children's art on bathroom floor

a collage! (because it was the only way to fit it all in)

Sometimes the bathroom door is closed.

At first you’ll think, ‘Someone’s in there.’ You don’t want to disturb them. Time passes, though, and you come to understand that there is no one inside. Upon leaving this room, some child has deliberately closed the door behind them.

And this is a deeply unsettling realization that you’ve come to.

Why did they close the bathroom door so carefully? What horrible, disgusting, potentially traumatizing have they left that even they, in their callous youth, know no innocent passerby should be able to see from the hallway? You back away from the door. You don’t want to know

In our house, Scott is the mess wrangler, the family friendly-version of Point of No Return‘s cleaner. When I find myself face-to-face with a suspiciously closed bathroom door, my general policy is to turn around and run him to ground. There have been occasions that he has cleaned up things—foul, unspeakable things—and then refused to tell me precisely what they were afterwards. I am forever grateful for his discretion in these matters.

That’s why you always want to walk into the bathroom—the one with the closed door, I’m talking about here—at least two full steps behind the cleaner. If he judges the scene too grim to be viewed by inexperienced eyes, he can stop you before you even go in! Also, he may determine that the house should be sold or burned to the ground because there’s just no coming back from the kind of mayhem that’s been inflicted on that unsuspecting bathroom.

And then, every so often, you push the bathroom door open, expecting the worst, and find something weird and wonderful—art or a track or a horizontal installation with vaguely structural properties—laid out on the floor, constructed entirely from ponytail holders.

It’s cool and all, but mostly you’re just so glad it isn’t poop.