I think decent bathrooms are illegal here in Utah. When my wife and I were moving to Tooele from Las Vegas six years ago, we toured dozens of potential houses to buy. Every one of them, at least within our price range, had bathrooms that were really nothing more than glorified closets — essentially an outhouse brought indoors. We were at least glad most of them had running water.
I guess we were spoiled living in Sin City. Our modest little 1,200-square-foot house there had a master bathroom suite that would have made the Roman baths at Delphi look like a porta-potty. It actually took up almost one-fifth of the whole house. In fact, nearly every house in Las Vegas had palatial bathrooms with walls of mirrors and clear glass. Once when I was just finishing up getting ready in the morning, my wife walked into our bathroom with a pale look of shock on her face.
“What’s the matter, Honey?” I said. “You look like you’re about to throw up!”
“I was out in the side yard and you forgot to close the blinds in the shower’s bay windows again,” she replied.
“Oh… I thought I heard children screaming.”
I guess modesty isn’t as big a deal in a city of showgirls and strip clubs. There was really no clear boundary where the master bedroom ended and the master bathroom began in our little stucco sanctuary in Vegas. We would run willy-nilly half naked between the two completely comfortable and unaware of our pagan ways. Now, here in Tooele, after settling for a master bathroom that at least didn’t have a Sears & Roebuck catalog hanging on a nail in it, we are shy about even the appearance of skin showing.
“Um, Honey?,” my wife shouted from the bathroom the other day. “Can you pass me some socks through the bathroom door? I’ll unlock it and then cower in the corner behind the door while you quickly slip them through on the floor, OK?”
What was illegal in Las Vegas, and rightly so, were retina-searing white vinyl fences. On a bright summer day (which is everyday in Las Vegas) the reflection of the sun’s light off these solid 6-foot barriers would probably blind you. We tried to find a house in Tooele with both a bathroom with no moon on its door and no “snowbank in July” fence, but had no luck. Now, every time we look into our back yard without sunglasses we are reminded to put a few more coins into our cornea transplant fund.
Tooele still has its pluses over Las Vegas, however. Blinding fences and bathrooms with doors seem to be the price we must pay for not having to blindfold the kids every time we leave our driveway. When it comes down to living with strip clubs and Elvis impersonators or having to pour a bucket down the potty, I guess we’ll need to get used to our little water closet and encroaching color-blindness.
John Hamilton, creative director for Transcript-Bulletin Publishing, is venturing into the world of punditry and riches beyond imagining.