The Cold Shower

The other week I was at a hotel somewhere in the US. I had clearly chosen a poor time for my morning shower as I heard water flowing in the pipes in the walls of my room. This poor choice was accentuated when I turned on the water in the shower and only a strong, gushing, tepid stream came out. You know, the type that is just marginally colder than body temperature, the type that you wish for just a single degree warmer to make it bearable. I tried forcing the handle, turning it the other way, using harsh language on it, everything, the temperature did not change.

Side note: I cannot understand why the US has the taps (faucets) that do not allow the volume of water to be controlled. It is off, or on, and only the temperature can be adjusted. I can only think that it is a litigation thing – you must turn the control from cold to hot so that it is virtually impossible to scold oneself by having only the hot water on. Whatever the case, it is infantile, in my opinion. Like the warnings about the contents of coffee being hot. That’s like saying that when showering one could get wet.

Anyway, I waited for a long, long time, hoping stupidly that the temperature might increase. The gushing of water in the pipes (which I was acutely aware of) had already alerted me to the fact that this was not a problem with pipes between the furnace and jet of water emitting from wall in my bathroom needing to be heated up, this was a problem of there being no hot water in the hotel at all to heat up any pipes. It was also pointless phoning the front desk as I was sure they were not going to run outside and stoke fires on the incoming lines to sort the problem out – this was a problem that required more time to solve than I had available.

So, gritting my teeth, I stuck my arm in. Imagine someone trying to catch a venomous snake just below the head when it isn’t looking and half way in realising that the snake is turning his head. That quick – in, out. Lather up. To rinse off, more like the action of the drive rods on a steam engine, in-out-in-out in a blur.

This continued until I was approaching hypothermia. But my body was clean. (Ever notice how cold soap smells on the body?)

As I tried to turn the tap off, I got blasted by a jet of super-heated steam. It seems that there was some super-complicated sequence to get the hot water to come out, that I had not been educated in. Next time I will know better and do as most Americans would – phone the front desk and threaten to sue.

Leave a Reply