Rail Siding: THE COFFEE MUG THAT DARE NOT SPEAK ITS NAME

  Except for that debacle in Paris, I do not have a problem with the concept of the shared bathroom. That one in Paris was not a shared bathroom anyway; it was a shared bedroom.

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  The shared bathroom in Zaragoza, was fine, except for the fact that it was shared on a different floor than the one where my room was located.

  Other than those two exceptions, my experiences with the shared bathroom has been positive. They've all been clean and well maintained, and the showers have been especially spacious. Superior they were in a couple of cases to some of the private bathrooms I’ve experienced, which
seemed to have been created out of an old metal box. A very small old metal box, too.

  No, for me, it has not been the condition of the shared bathroom, so much as the condition of my bladder, especially the condition afflicting men of a certain age. Specifically, the sexagenarian going on septuagenarian.

  In recent years, it’s been an increasing requirement to make multiple bathroom trips in the course of a night. Two is normal, three and even four is not uncommon.

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  So the one thing I miscalculated in reserving rooms with shared bathrooms, was the number of times I’d have to get up and get dressed before tending to nature’s frequent nighttime call. And that certainly was a big factor when the bathroom was on a different floor. To get dressed and
then go for a walk was not going to be sustainable over the course of a night.

  Now all the rooms that come with shared bathrooms did have a sink located in them, and therein lay the seed of an effective if not hygienically pure work around.

  Having potty trained at an admirably young age, according to both parents, I was loathe to backslide in that regard in any way. More than two decades ago (all right, more than fifty pounds ago) I ran marathons. To avoid any loss of time leaving the course for nature’s call, I taught myself how to...ah, let’s just say relieve myself without stopping. There was a learning curve, or an unlearning curve more precisely, in teaching yourself to forego all that you had learned so long ago about “holding it in.”

  I found myself now in that same strait of unlearning. There’s no reason to provide any further detail on this topic, other than to say, I am no longer using the coffee mug I had brought with me to drink coffee. And as far as the sink in the room is concerned, I fall back on
George Costanza who once explained, “It’s all pipes.”

  (Note: I would only add that it is now possible with some precision to measure the liquid volume of a typical bathroom visit with special care given to managing that volume within the built-in
limitations.