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standing in the shower, thinking
about what makes a man
an outlaw or a leader
I’m thinking about power
the ways a man could use it
or be destroyed by it
the water hits my neck
and I’m pissing on myself
in the shower

….Jane’s Addiction, from the album Nothing’s Shocking

Anne Lamott said in her book Traveling Mercies that while most people say God is in the details, she knew for herself that God was, in fact, in the bathroom. That’s where she would go to pray, when things had gotten too hard to handle. Even if you don’t believe in God, you’ve probably found yourself in the bathroom, having one of a variety of reactions to the undulations of being human and not always knowing what to do. The shower scenes in movies have just as much variety. The place where passion unfolds itself in steam, where we find the protagonist mulling over hasty decisions or regrets, where the broken come to get clean. It’s the place where we try, as much as we can in the physical, to wash clean the psychological scars of what’s happened to us, what we’ve done, who we’ve lost.

The bathroom is the one room of a household allowed to show its shame, the preparations we put ourselves through to face the world. On every shelf, in every cupboard, strung up on each towel rack, wadded up in balls in the wastebasket, are the testaments to our time, our place along the timeline of life. And often, it’s where we go to hide from the world, or even leave it sometimes, the last place loved ones might look for a body, or where we go simply to not think, to cope or deal, to be left alone where it is expected and respected that we can do so without anyone causing a fuss.

From childhood to adolescence on to adulthood, bathrooms and their use play a definitive role in how we are made up, composed. What goes on inside as we grow is carried with us throughout our lives. The smell of soap, or a certain kind of cream rinse, the grit of whatever cleansers mom would use. When I was a kid, my hair was so long and untamed that my mother would often have to hurl my head over in the sink and scrub out wads of gum or tangles. In the mirror, I would scrutinize my face, searching for whatever flaw burdened me from fitting in. In high school, I’d often be in the stall farthest from the door, crying quietly from one rejection or another, sifting through some composure so that when I came out, no one would be able to tell.

In the shower or the tub, we are like the way we were on the first day, wet and warm, turned to liquid despite ourselves, our skin going to sponge, loose on our bones. We are as clean as we are ever going to get, and most often it’s never clean enough, because the world is out there, waiting for us.

I always wanted to be a dancer, but I could never get the shit off my shoes.
….quote from Crazy Paul as stated from Henry Rollins, from his spoken word CD Human Butt.

And the time goes by so fast.

I spent a long time in the shower today. Long enough for the water to turn cold just as I was realizing that I hadn't really performed all of my usual shower tasks, or at least, the ones I had planned for today.

It started off as idle thought, enjoying the water infiltrating my wavy, unruly hair. It degenerated from there. I was standing in the shower, my hair not completely wet, almost crying, not sure how long I'd been there.

I no longer wanted to wash. I no longer wanted to be in the shower. I didn't even think about getting out, however, because the outside felt worse. I just wanted to sit down on the glazed surface of the tub and wait for somebody to find me there. Not just anybody, but somebody who'd understand the sudden shower induced nihilism that I seemed to have found. The shower was its own little world, with its sickly yellow light and cheap grey tile. I hated it, I loved it, I didn't care. I just didn't want to be there anymore, and I didn't want to be responsible for removing myself from it either.

I stood there, wet, mouth turned down, tears mixing with water. Brian Wilson is in my head, schizophrenic and afraid of the shower, hiding in his bed. It is no real comparison, but the thought jolts me back into reality. I don't want to admit I've slipped.

I did slip. I was a fucking loon in the shower, freaking out full scale. I sucked it up and washed my hair and face. I used my backbrush and scrubbed everywhere. As I was readying to shave my underarms, the water turned cold. My feet itched, they were red and swollen from standing so long. I quickly shaved and exited, and resumed pretending to feel normal.

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