Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Quest

Before I leave this hospital, I will successfully take a shower.

By that, I mean I will manage to perform a routine hygiene event without flooding the bathroom, and still actually get my hair washed.

It may seem strange that an adult who has survived to the age of forty-two would have difficulty managing the rather simple task of turning on and then off a spigot, but showers installed in hospitals I have discovered, are not first and foremost, showers.

They are punctured faucets to be sure, created to send heated streams of water out with some force. They do act in the capacity of showers;but their first goal is not to be a feng shui experience of getting clean. Their original intent, is to not get in the way of a doctor or nurse needing to help a patient who in the process of getting cleaned up, had trouble. The functional purpose for which they are most used, was secondary in the designer's mind.

I am sure of this.

Having wiped the equivalent of Lake Michigan off the floor following my attempt at close to Godliness with the two foot towels, I can say the towels did a better job as a mop than as anything else...like say towels.

My spare pants that were folded on top of a towel attempted to give a tutorial on what towelness should be, acting as sponge and soaking in a supernatural amount of liquid, rendering themselves unusable as pants for the day. The towel below absorbed just enough moisture to be ineffective as either a towel or pants.

It was then I had an epiphany about the towels and the shower and the couch that was a bed and failed admirably as both. Duality of purpose blunted or obliterated function. My pants were now wet towels. The towels were now soggy mops. I now struggled as
I still needed towels and pants that were not something else. The shower curtain became a robe. But as with the pants and the shower, it did the job inelegantly.

Like airline food and futons, the dual design motives had compromised any pleasure that might be derived from having a basic need met. Food on a plane is created to be given out while minimizing mess and storage requirements. Futons are designed to limit house guests to a two night stay.

Outside of the context of the experience, no one willingly embraces these objects. People don't have vinyl no cushion couches that double as beds in their home and no one says, "Hey, let's take a plane so we can enjoy the cuisine."

So, now I know the purpose of the shower, and must confront it's dual nature with my own natural stubbornness. I'm hanging my pants up on the sink and this time, I brought my own towels.


Dotty said...

Did your mom ever say "you would lose your head if it weren't attached"? The visual was great--channeling Lucille Ball and the conveyor belt with candy or the vitaveggievetamite commercial.

MightyMom said...

oh lordy girl, I'm not sure if I"m laughing with you or crying with you!!

great post!

ps, as a nurse, I always give about twice as many towels as the hospital tells me is the limit...cuz I know, as a mom...there's NEVER enough!! but I"d put the pants OUSIDE the bathroom just out the door..cuz everything in there will mysteriously absorb water while you scrub. don't ask ME how. :-)

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