I do not relish the idea of spending the coldest months of winter taking showers only slightly warmer than the ground temperature.

The interesting thing about our shower is that it could in theory provide an endless supply of hot water, since it has no tank. However, it doesn’t seem to heat the water to a certain temperature–rather, it heats it for a certain amount of time, or for a certain number of Joules. As a result, a heat setting of 10, which was scald-your-skin-off-boiling in late September when the water came out of the ground somewhat warm, is barely achieving lukewarm in the cold of early December, when the water from the pipes is blindingly cold.

This is distressing to me because showers are one of my most effective tools of comfort. Sickness, sadness, and all manner of sorrows are improved by the rush of hot water and the billowing steam. The clinking of the pipes and the reverberation of everything against the tile is something I find soothing. Zack and I spent much of the early part of our relationship, in the particularly harsh winter of 2007, talking about life and everything while languishing in his tiny bathtub, delighting in the warm shower. My sister and I used to have shower powwows, with one of us taking up residence on the counter or the toilet, keeping company and talking. When we were very young and could easily fit in a bathtub together, she and I would often pretend to be hosting a home improvement television show focusing on renovating the bathroom. (Can you tell that the only television we watched was PBS, which prominently featured This Old House?) I have always admired both the Japanese and the Aiel practices of communal bathing. What more intimate way to bond as a community than through warm water and talk?

I asked someone today if he had had a nice shower, and he said to me “Well… It’s a shower…To me, it’s all the same.”

This perplexes me; arguably as much as my question probably perplexed him. I hope that he eventually has some more really wonderful and remarkable showers, full of warm water and echo-y splashes, and soap that leaves skin smelling of wonderful things (coffee and whiskey, honeysuckle and jasmine, mint and lemon). I wish that all of you have many more delightful bathing experiences, alone and together.


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