Tuesday 16 July 2013

Shower Time

I was wondering this morning if everyone cleans themselves the same way. Yes, I was in the shower at the time and no, I don’t have a lot of experience watching other people shower. Just in the movies really, and the only two that I remember is the one from Psycho (not about cleaning at all) and the shower scene from Porky’s (again, not really about cleaning oneself).

I suppose that we are all taught how to wash ourselves by our parents. They want to make sure we get all of the hidden bits clean as well as the parts that might reflect poorly on them if found to be dirty. I can’t remember my parents teaching me how to clean myself, and I’m not sure if that is a case of a poor memory or the mind blocking out a memory I don’t wish to remember. I do know that my kids learned how to clean themselves and I am equally sure I gave advice, but they all loved being in the tub. The only think I remember about my early time in the tub was making soap bubble hairdos, beards and moustaches. I would pretend to shave the foam off of my face with my finger, just like dad did with a razor.

Like I said, I don’t remember how I was taught, but now I basically clean from the top down. My shower time is just a couple of minutes now, just enough to lather and rinse. When I was much, much younger, I spent a lot of time in the shower. Partly because it was hot and humid where I grew up and the shower was a source of relief before the advent of air conditioning. I also didn’t pay for the water either at my parent’s home or later on in an apartment building. I once read a story about the monsoon rains and every now and then I would pretend I lived in one of those exotic places where it would have torrential rains for months at a time. When in the shower, I would pretend that I was in a monsoon feeling the rain sluice over my body. I could barely breathe, so I figured that people in those countries must have noses that shed water in some way. Yeah, I was pretty dumb.

I remember a time when the water was out on our block while the city repaired a pipe. We had to haul drinking water and water to flush the toilet, so we went by the rule “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown flush it down.” Of course there were no showers for cleaning, just wash basin cleaning. Arwen took the whole situation as a personal affront from the city to screw with her life. It might have been, but at that time of her life, she hadn’t pissed off enough important people. I can see it happening now. Arwen solved the problem by getting up early and having a shower at her friend’s house everyday for the duration.

During the Middle Ages, bathing was thought to cause disease by widening the pores which allowed sickness to enter the body. It was frowned upon by the church (what wasn’t), and people only would clean their hands and faces occasionally. King Louise XIV and Queen Isabella I of Spain each only bathed twice in their lifetimes. I suppose that it was lucky there were so few people around back in those days. Our society is the complete opposite and people are frowned on who do not bathe every day. There are still some that avoid bathing, but you only run into them on crowed subway trains or buses as a rule.

I’ll probably never find out just how everyone cleans themselves, but I guess I can live with the disappointment as long as they do clean themselves on a regular basis. 

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