When my Merchant Marine captain is out to sea on assignment, I am a virtual single woman, living alone, an empty nester, no kids at home. There are certain aspects of being someone’s wife, spouse, partner — that I fervently believe should be private. That includes closing the door when I use the bathroom. I mean, he should close the door too, in fact, everyone should close the door. I don’t want to see that, much less hear anything that goes on in there. That’s just the way I am. If I can take it a step further, bodily functions should not even be referred to or discussed. Like I said, that’s just the way I am. But after about two or three days of being on my own, I think to myself that it’s kind of unnecessary to shut the bathroom door when no one else is home. Right? What’s the point? Right. For the next however long he’s gone, I don’t shut the door and that becomes my habit. The very first change that occurs when he comes back is that I now have to retrain myself to remember to shut the door! It’s pretty funny, because sometimes I don’t remember (like today), and I have to jump up off the seat to slam the door shut! We are not the type of couple that intrudes on each other’s “private” time, and I am totally OK with that. I know other people are different, and I respect their attitude about these things, but it’s not the way we roll (toilet roll, that is).
Living in cramped quarters on a vessel means that privacy of any sort is limited. I think it takes a special kind of person to navigate those kinds of interpersonal relationships with virtual strangers–co-workers; and not even the same ones on every voyage, so it’s necessary to learn about each and every individual foible and personal habit every single time. That would be tough for me to do. It takes real skills to manage a diverse crew and motivate them to work together as a team for as long as the assignment lasts.
That ends my confession about the bathroom because I have to excuse myself and go there right now!