One of the best things about abiding — albeit briefly — amongst the well-housed is getting to use their outdoor showers. For these, as anyone knows, offer one of the finest, most sublime, most harmonious sensory experiences to be had. Any outdoor shower is wonderful. A pipe jutting out of a wall and trickling water onto a concrete sheet: a beautiful thing. The outdoor showers at public beaches — most excellent.
The one here? Ridiculous.
First of all, it’s a double; there are two adjacent shower heads. Secondly, the water. Damn. Propelled out of shiny, rod-like heads in a wide, fan-shaped torrent, its pressure is titanic. I’ve had Shiatsu masseurs with a weaker touch. The breadth of the spray covers your entire body. Not one digit goes un-doused. Then the aesthetics: faucet handles wooden and smooth, like driftwood. A floor and walls also of wood. I don’t know what kind. Reddish. Smooth. Fetching. And the visual coupe de grace: before your eyes as you bathe, a dense, deep, vast wall of trees — breathing, blowing, sighing, shading. Sun refraction completes the picture. It’s everything you’ve ever dreamed an outdoor shower could be. The Platonic ideal. The lotus in the center of the crystalline wellspring of pure bliss.
See? The thing has completely melted my brain. Zoop! It’s as limp as a wet cloth. And I. Don’t. Care.
What I do care about? What I am, in fact, thrilled to report? That this week MJ had her first shower ever inside these wooden walls. She has only ever, in the past, you see, had baths. By choice. The suggestion — made often as she passed out of babyhood — that she might, for a change, try a shower filled her with horror. You’d think waterboarding was in the offing. I was beginning to fear that she would hit high-school without ever having stuck a toe into a shower stall. It was worrying me. She could get a nickname. Myra-Clean Wantbathski. Kids are cruel.
I needn’t have worried. Clearly, she was just choosing her moment. Yesterday, when we got home from the beach, MJ saw the outdoor shower. She heard us negotiating over who’d get in first. She asked to try it. This was great — it bumped us to the beginning of the queue! — but I had small hope she’d take to it.
I was wrong. At first she inserted just a foot — oh so carefully! — then a calf, then an entire sandy leg. In moments the body followed. Timid at first, she gained courage as the experience swept her up. “Outdoor shower,” she muttered, as she turned her head this way and that. “Out. Door. Shower.” Then she began to dance. Fifteen minutes later I had to order her to come out.
“That,” she said, looking at me from beneath a damp white towel, “was fun.”
I can only imagine. I am thrilled to have been able to offer her such a stellar inaugural experience. I hope — in the days to come — she repeats it as much as she possibly can. There’s an outdoor shower in Nova Scotia, too — our next stop. Lucky girl! But after that? It all goes downhill — or should I say downstream? — rather fast. Our sad little Water Pik back in L.A., with its two settings: rain, or “henpeck,” and no view save the inside of a soap-stained shower curtain, will seem like a sore disappointment indeed. How could it not, after such fine long submersions in sun, wood, soap, air, trees, and waterwaterwaterwaterwater?
One consolation? There are no ticks in L.A. I’d bathe in a moldy barrel of rainwater at this point if it would take away the threat of Lyme’s Disease. But that’s just me.
As for MJ? I’m guessing she’d take the shower.