The Saskatoon Bathing Scenario
One of the things that I take for granted is the ability to enjoy a shower. When I travelled overseas a few years ago I soon discovered that bathing is quite different around the world.
Here is Australia, it’s relatively uncommon to find a single shower lever that twists left and right to alter the temperature and when I found these in Canada I was quite delighted at the elegant design. Here in Oz we still have a lot of the "turn on the hot tap, turn on the cold, balance as necessary" style units.
I was warned before I left the country that I need to wear thongs in the showers. Those dirty foreigners have all sorts of foot diseases scurrying around in the their cubicles. Thongs, of course, are non-enclosed rubber shoes, not the underwear.
So I got into the routine. Take off shoes, Put thongs on in nude. Step in shower, Pull Lever forward, Hit self with cold water, avoid touching floor at all costs.
And so it was that I arrived in the Saskatoon Bus Terminal at 5am on a cold cold Sunday morning. In the predawn there was no-one around in downtown Saskatoon but in order to create a vibe of fun and joy the Saskatoon City Council had decided that piping in ’Scary Clown Music’ might lighten peoples spirits.
Zombie films start this way.
So I checked into an extremely dodgy hotel as recommended by the Lonely planet guide to Canada. ( I later mentioned the name of this hotel to a local who replied "I thought that this hotel was one were people only paid by-the-hour." )
When I went to have my shower I discovered that they only had bathtubs.
So I’m going out of my way to avoid my feet touching the surface that other people stand on. A pair of thongs aren’t going to protect me in a bathtub. Either kind.
Luckily the Bus station that I arrived at has a complimentary shower for passengers with a ticket. I wandered back the four blocks with my soap and towel in tow and got my hands on the key. Here I was, standing in a concrete bunker, in the nude, but wearing thongs, in a cold cold Canadian Autumn, ready to finally have my first shower in three days,..
,.. And the Fucking Lever wouldn’t work.
I tugged and pulled and twisted that bastard as far as it would go. As my core temperature dropped, my anger rose. I tend to think of myself as a fairly calm and collected person but after fully ten minutes of wrestling with the lever in the most awful shower ever, with 12 hours of jet-lag under my belt, after sleeping above a noisy bar, in the nude, I finally lost it and lashed out at the shower knob.
It’s funny how a drenching of ice cold water can bring you to your senses. It didn’t take much longer for me to realise that you push the knob in to get a sluice of water. Of course it runs for only two minutes before you have to hit it again, but by that time, I was quite content to hit it as many times as it needed it.
posted at 7:17 am Wednesday July 12 2006