There is nothing quite so frustrating as an incomplete bathing experience. At least, that’s how I feel, personally. I mean, given the choice, I would take an incomplete sex act over a piss-poor shower any day. I have traveled a great deal and have had some rough experiences with trying to get myself clean – horrid water pressure so that it takes forty minutes to rinse the shampoo out of your hair, scalding hot water every time the person in the next room flushes their toilet, rattling, shaking pipes that spit out rusty water, etc. I am not so terribly spoiled as I sound, either. I have even put myself in those situations – chosen to go camping in a place where the only option for a bath was to plunge myself into the snowmelt-swollen creek. And I will get over this morning’s disappointments soon enough – as soon as I have my latte in hand and am able to check my email.
You see, I have a fairly simple routine that wakes me up in the morning and enable me to face the day with some semblance of optimism. A nice shower, a double tall latte, and ten minutes to check the email that has come in overnight. I don’t think that’s too much to ask.
I am staying at this cute, quiet little B&B in Portland that has only one other guest besides me. It is run by a mostly senile matron with overpermed hair and crooked lipstick who has filled every nook and cranny with wicker, quirky needlepoint sayings, and china. My room is the green room and I actually have a private bathroom just down the hall. My room is comfortable and quiet and even sports a small television, which I actually found a little disappointing, but it’s small enough that I can tilt my chin up a bit and look over it out the lace curtains to the magnolia tree in the front yard.
Yesterday when I arrived and was given the tour, I was most excited by the bathroom. The room itself is an enormous 10 by 10 foot space that boasts a clawfoot tub, pedestal sink, beadboard, hundreds of green and blue towels stacked up inside a leaded glass cabinet and antique tin signs advertising soap for five cents. It was like an engraved invitation to bring my favorite book and soak all day. A silver tray perched across the tub; the perfect place to put your perfumed soap and Egyptian cotton washcloth (or glass of wine). The room was spotless (although crammed with shell shaped soaps and antique containers filled with q-tips and cotton balls) and I instantly lamented the fact that I would have no time to use the room for its intended purpose thanks to the busy workshop schedule I have.
But this morning when I awoke, fully aware of the challenges I would be faced with in order to efficiently shower in that tub, I was still excited about the prospect of doing so in that gorgeous bathroom. I might mention that I was also desperate to get clean. You see, I am in the early stages of menopause which, for a multitude of reasons really sucks, but for right now means that I spent the majority of my night in sweat-soaked pajamas dreaming vivid, Technicolor dreams that make absolutely no sense in the light of day. I was anxious to shed my offensive pajamas and soap up.
I decided to first wash my hair and rinse the suds down the drain and then fill the tub and have a quick soak. The water temperature was perfect and the pressure was passable – ahhh. I put the rubber mat into the bottom of the tub and climbed in. Sitting on my knees, I realized that this was going to be a little more difficult than I had first imagined. The tub sat in the middle of the room and was completely devoid of any sort of curtain to prevent water spraying out of it onto the hardwood floor. I stood there for a moment envisioning the poor elderly woman cursing me as she cleaned the bathroom later on her hands and knees, frizzy hair askew and sweat stains blooming in her armpits.
I had thought to bring my favorite shampoo and conditioner and lathered up a bit too enthusiastically, neglecting to first find a solution to rinsing it all out. Finally, I held the shower wand close to my head and positioned my scalp directly over the drain, knees grinding into the floor of the tub. I could feel each and every tiny capillary bursting across my kneecaps as I struggled to keep my balance with my head tucked down and my ass in the air. As I came up for air, the back of my head met the faucet with a crack and I yelled, “Fuck!”, reaching up with one hand to see if I was bleeding and effectively showering every surface of the entire 100 square foot room with the shower wand in the other hand.
I slammed the knob down so that water gushed out the faucet into the tub and sat back, realizing that my feet were numb from the awkward position I’d held to shampoo my hair. As I maneuvered my feet out from under me and stretched them out the length of the bath, I actually glanced around the room for a hidden camera. I pictured the old lady sitting in her breakfast nook, eyes tearing up as she hooted out loud and doubled over watching my unfortunate antics.
I finished up by taking a brief and unsatisfying sponge bath and spent the remainder of my time wiping the shower spray off of the floor and walls. I barely had enough time to get dressed and find a coffee shop before class started. Thankfully, the line to get my latte was not too long and I managed to check my email before heading out. I considered checking in to a hotel for my second night’s stay, but the picture of that gorgeous bathroom wouldn’t leave my head and I couldn’t help but think that I could still manage to use it in a manner befitting my fantasy of it.