16 January 2009

Re: floods, fears and bathrooms

The most intimidating process for me, in a new country, is to figure out how the bathroom works. Mostly, I make the mistake of undressing and then trying to work the taps, instead of waiting for a tutorial from the master of the shower. Having traveled about a bit in the last few years I have lost a bit of the fear, but none of the overwhelming stupidity that seems to grip my brain when I try to get a handle on bathroom things for the first time.

I'm in London now and my bathroom looks straight out of an Ikea catalogue. White chip-less tub, a dozen tubings that spout water at full force, stainless steel taps possibly designed for the international space station, glass door shower curtain etc. As usual I went forth with trepidation towards the bathtub. First, the tap. No hot water. May be if I let the water run a bit? 20 minutes later and guilt beginning to creep in about my errant urban water wasting ways... it's only tepid. Oh wait, there's a toggle of some sort with 0 C markings on it. Some fool has set it to 37. So after changing the settings to beyond 50 (yes, I like really hot showers; the type that turn my fingers into pink raisins) and letting another gallon of water flow out, it starts turning really hot. hurrah, step # 1, identify hot and cold taps accomplished. Next, the shower. My glitzy bathroom comes with a head shower and an hand shower. I figured the toggle on the top of the tap system controls if the water comes out of the tap or the showers. In this case, if you fiddled with it just right the water came out of the hand shower only. I should have, in hindsight, checked the direction that the hand shower was pointing at because at this point of my investigation I had managed to turn the toggle while the water slapped me in the face and landed in big drops on the bathroom floor. You must be wondering how in the presence of a curtain was it possible to flood the bathroom? Well, that's what happens when it's a fancy glass shower wall that only extends half way across the tub like an apostrophe. After turning off Niagara falls I was left with a wet towel and bathroom. Hrrumph.

So on Day 1 I just managed with the hand shower. On Day 2 I aimed to used the overhead shower only to discover that while it was on, the bath tap continued to run and, since I was still overwrought about all the water I had wasted on Day 1 I quickly abandoned this plan and resorted to the hand shower. Although by this time I had figured out that in order to prevent the bathroom from flooding due to the half screen, which is a lame excuse for a shower curtain, I had to stand with my back against the wall with the hand shower hitting me hard. Somehow I had trapped myself in my own bathroom. Today, on Day 3, I finally located the head shower knob which operated quite independently of the rest of the taps and toggles. Go figure! I am sleeping well tonight, safe in the knowledge that I will be clean and the bathroom floor dry after tomorrow's shower. Another accomplishment for my massive intellect.

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