Monday, June 16, 2008


When I woke up this morning, there was no running water. Apparently, there was a water main break in the area and many homes were without running water this morning. Once the repairs are complete, we are supposed to boil our water for the next three days or use bottled water. I'm also not supposed to water the grass or fill my non-existent pool, and I'm supposed to limit my flushing.

I don't find these restrictions particularly onerous, but the idea of facing the day without a shower is another matter altogether. I did manage to find a quart or so of clean water in my teakettle, and I heated it up and washed myself enough to be able to go into work, but I have felt both miserable and unclean all day. Apparently, my morning shower is as necessary as my morning caffeine is to help me face the new day.

The pleasures of a shower, particularly when the temperature and pressure are right, are not to be underestimated. Most of the time, when I get into the shower, I disappear into my head. The exception is during high stress periods at work, when I'm typically so exhausted that I turn the water cold for the amount of time that it takes to sing a chorus of La Vie en Rose, aloud and in French. But when I'm not channeling the Little Sparrow, the shower is a fully meditative experience for me. It's the closest I come to a daily religious practice. No wonder I'm so out of sorts when I don't get it.

Feeling the water run over you, or being under water in almost any setting, is an atavistic pleasure that largely defies description and thus doesn't need to be described. Everyone understands it. It's the same thing you feel when you walk by the ocean or emerge from the ocean. Or get caught in a warm rain. Two years ago, b&c and I were hiking in the Everglades in January, and we got caught in a downpour, half a mile from the car. It was in the low eighties, and it was the first time I'd been caught in a warm rain in maybe thirty years. Rarely have I been so happy, even as I wrung quarts of water out of my t-shirt and shivered on the way back to the motel. The water is a call back to the womb or to the primordial soup. Coming out of it is a form of rebirth.

Maybe that's why I don't really get wet sex. I've read plenty of good porn about sex in the showers, and Cthulhu knows that a layer of water on a man further sweetens the eye candy. But actually having sex in the shower would take me right out of my head. I reckon many people spend too much time in theirs, so maybe that'd be a good thing, but that's not so much the case for me. Besides, it's just impractical. The same thing is true in a hot tub. It's very nice to sit next to someone and perhaps feel the touch of flesh to flesh, or at least hand to hand, as a way of reaching out to the collective unconscious, but if you want to have sex in there, someone's going to have to be really good at holding his breath, or you're going to have to figure out how to not let the water soluble lube wash away. Far better to enjoy a quiet communion, then get out, towel off, and fuck like crazed monkeys on the bed.

YMMV, of course, and more power to you, if you can successfully fuck in the shower. At least you'll be clean again soon. Sometimes I think I should give the YMMV proviso more frequently. I'm a man of strong opinions, but they're meant to apply mostly to me. (Except for matters of grammar and usage: y'all have to toe the line on avoiding the greengrocers' plural, or deal with my wrath.) That should be implicit, but it's probably not. Am I rambling? I blame the lack of running water.

I have long maintained that no invention of the past 200 years has so revolutionized everyday life as has indoor plumbing.

Think about it.

I'm sure there are substitutes for the daily shower. I could meditate for fifteen minutes and then have a sponge bath. A number of religions have ritual baths, and I suppose I could join one of those.

But let's hope it doesn't come to that. I'm told that there's a good chance that water and water pressure will be restored when I get home. I'm probably meant to limit my shower length so that water pressure can be maintained for firefighting, but we had a couple of inches of rain today, so I don't guess the risk is all that high right now. If the pressure's good and the temperature's right, I may not come out until Friday.

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