Once upon a time, I signed a verbal contract to sell my house while I stood in the shower with my cell phone in my hand.
My home was on the market for 15 days, a minute amount of time in the grand scheme of the market and of home ownership in general, but after more than 60 showings, each day stretched longer than the one before. Although this is the third time I have sold and bought a home, I may as well have been a first-time home-buyer, for this is the first time I’ve made the transaction as a single girl.
The call came just as I was stepping into the shower. I had turned on the water on the lower faucet (the ‘lowercase shower,’ as my son calls it) as I always do, that I may test the temperature with my toes rather than with a shock of immersing my whole body in water that could be a few degrees wrong.
The phone rang, and I peeked around the shower curtain to see the Caller ID. Ah! The realtor! I turned the water off, grabbed the phone, and answered. In moments, I had considered three offers, made a business transaction of grand proportion, all while I stood in an office of ceramic tile and the plastic liner of the shower curtain.
Beaming with victory, I set the phone in safety on the shelf outside the shower, and I turned the water back on, waiting for the heat to return.
Oh, wait. I need to make some phone calls. My financial advisors, and of course my parents. I’ll just make these calls ‘real quick’ – let them hear the news firsthand before Facebook steals my thunder.
(Why I didn’t get out of the shower and throw on a robe is beyond me.)
(Except something about it made sense at the time. Something about not having a robe nearby.)
Back to the phone calls, business headlines and investment updates, all from inside the shower. “Great news! SOLD! Fifteen days on the market, cash buyer, closing in less than a month. I’ll give you the details soon, but I wanted to give you this headline right away!”
And by ‘soon’, I mean I’ll tell you when I’m not quite so indisposed as I am in this moment. I know you can’t see me, but I still have a thing about talking to someone without my clothes on. It’s just … weird.
With everyone sufficiently updated, and with a growing sense of cold, I turned the water back on once again. Shower: underway.
I heard the bathroom door open and close, repeatedly. My young sons, coming and going without a thought of privacy, as young boys will do; one of the indignities of parenting.
“I have set up a marble maze for you. There are marbles on the toilet.”
“Okay.” Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
“As soon as you get out, I want you to drop the marbles into the maze, one at a time.”
I finished my process, wrapped myself in a towel, and stepped out onto the rug, sure enough to find a tall tower of vibrant hoopy-de-loops and whirly-gigs. A veritable playground for marbles, and there must have been twenty of them sitting in a cup on the toilet.
Tyler appeared at my side, standing next to my wet footprints on the rug.
“Mommy, go ahead. One at a time.”
And there I stood, captive in the bathroom, watching the marbles – one at a time – travel their adventure. A three-foot journey. I was appropriately affirming of his creation and the aptitude of the marbles.
And I thought of theory that stay-at-home moms have thirty or more hours of leisure time each week. Such as her time in the shower, chatting on the phone, or playing games with her children. This whole episode felt anything but leisurely.
In an office, one doesn’t take or make calls in the shower.
In an office, one doesn’t have someone opening and closing the door of the unisex bathroom without any degree of awareness or propriety toward who is inside.
In an office, a coworker doesn’t stand outside the bathroom to create a knee-high obstacle course, begging for your affirmation and experiments before you have time to gather yourself.
In an office, one would at least have a robe handy. I’m pretty sure.