The VigilanceVoice

Saturday- March 9, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 179

Vigilance And Going To The Bathroom
Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

        GROUND ZERO, New York City, Mar. 9--Don't lacquer your bathroom floor!  It will create a terroristic situation when you have to go to the bathroom.  Unless, that is, you apply the Principles of Vigilance.
        I had this brilliant idea--make our private restroom tile floor glisten like a mirror.
        In our pre-World War II  East Village apartment we are fortunate to have lots of space compared to most, at a reasonable price.    Finding any apartment in New York City is like searching for bin Laden in the caves of Afghanistan, but we were lucky.  We got the right place and the right lease.
        Certain sacrifices had to be made, however.   One such includes a single bath.   We came from Southern California where we enjoyed three and sometimes four bathrooms in our homes--(and, 3,700 square feet of living space.)   Some of our baths were nearly as large as our apartment is today, others were spacious but utilitarian.
        Living for years under a three-bathroom roof creates some Terror when you suddenly shift to a one-bathroom living arrangement.  And the bath we have is very small.  I had to have the superintendent cut a hole in the sink cabinet so I had a place for my knees when sitting on the toilet. (I'm 6-4 and weigh 270 pounds, so no matter how large anything is, it seems smaller to me than for most people). When I first looked at New York City bathrooms they appeared like telephone booths.  
        I also learned the importance of Vigilance when it came to bathrooms--especially those outside our apartment.   Bladder control is a vital part of New York City Vigilance Management.
        Restrooms in this city are hard to find.   You have to know where they are, and I always check the bathroom map before I venture out to an area I'm not familiar with.  Even famous author Henry Miller knew the problem back in the 1930's when he wrote "Black Spring."  Here's his quote:  "I know that I am in distress when I walk the streets of New York. Wondering constantly where the next stop will be and if I can hold out that long."
       Yes, one of the most precious maps you can get was designed by a woman who found a vacuum in "guide books."  There was none on quality bathroom's.  So she put together one that tells you where the best public bathrooms are--her name is Rebecca Webber. Everything in New York City seems to have a guide book--restaurants, cabs, entertainment--but the most precious is a definitive guide to bathrooms.  Rebecca began to take notes, and accumulated a huge list of bathrooms, their locations, and, of course, their ratings.
       I salute her as the Sentinel of Bathroom Vigilance.  She takes the Fear, Intimidation and Complacency out of the Terror of wondering where one can relieve himself or herself in this city of mazes, where the ultimate treasure is finding a restroom when the Call of Nature sings so loudly in your ears your teeth chatter and your eyes begin to swim.
       I also took a page from her book this morning.
       Yesterday, I spent the entire time grinding and stripping from every square-inch of tile the old wax and stains that have accumulated since VE Day (Victory Europe).   Then I applied a product called Lascaux, used to make tile glisten.  I chose a high gloss, to make the bathroom explode when you walk in; to make the morning come alive.   Bathrooms are for many people, especially me, a place of contemplation.   I use it to think about the day as I am doing my morning "duties," and my wife loves to take a hot bath in the morning and use the "quiet time" to clear any mind clutter for the day ahead.  
       Therefore, the effort necessary to assure we didn't mar the floor until it hardened properly became paramount.
       That's why I wrote the following instructions for my wife this morning.   I find that one can apply the Principles of Vigilance to just about any situation.   I also find that if one constantly employs them in all his or her thinking, it makes Vigilance a way of life, rather than a mere Pledge one takes and then stuffs it in the corner of one's mind to be recalled in moments of panic.   Keeping Vigilance "the main thing" means when a situation arises for you or a loved one to muster the Courage, Conviction and take the proper Action, you have oiled it, honed it, so Vigilance becomes a Second Nature and not a proactive response which can't be maximized because of disuse.
      So as you read these instructions, think to yourself how you can apply them to everything you do daily.   Play games with them.   Get your children, spouse, loved ones to enjoy them with you.   Whether they be tools to help you negotiate your way to the bathroom, or in dealing with the horrors of Nine Eleven, or a future crisis in your life, you will find their benefits rich and rewarding.   And, the tile in your bathroom will gleam too.

Vigilant Bathroom Entrance Instructions
For Lori--March 9, 2002

Dear Lori,
     This morning I tested these instructions.  They work well for me.  I would suggest you read them before you enter the bathroom, as the floor is still sticky.  I've attempted to make them interesting and informative. And, I've applied the Rules Of  Vigilance to them.  Good luck!

STEP #1.)  Vigilantly scan the bathroom.  Vigilantly means without Fear, Intimidation or Complacency.

STEP #2.)Notice the glistening shine of the tile, and its cleanliness.

STEP #3.)  Realize that the beauty of the floor comes above any incontinence regarding your desire to relieve yourself.  (Since you are the one who wanted a spotless, shiny bathroom!)

STEP #4.) Further, realize that Complacency—the lack of Vigilance—can cause footprints to be embossed in the beauty of the gloss (at least until it is finally dry).   Therefore, brace yourself for the diligence of entering the bathroom in a non-conventional manner.    Do not let the Terror of pressure on your bladder overwhelm the Vigilance necessary to protect the beauty of the floor.   Fear of wetting your pants, or the Intimidation of climbing into the tub to work your way to the toilet cannot override the end-goal of a beautiful floor.   Vigilance is not given, it is earned.  O.K.?  Let’s move on to step 5.

STEP #5.)  Having scanned the bathroom, place your left hand on the door jamb for support and swing your left or right leg into the bathtub. 
      (Note:  Earlier, I found it easier to lift my left leg up and over the edge of the tub.   I had tried my right leg, but when I entered the tub, I found my back was to the toilet causing me to turn around in the tub -  akin to getting on a horse the wrong way).  Unnecessary movement can cause imbalance and possible incontinence—so, if at all possible, try and enter the tub facing the toilet so you can  be positioned properly.) 
STEP #6.)Once the left or right leg is in the tub, shift your left hand over to the wall next to the tub and place the flat of it against it.

