The Nose In My Bathroom Tile

A bathroom reno is what every woman wants. My bathroom has just undergone its third transformation in twenty-two years. My husband, Mark, is a carpenter, and we are on a budget, so it was a DIY project, not quite the luxurious “spa” bath you might see in House & Home or Style at Home.  But it sure beats what we had before. I’ve got the plush white towels, a gleaming chrome faucet perched proudly on a new white ceramic sink, and fresh “Manhattan Mist” on the walls.

The porcelain tile flooring seems to get everyone’s vote for the best new feature in the bathroom. The mottled mix of grey tones and spice brown veining is supposed to emulate the markings of natural stone. I’m not quite sure which natural stone. No matter. The desired effect is there and the tiles were in the right price range. Of course, Mark had to be reminded to alternate the placement of the tiles so they looked “irregular”. Happily only three of them are in a row with exactly the same pattern and orientation, glued in place before I could intervene. Still, if you don’t look too closely, you can hardly tell that the tiles are mass produced, so I’m not complaining.

 The thing that kind of gets me is that when I sit on my new toilet, a lovely environmentally-responsible model designed for the more mature posterior, appropriately high and sturdy, directly in my line of sight is a nose. A nose in the floor tile. A long nose that starts with a skinny bridge but extends into quite the formidable proboscis. The variations of grey and brown streaks create two very obvious nostrils, slightly flared. Receded behind the bridge are two charcoal-coloured horizontal lines which appear to be eyes slanted in a rather menacing expression. My dear spouse does not see the nose in the tile. Nor the narrowed eyes.

But then he didn’t see the animals in the sponge-painted walls, either. The previous decor consisted of my own sponge-painting. Another DIY. Minty-green spirals and peachy whorls adorned the entire bathroom in a pattern that I thought simulated high-end wallpaper. I was mistaken. It was ghastly. However, the point is that I could clearly see an alert and cute husky pup in the abstract design. It had perky pointed ears, and button eyes. I also saw a turtle. And a duck. And other things. And no, I don’t hear voices. I just see things that others don’t seem to see.

So, here I am blogging. I want to write about the things I see. Mostly because they seem to be demanding my attention. Embedded designs. Anomalies and quirks in the fabric of my life. Something or someone behind the curtain that I have to check out, like Toto in the Wizard of Oz.

I’m a Christian, so I am saying that it’s God. In my peripheral vision, I see him working. Just oblique glimpses, as if his back is turned towards me, so I just can’t be certain always as to what he is doing. There’s swirling smoke and haze. Sometimes he drifts out of sight entirely. It seems he’s a smith (too), muscled and strong, sweating in a sooty shed, smiting and refining with powerful arms and skilful craft. Sparks fly, and metal clashes. He’s trying to get my attention, I think, calling me to look again, to look more intently, to notice that he is here, busy.