“Given the nature and reach of our enemies, we will win this conflict by the patient accumulation of successes, by meeting a series of challenges with determination and will and purpose.” –George W. Bush, October 7, 2001

The unspoken rule of any bathroom shared by a dozen or more women is that nothing must ever come into contact with the floor of the bathroom. The bathroom in Berthing Five, the ship’s Ops and Combat female berthing, was no different. If anything it was more militant. Anything that fell on the floor was considered contaminated and immediately disposed of. The trash can was a constant graveyard of toothbrushes, tubes of toothpaste, disposable razors and blades, washcloths, bars of barely used soap, and hair ties and bobby pins. Dozens of hair ties and bobby pins. It didn’t matter that because of its perceived dirtiness, the bathroom floor was meticulously cleaned so often that, had it been tested, it likely would have been deemed safe to eat off of. Safe, except maybe for the deadly chemicals they used on it every day to counteract said “dirtiness.”

It was completely taboo to be seen walking across the bathroom floor in bare feet, and anyone caught doing so would be branded a scumbag in the hearts and minds of anyone who heard about the incident. There was no circumstance under which it would have been deemed acceptable. It would be brought up at social gatherings years later…Remember when so-and-so went barefoot in the bathroom?

Like all taboos, it could be ignored when there were no witnesses.

Read the rest at Eleven Eleven Journal.

Originally Published in Eleven Eleven Journal Issue 18. 

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