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Monday, April 04, 2011

The Quest for a Good Shower; An Adventure with Lunch Ladies and Asian Men

Dirt and grime, and just general sweat and the wear of the day, all have me run down, along with the muscles that I cannot relax without the nice, long application of warm water. All that I want is just a shower...a decent one, one that doesn't freeze me and one that doesn't burn me, and one that actually gets me wet.

You see, the problem with my shower reached a vexing pinnacle when I got mad at the already existing problem and ripped out the shower head in my bathroom. I set about Macgyvering a hose plugged into the sink. It doesn't fit exactly because I had to use some type of tape or adhesives to get this hose to stick on the water faucet. Water still leaks out everywhere. And this, alas, has me only bathing in a thin trickle with the same fluctuating moodswings of the water temperature that had me annoyed to begin with. But ontop of that, I end up squatting curled up in a little ball underneath my sink in order to take a shower. Insane. Well, here, the sinks are actually inside the entire shower room. But still..it is uncomfortable and everytime I take a bath it feels like I am positioned for a tornado drill.

So I thought to improvise. It is always the lack of necessity that get us to think outside the box, and well, I thought, I will just take a shower at the school. They have this pool in the basement, and a bathroom adjoined where some nice and lovely showers exist. Ah, I couldn't wait. In fact, so wonderful were the showers when I actually did sneak down there. That, I was beginning to rely on that. I took two of the most sublime showers down there... yes, secretly. For, I mean how weird is a teacher, a grown man, taking a shower at the elementary school where he works. I mean, what would you think if Mr. Rogers was caught skinny dipping in a children's pool? Similiar thing. Okay, not exactly. But close.

Now, there is this small kitchen where they cook meals for the teachers next to the swimming pool. Now the students have their cafeteria in another wing, but sometimes teachers come down and eat, and if they go to the bathroom, I figured they go in the bathroom exactly where the shower was. So, if I were to take a shower I had to be quick. I didn't want a teacher or a cook walking on me while, I am butt-naked covered in soap suds. These showers, are just corded showerheads that you pull off the wall and you bathe in the middle of the bathroom, there are no partitions or shower curtains. So, taking a shower in a bathroom that you don't even know if you are supposed to be in, is risky business. And everything, I mean everything, is definitely more of a risk if it involves nudity. As I've said before, I've successfully taken 2 showers in this bathroom, undetected because I've gone through clandestine measures and I am a master of stealth. There is no door that I can visibly close and lock. There are these glass doors that are on the outside of the hall that lead to the bathroom. But these can't be locked either. But my precautionary measures were taken by shutting one of these hall glass doors and hoping that if anyone was making a trip to the bathroom, they would get the hint that someone was taking a bath.

So this one day, I wandered down there to take my 3rd shower, and had shut the glass door, but it makes this loud dull clang that sounds like an entire bookshelf falling over when its shut all the way. And fortunately instead of ripping off all my clothes and lathering myself up with soap and shampoo, I just used the toilet first,for right when I was making my move towards my bag with all the soap, shampoo, and my towel, one of the lunch ladies flicks on the light to the outer room, and sees me, yells something incompresensible in Korean, and marches out. I was first of all relieved that my shower plans were discovered while my clothes were still on. And because, I was not really sure if she was mad or what, I followed her only to find her in the little kitchen where she was yelling up a storm and pointing in my direction telling the entire kitchen staff and all the teachers there that I was in there. I realized then, that that bathroom was off limits. And the principal of the school who happened to be seating on the floor Asian style at her table with chopsticks in her hand, looks at me smiling and shakes her hand, a sure sign that it was off limits.

So my plans were absolutely foiled. And the school showers are a complete no go. I just never thought, that my life would ever get to the point where I was risking being caught naked by, of all people, a lunch lady.

So onto other plans. I'm like the Wily Coyote and a nice, warm shower is like that blasted Roadrunner. I heard about this garden hose outside on the roof where my room is near. I figured that the hose fit better than the small hose that I had taped to the bathroom sink. So, the other night, I got my hands on this garden hose and hauled the entire thing into my shower room. I was getting my hands all dirty from all the residue and Asian dust that is coated on everything and anything that remains outside for an extended period of time in this country. And I ripped the existing hose and tape all off sure that this hose was the correct size. And when I finally got the huge garden hose hooked up, I found that the water amount spilling out was far less than my original hose. I think it had something to do with the yards and yards of coils, and with so much hose, gravity was working against me and not allowing water to spill out naturally. The only thing it managed to do was make all the dirt and grime from the hose get all over the bathroom floor mixing with the water forming this type of sludge that I begin to track in the rest of my apartment. I was ticked off again.

So tonight, I went to a nearby gym. I thought to give in and just shell out a little bit of money. I mean, what is a hot shower really worth? In some people's book its priceless. Maybe they had some kind of special deal if I didn't use their gym equipment, but only used their showers, they'd cut me a discount. When I showed up, it was one of the busy times of the day, and the trainer gym guy showed me the showers and all these naked Asian men were in there. And then we went over to his desk and in broken English and mannerisms, I learned that he could only charge me the full rate for use of the entire gym which was not bad, like $50 a month or $100 for 3 months. But I got to thinking that the idea of having to pay to take a bath with a bunch of Asian men was a horrible idea. Besides, I'm sure rumors would begin to spread around the gym that that incredibly white, white-man, would only show up to take public showers...What kind of perve is that? So I was back to Round 1.

Tonight, I used a different tape and taped back the first small hose that I had taped on the faucet and I squatted and took myself a shower, and at this point, I really didn't care about the mercurial water temperature nor that its a little streamlet. Besides its getting warmer here and a cooler shower is not that bad.


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