The dorm room: such a beautiful and magical place. Meeting new people, sharing a space, but the best part is the bathrooms. Oh, community bathrooms, how I love you.
Living in McDonald Hall my freshman year was a blast- the girls were all great and I made a ton of friends. However, it was a time of embarrassment. In McDonald, the freshmen lived on the second floor and the sophomores lived on the third. The first floor? Storage. Nothing but extra beds, extra furniture and all of those awful crickets that always managed to invade the dorm.
Only one thing did I despise more than community bathrooms: visit days. Hundreds of 17- and 18-year-olds invaded the sanctity that is the dorm room. Parents and extended family wanted to see the school their child attended. I get it. It’s important. I also came to visit on a visit day.
However, I was not in the restroom while a real student was trying to shower.
Spring semester freshman year, I was blessed with a wonderful class schedule. No classes on Fridays, which meant I could sleep in.
On one of those wonderful class visit days, I made a very, very, very smart decision; I took a shower at 2 p.m. There I went, walking from my room in my bright pink robe, bright pink towel in hand, shower shoes on, shower caddy filled with shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioner, body wash, exfoliator, face wash, face exfoliator and a bright pink loofa.
In my other hand, I had a sandwich-size Ziploc bag that held my phone. The girls on my hall discovered that you could listen to music in the shower without your phone getting wet if you placed it inside a bag, so we always listened to music in the shower.
I made the quick, one-minute walk to the shower and placed all of my items on the ledge of the shower. I placed my phone on the ledge and I turned the shower on. While I waited for the water to reach its boiling point, I got my music ready. I’m not much of a theater musical soundtrack type of person, but my sister recommended the Hamilton soundtrack to me and I fell in love. I could have honestly replaced Lin Manuel Miranda as the lead in Hamilton, my rapping skills were so on-point.
I was lathering the shampoo as my next line in the song comes on.
“I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory, when’s it gonna get me, in my sleep seven feet ahead of me.”
I was singing my heart out and performing as if it were my debut on Broadway. In that moment, I was Hamilton and I was not throwing away my shot. I was almost in tears, singing my heart out, when the door opened. I ignored the sound. It was probably just girls from my hall needing to use the restroom or someone else about to shower.
I instantly froze when I heard a girl’s voice say, “Here is what the bathroom looks like.” Then I heard about 10 people talking at once, and I did not know what to do with my life.
I wanted to cry and have the shower melt me and my shame away, but I didn’t do anything. I just stayed in the shower and did not move until I knew they’d left. I didn’t even move to turn the music off; I just stood as still as a rock and hoped I could fade away, Avengers Infinity War-style.
As soon as the door closed, I rinsed off the shampoo and finished my shower so fast I probably qualified for a Guinness World Record. I put the robe on, gathered all of my things and what was left of my dignity and ran to my room. When I got to my sanctuary, I gave myself time to freak out and laugh at myself. After I dressed, I checked my email- around 2 p.m. our RA sent the message to let us know to expect visitors.
Unfortunately, I cannot say that was my last run-in with visitors.
Once again that spring semester, I took a shower earlier, around noon. I thought I was safe to shower in peace. I was partially correct.
I had a successful shower, performed the Moana soundtrack beautifully and got through my long shower routine uninterrupted. I began the walk to my room with my almost neon pink towel wrapped around my hair like the top of a Dairy Queen cone. I was in my bright pink robe and my wet, squeaky shower shoes, with caddy in hand and Moana still playing loudly on my phone.
I was about four doors from my room when I heard people coming up the stairs. I payed it no mind; it was probably just people from the hall coming back from lunch.
My room was smack in the middle of the hall, with a set of stairs one door down. Next to the stairs on the first floor was the laundry room. Since the first floor is just storage, any logical tourists would take the stairs right up to the second floor, landing basically right in front of my room. They would take a right to see the bathroom, then the room at the end of the hall, then go down the stairs into the kitchen and end the tour with a look at the laundry room.
As I neared my room, I looked up and saw five or six families with their matching folders and drawstring bags. I thought I was safe, I had avoided the families. But, no, instead, I met them head-on as Dwayne Johnson began singing “You’re Welcome.”
I did what I do best; I ran away. That little awkward speed walk you do when crossing the street while a car is waiting- that’s me. Once my little walk of shame was over, I did not leave my room for the rest of the day. A friend brought me food and I just tried to pick up the remaining bits of my dignity.
Sadly, that was not the last time.
Each was more embarrassing than the last.
Did I stop listening and performing in the shower? No, I still put on my Grammy and Tony-worthy performances, but I did check my emails for the latest news about visitors.