On a trip deep into the gorgeous Cascade Mountains, it’s me versus technology.
The fancy shower with the weird controls isn’t cooperating. I twist the bottom handle clockwise, then counter clockwise. I try again with the upper handle. Maybe it’s this other thingy? Water continues to pour out of the tub faucet. The shower head remains dry.
I am standing naked in a deep jetted hot tub as I fiddle with the annoying knobs. This tub is in my hotel room. Also in this room are a fireplace, the biggest bottle of San Pellegrino I have ever seen, and an artisanal mushroom pizza. What exactly makes it artisanal is unclear; room service menus are maddeningly vague. Across the room from the tub are floor to ceiling windows. The picturesque view features mountains, a river, and a cliff …over which endless gallons of water effortlessly fall hundreds of feet, mocking the dysfunctional shower. It’s a mountain paradise.
For the price I am paying for this paradise, you would think the fucking shower worked.
Because this is how I will forever think of it now: not the shower, but that fucking shower. I step back, take a breath. Swearing at inanimate objects rarely changes their behavior.
Perhaps what I actually need at this moment is pizza with a side of perspective. I step outside to the terrace with a slice and decide it tastes appropriately artisanal. The sun has disappeared behind the mountains, taking the view with it. It occurs to me that there is probably someone I can call to perform whatever secret handshake the shower requires. Why should it be my problem? Fancy resorts always have people on hand with specialized jobs you didn’t realize were a thing until you needed one. A bath butler or a spa sommelier, they are probably called. I check, and sure enough: they do.
How does one end up as this alleged bath butler? Can just anyone off the street get this job? Is a certification required? A license? Do they report to the Director of Frivolous Bathing? So many questions.
Fortified with pizza and perspective, options come into focus that do not involve a hammer. I decide against having the bathing department work their shower magic. Mainly because I am no longer actively angry at it. How silly would that be? It’s one thing to be annoyed at malfunctioning plumbing; it’s a whole other level to hold a grudge against it.
Besides, taking a shower now would be admitting defeat. If it could speak — and for all I know it can — it would say, Ha! Look at all the hurdles I made you jump through so you could enjoy me! And you did it! Sucker. I WIN.
Oh hell no. You are not the boss of me, shower!
In a clever display of passive aggression against an inanimate appliance, I shun the shower in favor of a hot bath. As the tub fills, I switch on the jets full blast, slip into the hot frothy water with a glass of bubbly, and toast the impotent shower head as it glares at me from above.
I think we can all see the life lesson here: when even the simplest of plans goes off the rails, stay open to other — possibly better — options.
And never ever let the appliances win.
Words & images © 2017 Kristian Gallagher