The World According to Tiff Sniff

Meandering ponderings and wonderings on the state of things.

Monday Monday

I spent most of my morning at Juveline Court here in Nashville, learning about becoming a court-appointed representative for parents and children in cases involving everything from domestic abuse to divorce to criminal matters. One wonderful lady took me under her wing and walked me around for an hour and a half, showing me where to go, who to talk to, etc. I filled out an application and still have to go through training, but I am very, very excited to take some of this work on. It just feels like such a good fit for me. Not sure why I never considered this type of work while I was in school, but I'm glad it's still an available option!!

Friday night I went to a creative writing group. We did an open-topic writing exercise, and here is what i came up with:
(This is for you, Vick!)

Just so you know, I had to pee when we started. This starts off describing an actual experience I had when I was in London with Harding in 1997, but it deteriorates fast:

" I’m in the “loo of the year” in Bayswater with Trudy and Olivia. The walls are black marble and gold-colored tile, and the fixtures are gilded. Potted plants stand in each corner, and I wonder how they get enough light to live. I then wonder if they’re real, and wander over to one, breaking a leaf to determine that they do, in fact, live in this dark, damp, underground world. The air smells like every other clean public toilet, of water and mildew and air freshener hiding the more odious aromas usually found in public rooms. There are only two stalls, which seems odd for such a public place. But we are the only ones availing ourselves of the facility this night, so we take our time and laugh at the many plaques on the wall. Apparently this loo has been the best on in the city of Westminster for many years running.
When we’re finished, we wander up the stairs to the street; the stairs open onto a median in between two lanes of traffic, one in each direction. It is by far the strangest place I have ever done that. We walk back toward the mall, stopping in a music shop so Olivia can buy The Verve’s CD before we catch the Tube back to Gower Street.

Five years later I’m back in that same neighborhood, walking that same street by that same mall. The music store is gone; I can’t remember now where it was, and don’t know what replaced it. The Indian restaurant we’d eaten at, Khan’s, is still there, and as good as I remember. Tal and I eat there regularly. We live, now, in a basement flat a few short blocks away. If I need it, I know live within a five minute walk of the loo of the year.
When we first moved into the neighborhood, and I realized where we were, I took Taleen and showed her the “loo of the year”. I was curious to see if whoever managed such an odd place still managed to do so in a superior manner. Sure enough, several more plaques had been added to the walls. The black marble walls were a little cloudier than I remembered, the fake gold not as shiny, and the smell was closer to what I would expect of an unattended public restroom. But the potted plants still thrived in the corner, watered and cared for by some unseen nurse, whose job it was to make this place the most attractive room in London in which any member of the public can urinate. Who has that job? Is it someone who works for some part of the government? Is there a department of public toilets? Or are these facilities managed by private companies? Who has the pride of introducing him or herself as the owner of the public loo of the year? How many toilets do you have to own to make a good living? Are such men the partners of trophy wives and owners of multiple homes in the country? Do their children attend posh boarding schools scattered around Europe? Are their kids teased in school because of what their families do? Do they lie about who their parents are?
Do these men and women ever meet the queen? She surely has never had need to enter such a facility, so it must not be up to her to judge such competitions as Loo of the Year. Whose job is that? Is it a full-time job? Or is it just a part of someone’s otherwise boring bureaucreatic job? Or is it a volunteer position, something people vie for each year? Is it an honor to be selected to judge the public toilets in London? Do you put a picture of a commode on your business cards? Are your bathrooms at home as nice? Or are you like the contractor whose home needs repair? The preacher with wild kids? Does your family resent that their toilets never flush correctly, while you spend all your time ensuring that rude tourists and drunk pub crawlers have a fancy, clean facility to use after a night of too-much fun? Do the owners of these toilets resent that, ultimately, people will urinate on the floor, vomit next to the sinks, leave toilet paper and paper towels on the floor? Do they wish that people would be more respectful of their efforts on their behalf?
I wonder if the loo of the year is still there. I’m sure the facility still exists; I just wonder if it is still as nice, and as award-winning as before. Coming up the stairs into a sunny Bayswater afternoon, I can hear children screaming at each other, some in laughter, some in tears. Muscular, oafy men make their way to the health club at the end of the cul de sac. Afghani women in long robes and headdresses lead their children home from the grocery store, each of them holding a bag full of vegetables and other necessities. Young girls crowd in and out of the doors to the mall, watched with envious eyes by older women who remember those days. All are headed to the same stores, to try on the same clothes and feel badly about themselves."

4 Responses to “Monday Monday”

  1. # Anonymous Anonymous

    well, no doubt you're definitely in the right profession what w/ the 21 questions and all! LOL!


  2. # Blogger Tara

    Wow. That is awesome. I stand amazed. Or sit...Very entertaining! And it also sounds like you've got a job possibility that sounds awesome, too!
    I love you!  

  3. # Blogger JAW

    I'm jealous. I thought I knew all the good places to use the restroom. Somehow I missed this one (wonder if the Men's loo is equally acclaimed?)  

  4. # Blogger Jennifer Thompson

    Wow. Yeah, the Windermere LOTY had no marble, no fake gold, and no potted plants. Now I'm really curious about the criteria whoever decides this uses.

    Also, I think if you do go to London in October, that you should make a pilgrimage back to Bayswater and check on this particular LOTY's current status.  

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