The sleazy midwest motel. The African safe house. Or the Idaho “cabin.” Replacing my bathroom shower head this weekend got me thinking about which venue could claim the title of MY WORST SHOWER EVER…
Here in our comfy house in a safe, normal neighborhood it’s tempting to over emphasize the need to improve our surroundings with this house. This shower head is a perfect example. See, I could exaggerate a bit and tell you that the old shower head provided the WORST SHOWER I’VE EVER HAD. But that wouldn’t be true. I’ve had worse. Much. Worse.
The worst shower I’ve ever had is a toss up between these three finalists:
The Kickapoo Motel
The Kickapoo Motel in Shawnee on my first day of school at OBU. It’s the kind of place that tripadvisor doesn’t bother listing because you can’t even get a room for the whole night. They only rent by the hour. The main problem with this shower experience was the green fungus growing in the tub. And the busted bathroom window that had been boarded up with a Coca-Cola 12 pack cardboard box that had since decomposed due to moisture. That two-foot square hole in the wall was letting in all kinds of wind.
It’s really hard to shave your delicate chin whiskers when you have goose bumps. And when hookers are looking in your window while you shower. Shrinkage. Ever after, I’ve referred to Kickapoo Motel as the Punt-a-Turd Motel. Upside? There was hot water. Which leads me to…
The Harare Safe House
The Harare safe house where I got holed up during the Zimbabwe fuel riots of 1998. An 18 inch thick rock wall topped by glass shards and razor wire give the place a pleasant curb appeal compared to the shower. The coed shower / urinal / toilet was a concrete slab that slopped toward a drainage trough running along the wall. While the convenience of a “one stop shop for all your hygiene needs” was a plus, the lack of privacy and the constant need to dodge the “solids” on the floor made showering a challenge. And you can forget about hot water. But sometimes there was electricity. Which leads me to…
The Idaho “Cabin”
The Idaho cabin “shower.” In my teens, my family owned a “cabin” in the Idaho panhandle about 30 miles from the Canadian boarder and about 5 miles from the nearest maintained road in a patch of lush evergreen forest. How secluded was it? Our neighbors where a camp of ex-military isolationists who loved to run “domestic anarchy drills” with live ammo at night. True story. Were they hoping to survive impending anarchy or create it? I never really asked.
It was at this “cabin” that I learned important lessons like: how to construct my own solar shower using black plastic trash bags and PVC pipe. Another true story. A gasoline powered pump surfaced water through a garden hose at 33.5 degrees F – that’s a degree and a half above freezing. Without electricity or bathroom facilities, showering involved carrying a bucket of freshly pumped water into a private corner of the woods, ladling the smallest amount of water possible over your head to lather shampoo while teetering atop a tree stump to keep your feet from getting muddy. That far north, summer highs topped out at about 60, so wind chill was always a problem. And with your hands going numb, it’s always hard to tell if you’re actually working up a soapy lather, or just grinding the dirt further into your scalp. I didn’t even try to shave that month (see #1). My homemade solar shower raised the water temp by 5 degrees. But still. That’s what I call northern exposure. Talk about shrinkage.
Needs & Wants
The moral of the story is, to be grateful and content with what God has given me right now, I have to remember what I need and how that is different than what I want. Sure, this new shower head is great. But all you really need for a shower is a plastic cup. And maybe a tree stump to keep the mud off your feet.
Who knows? With an attitude like that, you might keep yourself from wanting more. You may even find yourself wanting less. Gratitude can be it’s own reward.
Just the same. I do like my new shower head. And by thinking back to my three worst showers ever, I’m grateful for it, too.
Kickapoo Motel, African Safe House, or Northern Exposure. If you had to choose one of those showers, which one would you pick?