.
But not tonight. No, not tonight. i started thinking about weird things, or at least most people i know would think them weird. i just think about them, not as weird, just different.
Like tonight when i returned from my bathroom trek. i started thinking about the uproar about from where i trekked: the bathroom. i have a solution. But it won’t take. Why don’t we just make all bathrooms available to everyone, regardless of sexual preference? What’s wrong with it?
Well, to start with, they ain’t exactly bathrooms. In fact, we can get confused as to what we call them. Bathroom? Restroom? Outhouse? Loo? Water Closet or it’s abbreviation W.C.? Toilet?
In Spain, Mexico and other places across the world, they are called baños. Of course, that’s a masculine noun, so i don’t know where the females go. Bañas? i don’t think so.
i’m not sure what they really call them in Japanese, but i know i can’t read the Japanese characters for the term. i realized that because of the twitters in the summer of 1970, long before twitters as we know them. Or is it tweeters?
Regardless, i was on a date with one of the most exquisite women i ever dated. Her name was Kosyko. She was just short of five feet tall weighing in around eighty pounds, about my age. Her parents were in Nagasaki when Fat Man the bomb visited. Her aunt was keeping her outside of Sasebo. Her parents didn’t return.
Kosyko was the most delicate woman i have ever met. Striking. i met her in a “stand bar,” a legitimate, straight place downtown far away from sailor town in Sasebo, Kyushu, Japan. We began dating. i would pick her up when she got off work around 2:00 to 4:00 a.m. Normally, we would go out to eat in small, lovely Japanese restaurants in the countryside — yes, many dining places stayed open all hours. But this evening, there was a movie, she wanted to see. So she and a couple of her girl friends (oops, friends of like gender) and i went to the nearby theater around 3:00 in the morning.
In the middle of the movie, nature called me. Since it was all in Japanese, i wasn’t going to miss much in the dialogue anyway, so i carefully made my way in the dark to the lobby. Seeing what was obviously the place for relief, i entered and did my business. When i emerged from the stall, there were a bunch of Japanese women in front of the mirrors. When they spotted me leaving, they all started to twitter, if not downright guffawing.
Once outside, i looked at the Japanese characters on the wall, puzzling as to how i could have been mistaken. That’s when i noticed the international sign on the wall on the other side of the entry meaning for women.
Didn’t hurt anyone. In fact, they got a good laugh out of it.
i was in love with Kosyko as much as i’ve ever been in love. i was going to ask her to marry me, but i wrote to my parents first, informing them of my intention. i got one of the very few letters from my father i ever received. Daddy strongly but lovingly advised me against the marriage, not, to his credit, because of her lineage, but because he felt a mixed marriage would make it tough for both of us. Back then in Lebanon, Tennessee, he was absolutely correct.
It didn’t matter as about the same time of this correspondence, i did something to upset Kosyko. She refused to see me anymore.
i must add if my father did have some racial bias in the back of his mind, i could understand. After all, he witnessed kamikazes in the Philippines, and had Japanese forces shooting at him with machine guns before the Seabee defenses took care them.
But i think Kosyko had much more reason to view us negatively, which she didn’t. i hope my father was the same way. It was over.
But back to this every loo for all idea. First, why don’t we give up on the term “bathroom” or “restroom?” i surely don’t rest when i go in there, and unless i’m at home i don’t take a bath there. They are just sharing the space, the bath and the toilet. Why don’t we call them “P and C rooms” for “pee and crap,” or for the more genteel “UD rooms” for “urination and defecation.” i mean that’s more to the point.
Of course, we could always just go back to the way we used to do it. My daughter Sarah was amazed when we visited the Hermitage years ago. After visiting the house and the slave quarters, we strolled over to the garden. Adjacent to this lovely setting was the family outhouse, a three-holer. Sarah was astounded. i’m pretty sure they didn’t have any gender rules on that bathroom.
There were some problems with that solution. The Dillards, a bluegrass band from Missouri famous for their recurring role on “The Andy Griffith Show,” explained the problem when defining an outhouse to the city folks at Los Angeles’ Hungry I. “It’s a little shack about one hundred yards from the back of the house. In the winter, that’s about a hundred yards too far, but in the summer, that’s about a hundred yards too near.”
And then, we all could just go outside like my golfing buddies do.
Of course, the EPA might get a bit upset even though i don’t understand why.
i think i will try to go back to sleep.