Do you know that song by Puddle of Mudd with the refrain “she f*$&ing hates me?” If so, feel free to hum along while reading this post, but substitute “it” for “she” because I am not entirely comfortable assigning a gender to my shower. Here is a YouTube clip, for some reason subtitled in what I think is Italian, just in case you want to learn to sing it in another language to impress your friends (I love this song, and the video, and the fact that the lead singer has such perfect teeth–you just know he had a super suburban, perfect upbringing to be singing with those teeth and such angst).
So my shower hates me, but not in the typical ways you might assume, like temperamental water pressure, or wildly fluctuating temperature (in my sorority, if someone was showering while you were using the toilet, you had to shout “flushing!” and couldn’t flush until they responded “thank you!” so they could get out of the way of the molten water stream that would momentarily ensue from the flush of ancient plumbing in a structure not actually built to house hundreds of girls, much less girls in the 80s with all of that big hair, mall bangs, and Aussie spray scrunch product to keep it coiffed sky high).
No, my shower hates me because sometimes it simply refuses to work in its intended capacity. We live in a tiny little beach bungalow with one bathroom. It’s got a clawfoot tub that’s been (poorly) rigged with a pipe and shower head (why, yes, that is clear packing tape wrapped around the intersecting pipes!).
I don’t mind taking a bath once in a while, especially when it’s cold outside, but I prefer a shower for its efficiency (the lack of feeling like I am stewing in my own filth is a bonus). At any rate, I like to be the one who determines whether I want to take a bath or shower, not have my plumbing dictate it. But the little pull-up stopper on the faucet just flat out refuses to function correctly for no apparent reason. One day it’s all “enjoy your shower!” and the next day, “bath time for you, sucker!” I can go weeks without it being an issue, to the point where I start to think maybe I made the whole thing up, and then it reminds me that I am not the one calling the bathing shots. We went for a couple of weeks where it simply wouldn’t budge—to the point where I was ready to call a plumber about it (due to its on again/off again nature, I was wary of doing so: I have a long, embarrassing history of cars, computers, etc. not doing the “wrong” thing when an expert is finally called in, leaving me stammering with descriptions of what was wrong that has, for the immediate moment, stop being wrong, like the singing frog in that old cartoon) and then it simply, maddeningly, started working again.
But then came the last straw. I had colored my hair (I have had a shock of grey hair since my 20s, although now the shock has spread to pretty much my whole head. I went to a hair stylist once who suggested perhaps I had been dropped on my head as a child on the spot in question. I did not agree with her theory, but it did result in me never going back to her) and hopped in the tub to shower away all of the grey when, of course, the damn shower stop wouldn’t work. I tried everything—cursing, shoving something up inside the faucet to magically release it, jiggling and pulling on the stopper while pleading, all to no avail. So I ended up hunching over and squeezing my head in the space under the faucet to rinse the hair color out (please do not judge me for the rust marks–do they even still make new, porcelain, clawfoot tubs?? probably not in my price range).
And that is why my shower hates me. But now, the feeling is mutual.
Post script: A plumber was finally called and he re-rigged a whole new faucet (see photo above; the previous faucet was even lower and more awkward to get one’s head under). Although it took several days for the right parts to be procured, the plumber was kind enough to point out that I could still take a bath.