STEP #7.)Lean slightly to the left with your weight and slowly lift up your right leg, testing to make sure your balance is good.  Remember, the tub is made of porcelain, and could be slippery.   It is dry, so you should not have any trouble.   But be cautious.   Remember Rule #1 of the Laws Of Vigilance—“Expect The Unexpected!”  

STEP #8.)Now that you are confident your weight is leaning left, and your balance is solid, carefully lift your leg while leaning to the left and ease it up and over the rim of the bathtub.

STEP #9.)Place your right foot ahead of your left, in the center of the tub.  This will give you maximum balance as the flattest part of the tub is in the center.
       (Caution—do not reach for or grab at the shower curtain or shower curtain rod for support.  It is extremely fragile.   Keep leaning left at all times.  If you feel you are slipping for any reason, try and sit down in the bathtub rather than fall.  The tub is a contained space, a porcelain life raft.  Should you feel uncomfortable standing, you can flex your knees and squat, grabbing hold of the sides of the tub and duck walk slowly toward the toilet.   Should you experience any vertigo, or sense of claustrophobia, take deep, slow breaths and repeat these words:  “Vigilance requires Courage….Vigilance requires Courage.”    Soon the Fear and Intimidation will pass.   If it does not, yell out:  “Senintels of Vigilance, Help Me!” )

STEP #1O.) Balanced, and still leaning to the left, hand on the wall, move toward the toilet.

STEP #11.)When you reach the end of the tub (where the faucets are), congratulate yourself.  You are halfway to your goal.

STEP #12.)If you have not already, it is vital that you now remove any undergarments that might hinder your ability to go to the bathroom.   Use the side of the tub for support, flex your knees, and carefully remove your underwear (if necessary.)   Do not worry about the bathroom window.  In earlier exercises, I closed it so that no one can see you going to the toilet via the bathtub path.   Avoid any Fear, Intimidation or Complacency.   If you need additional confidence, glance up at the window.   Make sure it is closed for your own satisfaction.   If for some reason, which I cannot imagine, it is not closed, apply the Second Rule of Vigilance—“Ready for Anything, Counting on Nothing.”   This will give you additional Courage and Conviction to lean over, bracing yourself with one hand on the back of the toilet, and close the window.

STEP #13.) At the end of the tub, carefully look at the toilet and sink.   You will notice on the shiny floor in front of the toilet is a piece of silk.   This is where you will place your feet, as silk does not stick to the floor as readily as cotton.    The silk is your Landing Zone (LZ) for your feet.   Since we do not want to mar the finish until it hardens, focus on the silk LZ.  This is your goal.

STEP #14.) Reach forward for the ledge of the window next to the toilet with your left hand.  Place your palm firmly on it.   Slowly lift your left leg out of the bathtub and place it on the silk LZ, leaving room for your right foot to follow.  (Note:  if the toilet seat was down, as it should have been, lift it up prior to executing this step.)

STEP #15.)Confidently stand, trying not to place too much weight on either foot.   The pressure of your weight should be evenly balanced to avoid any foot impressions on the surface.  You may use the edge of the sink for balance, but do not put too much weight on it.

STEP #16.) Seat yourself on the toilet and release your bladder.

STEP #17.)Completing your morning constitutional, you can freely wash your hands and face and brush your teeth, and apply any makeup you desire.  Please do not move your feet while doing so.   Should you be concerned about leaving any impressions on the floor, you may wish to kneel on the toilet seat. This is your choice.

STEP #18.)Upon completing your duty and refreshing yourself, reverse these steps.  Swing your right leg into the tub, using your left hand against the wall for balance.  Return cautiously to the bathroom entrance and exit.


      The above procedure is a test of Vigilance.   During it, you will face Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.   Fortunately, you will have the tools of Courage, Conviction and the desire to take Action that will overwhelm any Terror you might feel during the trek to the toilet.
     Each step along the way requires that you employ the Vigilance Laws:  1.) Expect the Unexpected, 2.) Ready For Anything, Counting On Nothing, and, 3.) First Thought, Second Thought.
     During the explanation of how to enter the bathroom, I did not discuss the 3rd Law of Vigilance—First Thought, Second Thought.  
     As you know, you aren’t responsible for your First Thought, but you are your Second Thought.  Simply put, Fear, Intimidation or Complacency can rattle through our minds and take their course without us controlling them.   If, during any of the negotiations toward the toilet, or upon your return to exit the toilet, you become awash with any of Terrorism’s three ingredients—Fear, Intimidation or Complacency—take a deep breath and say, “Stop Thought!”  Fight the urge to panic.   Be responsible for your Second Thought, which is your Vigilant Thought.   It will help you construct the Courage and Confidence to take the Action necessary.
     Our goal for the bathroom is to have the floors shine and glisten.   If we keep the goal clear in our mind, the shiny brightness of its worth will cast sunlight on the Terrorism of waltzing through a bathtub to go to the bathroom.   The effort and risk taken on such a journey will be handsomely rewarded later, when the floor completely dries, and the tiles glisten and gleam.  Months from now, when the floor is still radiating its beauty, without mars from footprints, you will look back to this day and smile.  You will be glad you were a Sentinel of Vigilance on March 9, 2002.   And the gleaming, pristine, glazed bathroom tile will be your proof.

Semper Vigilantes—Your Loving Husband, Cliff!


     Go To Mar. 8--Apples & Oranges Of Terrorism

©2001 - 2004,, All rights reserved -  a ((HYYPE)) design