Germany

UVM’S THE CHANCE

As I walked up the stairs of our local brewpub on the Naab River, the cold air hit me straight in the face.  Cold because I had left the relative warmth of the cozy low ceiling eating area but also because it was 32 degrees Fahrenheit outside.

I turned at the top of the stairs and headed for the Herren Room (or Men’s Room…it helps that the other option is Damen and I can remember dames from Turner Movie Classics).  As the door swung open the temperature did not increase one bit. As I approached the urinal I looked over nervously towards the stall where the cold porcelain toilet sat. The thought of dropping my trousers and having my skin come into contact with that cold surface brought me back to a classified I had once seen in The Cynic personals.

It was a girl looking for a boy and she said she wanted a boy ‘brave enough to go the bathroom sitting down at The Chance’.  For the uneducated, The Chance was a dive bar in Burlington, Vermont. The Chance men’s room had no door to it. At the time of this personal, the men’s stall had no door on it.  The men’s bathroom was directly across from where patrons walked down the stairs to enter the establishment thus creating a gawking gallery.

It also brought me back to 2008 when Jules was a law student in the Netherlands for the spring semester.  During one of my visits in February we were walking through Leiderdorf along the canals. After some time we walked past a cafe with open doors, feeling the heat strike us as we strode past.  Deciding we could use a little nourishment, and warmth, we entered the cafe.

Like EVERY responsible adult I know, the second thing I did after taking off my jacket on the back of my chair was heading to the bathroom to wash my hands.  I proceeded to wash my hands with the coldest water I have ever felt in my life. In fact I was unclear how the water didn’t turn to icicles as it came out of the tap.  Feeling quite cold after this experience I returned to our table.

Suddenly the sensation of that warmth coming out of the cafe’s open doors was replaced by the cold Arctic air rushing into the cafe’s open doors.  Compounded with the ice hand washing I had just experience, my core body temperature dropped by two degrees. And for the remainder of that visit to the Netherlands, I was never truly warm again.

Yep, I was as likely to use that 32 degree toilet in 2020 as I was that Chance toilet in 1993.

Quiet homebody.

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