A November Shower

Today was the day every New Yorker has to deal with eventually: the first day in November when showering in the morning really, really sucks, and you realize it’ll probably suck for the next four months straight. If you live in a nice new doorman building with immaculate plumbing, congrats – you have one less thing to worry about. For me, a morning shower goes something like this…

– Wake up to my alarm purposely set 40 minutes before I actually have to get up; I have exited REM Sleep and entered Snooze Time.

– Snooze Time is a highlight of my day. The cocoon I have created and hibernated in for the night is heavenly. It’s like a placenta, only if you could occasionally stick your feet out of the placenta to cool down a little. After practicing this for a few years, I have the climate control abilities of a Maybach.

– Third snooze of the morning. My iPhone seems to have a default setting of an 8 minute snooze. This annoys me; instead of something simple like 5 or 10 minutes, I’m forced to do math when my mental state is foggy at best, nonfunctioning at worst. This has made me late for work more than once. Rather than take 40 seconds to fix this in the iPhone settings, I make a mental note to blog about it. A proud millennial – “don’t fix it; complain about it!”

– Final scheduled snooze. Each morning I go one snooze past my final scheduled snooze. This is the moment when my plan begins to unravel.

– Glance at phone and realize I’m already late. I pop out of bed and throw my comforter off; instead of a gentle water birth, I have Emergency C-Sectioned myself. The world is cold and unforgiving; I briefly ponder climbing back into the placenta and making up a disaster story for my boss. Wrestling with this decision costs me a few more valuable seconds. Thinking better of it, I grab the towel and gingerly prance into the bathroom on the balls of my feet, like a mistress who just heard the wife come home.

– I turn on the shower, hot water only, full throttle. It’s important to accelerate to “scalding” as quickly as possible, then work your way back down to “hot”. My shower, like many in NYC, is stubborn; if I stop even momentarily at a temperature below “hot”, I lose all momentum and fall back down to “freezing”. It’s similar to the physics behind escaping Earth’s gravity – I need to achieve Escape Velocity Temperature.

Escape Temperature

I’ve only got one shot at this. Need to nail it perfectly…

– And I missed! Temperature crashing back down to Earth. Code Blue! Code Blue! I jump into the shower in an attempt to grab at least a few seconds of lukewarm water before I descend into hypothermia. With a defeated sigh, I adjust the knob to the correct temperature – adding a little heat – despite knowing the effects won’t take place until I am about to leave the shower. A drowning man will clutch at any straw.

– The frosty ice water streaming out of the showerhead activates my fight-or-flight response; my innately programmed survival instincts override my wimpy existential thoughts. My sphincter tightens; my pupils dilate; adrenaline pumps into my bloodstream. I am not ready to die, and if it’s going that way, I am going down swinging.

I shift gears, frantically shampooing my hair as my lips turn blue. Faced with the decision of using body wash or living long enough to produce offspring and pass on my genes, I make a quick decision and rub some shampoo suds on my pits and balls. That’ll do.

– Vision is blurring. Mental processing ability slowing. Need to shut water off and do naked jumping jacks like Bear Grylls taught me. As I reach for the faucet – a miracle! The water seems to be warming! The desperate attempt at changing the temperature has worked. I become emotional as I realize I’m going to make it; my thoughts turn to my family, my childhood…how beautiful the mountains are when the seasons change…

– *BERRRRR! BERRRRR! BERRRRR!* Once again, I forgot to actually shut off the alarm; I only hit the snooze button. My eight minutes are up. I try and block it out – to enjoy this moment of warmth and love before I have to go back into the cold – but the incessant alarm is too much. I feel intense rage towards the Apple engineer who signed off on the 8 minute snooze; I would happily murder him with my own hands for those last two minutes.

– I turn off the shower, and the alarm, and begin toweling off. I have a perverse sense of pride for showering in less than eight minutes. When I was going through puberty, I suspiciously started taking showers that averaged somewhere around 45 minutes; I’d like to tell you I was maturing after a childhood where I hated bathing, but in reality I was thinking about Tiffany Amber Theissen and pushing the limits of my hormone-flooded reproductive system. One day, my old man sat me down (probably because I was singlehandedly doubling our water bill).

“Son,” he said, fidgeting in his seat. “Listen, when I was in the army for a year, we had 4 minutes – tops – to take a shower. Four minutes. A man doesn’t need any longer than that.”

Poor guy. I was his first son. We both went through the awkwardness together.

– Smiling at my perverse but humorous family memories, I exit the bathroom, my confidence and mood lifted by virtue of making my father proud. As soon as I open the door to exit the humid and relatively warm bathroom, freezing air hits me in the chest. My nipples instantly stiffen to the point where they are best measured like a socket wrench; now, they are 3/4-inch and alloy steel.

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– I once again fairy-dance into my bedroom, quickly throwing clothes on. I have a brief panic attack when pulling on my boxers before realizing my penis has not fallen off but rather is simply inverted for warmth. “Smart guy; no wonder I always listen to his advice,” I think to myself.

Fully clothed and ready to venture out into the 28 degree day, I feel I have already lived ten lifetimes in twenty minutes. I have a new appreciation for basic human necessities like shelter and warm water; I have a new zest for life and make plans to call my family at lunch and tell them I love them. I don’t want any regrets in case I don’t make it next time. Today was close.

“Ah,” I think, breathing in the cool air, taking in the cab horns and dodging a beggar. “Nothing like mother nature to set you straight.”


– By Jack Gashi

One Response

  1. Richard N. Pinkbean November 18, 2014