Saturday, October 01, 2005

a little about my bathroom

we don't pay enough attention to the places in which we shower.

oh, sure, most of us like to shower every day, but we probably don't recognize just how important the room in which that shower happens really is. but when you take a shower in a different place every day for several days, and then have to adjust to a new shower, it becomes more apparent.

sometimes, getting used to a new shower can be shocking. for instance, i was violated by a shower at a best western in portland, oregon.

okay, technically, it wasn't the shower, it was a part of the faucet in the tub, and don't ask any questions, because i'm not going into any detail regarding why it happened so many times, and why each time it did happen it took me longer to do anything about it; suffice it to say, i remember wondering if it was going to show up on my bill as something like, "shower plus happy ending, 30.00."

with my AAA discount, 20.00.

i also remember wondering if anyone was going to disinfect that part of the shower after i left. sorry, future occupant of room 124! i promise, i didn't do it on purpose--

--the first time.

currently, i am renting a room in a house from a great couple who are presently in vienna, austria, and i am living with two terrific roommates, who are, like me, transplants from different parts of north america. we all have one thing in common, besides hair, and that is, we are perplexed by our shower.

it's not that i don't like our shower, merely that i find it odd that anyone would choose our shower over other, more normal ones. i actually find it quite a nice piece, and were i to see it in someone else's home, i would remark upon it the way people do when they think something is rather decorative but serves no real purpose. in other words, i would turn to my husband and ask for one.

unlike when we see a person who we think is rather decorative but serves no real purpose; we call those people models. if they prove that they can wear clothes without speaking, we write words for them to say and we call them actors. the problem with actors is, emboldened by the praise they receive for saying what someone has written for them, they then go off and say words they write for themselves.

words like, "you don't know the history of psychiatry. i do."

i digress.

see, viola, the pseudonym i've invented to mask the real name of my land--lady? lord? human. viola, one of my landhumans, all of 5 feet of sass and fire, really wanted a clawfoot tub and a european shower because she likes to take baths. this is obvious by the yellow and black stains that have become joined at the molecular level to the old porcelain vessel, bonded so powerfully that we've begun to see dirt from other parts of the house migrating slowly towards it like it's some kind of event horizon of filth, much the same way that ryan seacrest is an event horizon of stupid, from which no intelligence can escape.

personally, i don't understand baths, but that's because i, like kramer, don't enjoy pickling myself in the soapy filth of others and myself. it's just kind of something i was into for a while in college, and like a lot of the things i used to experiment with (q-tips, moisturizing, listening to others), eventually i just grew out of it. nevertheless, viola, i guess, loves the bathing.

so we've got a tub. and not just any tub, mind you, but the tub of all tubs; forget about bathing, you could stick a sail on the sonuvabitch and take two travellers out on the seven seas, with some plaster chick on the front like a viking's warship or a trucker's mudflaps. the rub, however, is that what makes it "european," apparently, is the absence of any kind of a fixture that would hold the shower head in place. it's just this stainless steel hose with a shower head on the end, so that when you turn it on it moves of its own accord as though possessed by the spirits of unsatisfied showerers of yesteryear. so if you prefer showers, and not baths, you are, like i was in portland, fucked.

and because you have to hold the shower head, you're always having to alternate between using the soap and using the water, which is a particularly invigorating experience on cold mornings, though we don't have any of those in seattle.

sometimes, i think it'd be easier to take a walk through a rainstorm with powdered detergent stuffed in my shorts than it is to take a shower in my own home.

we're thinking of creating a brace out of wood and metal from which to hang our shower head, thus rendering it more like the other, normal showers, like those shoes pa ingalls made for olga. i'll let you know if this leads to a rousing all-girl game of softball outside the house.

furthermore, due to the claw feet on the outside of the tub, there's probably four to six inches of space between the floor and the porcelain, which means there's four extra reasons for me to slip and break my ass. or my head. you know, as several women will tell you, it's pretty much all the same. one of these days, i just know i'm going to slip when i'm trying to disembark, and i always think about this as i'm stepping up and over and reaching for the floor with my toes like i'm descending a ladder blindfolded, because my eyes are checking out the flimsy hooks holding the shower curtain up and i know that, if i need a crutch, this curtain's falling faster than zimbabwe's gross domestic product.

what i really can't picture is viola trying to make a graceful exit from this thing; i imagine that every time she needs to get out of the tub, she's got to swing her leg over the porcelain wall while holding herself steady with her hands like a gymnast on the pamel horse, lest she either drown in the gray bath water or fall the other way and hit the ground.

and every morning, at the end of her bath, maybe as a sandlewood candle still burns peacefully on the window sill, i see her attempting the same precarious dismount as the previous day, and i imagine the same phrase echoes in her brain:

"this is so fucking worth it!"