Monday, December 12, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: First World Problems

Our problems are different? How can they be different? Our circumstances are the same. I am broke. You are broke. I know you are because you drive the same cab as I do. I make, maybe a little more money, because you frown at everyone. And you are broke, so you have to live with your sisters and parents. And I am rich, so my sisters, brothers, cousins, nephews, uncles and parents will live with me. The same.

You have an apartment with three rooms. You say it has three rooms. You say, “How can five people live in this place? It will be terrible.”

I have an apartment with two rooms, counting the bathroom. I count the bathroom. You do not. You could say, “Mommy dearest, here is a room of your own. It has a sink and a shower.” But you don’t say that.

I have an apartment with two rooms and eleven beloved roommates. I am overjoyed all eleven of my family can live here. Nobody has a room of their own. Nobody has a bowel movement of his own, and we’re grateful. Is it because we’re from elsewhere? Is it because we have crazy primitive values? Is it because we have not watched enough television, used enough Sprint minutes and eaten enough food from wrappers? They are all happy to be there and eat this fast food. Well, except my mother and one of my uncles, but they have had hard lives. They do not know happiness so well anymore.

They do not know happiness so well because they saw children come home without arms. I mean they ate mud to fill their stomachs and never met their father. You are unhappy because your mother and father might have to share the same room in your three-room apartment. Is this what legal divorce does? I don’t understand.

Where we come from, people are divorced by slave trade. Hands are divorced from you for stealing fruit. Here, in one day, I work? And everybody in my two-room apartment eats fruit. No one steals.

I don’t understand you. It must be your realism. Americans are much more realistic than we are. I make some cabby-money and I think, “Oh my nephew can come live on my floor now, and not in that country, and not get sick, or join rebels, or get killed in civil war.” My family is like that. We are unrealistic.

You and your mommy assess how things really are. She thinks, “Oh I have to go live with my son now, and I will not sleep on park benches, but I will have to wait for bathroom, and talk to them when I am tired, and smell their unwiped selves late at night.” A very realistic family you have, concerned on what will be, while we are so happy with what won’t. Funny, though. Unrealistic as we are, we live in the same reality you do. In fewer rooms, too, with fewer complaints.


  1. I really like the idea of this. It's powerful and makes a neat point.

  2. Much better than my latest rant regarding inequality.

  3. Phew! Suddenly very grateful for everything I have this season, rather than looking at what I don't. Excellent piece!


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