Thursday, June 13, 2013

Salle de Bain

It seems to me that most people work two full-time jobs. The first is the obvious one, where we put in 40 hours per week of labor for our paycheck. The second one, which likely involves nearly as much effort, is the one that keeps us activity monitoring our image. The face or persona that the outside world is allowed to see. The one that we painstakingly manicure and style and pay attention to. The effort to keep up appearances of professionalism, of mental stability, of being calm and in control at all times, as always being upbeat and certain of ourselves, can be more draining than any physical labor that we set our backs to. It's funny that over time we often come to believe that the facade that we have erected is the real us. I think that more often than not, this gauzy exterior is flimsy and threadbare enough, despite our best efforts, that most folks who take even more than a causual glance can see through it pretty quickly.

This post came to me the other day at work when I was sitting in a colleague's office trying to have a meeting at his desk. His office is situated such that it is bordered on one side by a high traffic bathroom. Sitting in that space, every toilet flush shook through the walls. You could hear conversations, folks using the soap dispensers and pulling out the paper towels, and far too many "other" sounds generated in your typical salle de bain. These folks on the other side of this thin wall were going about their "business" believing that they were wrapped in privacy. Yet without even trying I knew exactly what was going on.