Who left the toilet seat up?

I will tell you from the start that this post is not about my husband. He does not leave the toilet seat up. Whether I have trained him well or he was trained from an early age, my rant is not about toilet seats at home.

It is about public bathrooms (for the most part shared/unisex bathrooms) where when you walk in the toilet seat is up. It is like a glaring advertisement “a man just peed here.” Why, oh why must they mark their territory? It means that women who may be a little out of it and might not intend to squat (I am not one of those) may just fall in. Most women probably take the time to grab some toilet paper, and put the seat down and then use one of those toilet seat covers, or add layers of toilet paper to cover the seat. Others will just leave the toilet seat as it is and then just squat, do their business, and move on with their life.

Maybe I am perplexed by the toilet seat left up, because at our house we also close the lid on the toilet after each use. It feels more of the way the toilet was designed. There is a lid, and it is not just meant to be closed so you can sit on it. It feels like a gesture of goodwill to leave it closed for the next occupant (man or woman). Since that is the routine in our house, maybe that is why it baffles me that to just put the seat back down (not even including the lid) should be a normal occurrence in home and public bathrooms.

For all you little boys, young men, and grown men please take a moment to put the toilet seat down after doing your business. Women all over will be grateful that you took an extra moment to put it down. And, of course, while you are at it, wash your hands too.

Unthink outside the box

I am not getting old, or maybe I am. This book has reminded me to be a child again. As always I have been reading like crazy. I just finished “Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius” by Erik Wahl. A book that has opened my ideas to how much and how often we try to fill in the blank, find the easy answer, and not use our brains. Early on in his book he explains this in such a succinct way:

“The short story goes like this: Our education taught us to memorize the predetermined answer or study the predetermined method in order to deliver the predetermined solution. There was nearly always one right way to one right answer, and an A+ job meant finding and then following that path repeatedly. There was rarely if ever room for what we so fondly call ‘thinking outside the box.’ You and I were rewarded for—often literally—making a check mark inside the right box. We were taught to be art critics but not artists. To think but not to unthink.” Page 17

How true is that? We were taught to score well on the SATs, to do well on standardized testing for our states and counties, because that is what determined if we were learning in school and if our teachers were doing a good job. Did it teach us how to think creatively? Did it teach us to solve problems? No, it taught us to fill out the correct answer on the scantron test and accurately use our #2 pencil in the oval, being sure not to color outside the lines. So how did we learn how to think outside the box?

I cannot remember when I started to think differently. At a certain point I think it happened in college when I got so sick of the status quo. A part of it had to do with being a woman and yet not treated fairly as a woman. It made me think I am going to do better than a man can do, I am going to learn what I can so that I can never be in a situation where I get stuck or cannot do something I cannot handle. I think it also was being so clear that I do not want to live how I grew up, that I wanted a better life. That desire and drive taught me that I do not want to live inside the right box. At a certain point we end up stuck in our ways, or our routine causes us to not take risks or live life differently. Which is why I love this quote that Wahl shares from Anais Nin:

“Older people fall into rigid patterns. Curiosity, risk, exploration are forgotten by them. You have not yet discovered that you have a lot to give, and that the more you give the more riches you will find in yourself. It amazed me that you felt that each time you write a story you gave away one of your dreams and you felt the poorer for it. But then you have not thought that this dream is planted in others, others begin to live it too, it is shared, it is the beginning of friendship and love…You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings.” –Anais Nin page 183

Aw man does that resonate with me. “…the more you give the more riches you will find in yourself.” We cannot give when we check the right boxes, when we fill out the scantron test. We give when we live outside of ourselves, and when we are raw, authentic, and real. Stop caring about the A+, and think like an artist…outside the box.