Wednesday, February 6, 2008

a bathtub for the ages

I've mentioned before that I live in a sorority house. I've lived here in doubles twice before (we reset the house each semester to accommodate women who go abroad, graduate halfway through the year, or otherwise adjust their housing arrangements). In my opinion it's one of the best housing situations on campus: centrally located, extremely private, I know every person who lives in the house. Probably one of the most covetable features of this home, however, is the bathroom to occupant ratio, which is 1:2.3, when most rooms at the university are at least 1:5, and in corridor style dorms, as bad as 1:20 or worse.

Right now I'm sharing a bathroom with two ladies, and the bathroom is quite large, with a good sized bathtub/shower in lieu of the stall showers that are ubiquitous in the various dorms. In fact, after five semesters, this is the first time I've had access to a bathtub. It's very pleasant, I'd forgotten how simple it is to shave one's legs when there is something to lean against.

Facilities cleans bathrooms that are not inside of rooms, and ours is no exception. "Cleans" is probably a loose term, our facilities/maintenance guy comes in a few times a week and takes out the trash, leaving hardly any other evidence of cleaning action. Which is fine: a little untrusting (when it comes to bathroom cleaning anyway) by nature, I try to make a little time to clean it myself, although admittedly its been a little tough to get into a routine this semester. I did find some time to give the tub a good scrub with some bleach cleaner, because if there's anything that terrifies me, it's the prospect of some kind of fungal infection on my feet. I can't help it; I had ringworm once as a child.

I spent about twenty minutes scrubbing the tub, definitely finding evidence that facilities had been less than diligent (I'll spare you the details) the day before. Afterward it was considerably whiter, and the bathroom had that just-cleaned-with-bleach smell that I find rather reassuring. I almost surprised myself then, when my mother asked if I had any intention to take a nice, relaxing bath. This was a reasonable question, at home I'm a fiend for baths, and love to take a nice long soak while reading a book. But no matter how much cleaner I'd left the bathtub, I didn't quite think it'd ever be clean enough for taking a bath.

Last night, after an indulgent and yummy dinner with friends, I sat with S in her apartment drinking tea and asked her opinion: after all of my efforts, was I being a little picky? She felt the same way I did: too many people had bathed in that shower and it had gone improperly cleaned for far too long. My sorority has been using this house for at least ten years, I think. And while I'm sure the vast majority if not all of the women who've used these facilities have been cleanly, I can't vouch for the work of the maintenance staff. No, I'm not quite prepared to deem the bathtub worthy, even after twenty minutes with a scrub brush. Do you feel the same way?

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