Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Bath or Shower?

When I was still earning an honest living, grinding my stamina into powder as a teacher, I often retreated into a hot bath for a half hour in the evening. Sometimes I would read; sometimes I would just soak my cares in a state of mindless stupefaction. The bath was a place for a mini-vacation, a half-hour when I couldn't prepare any lessons, mark any papers, or be at anyone's beck and call.

I haven't always been a bath person and, indeed, cannot truly describe myself as one now. In fact, I shower much more frequently than I bathe. Given a choice of having just one or the other option, I would chose a bath-less shower stall over a shower-less bathtub. However, there was a time in my life when I had no choice. Actually, I recall two such intervals.

When I was in my mid-teens, we made a big move from the city to a more rural setting. This rural setting was actually on the encroaching fringe of a big city, to the point where I never thought of myself as rural. I always identified myself more with the city than the country. However, we did live in a sort of cottage that had no shower, and, so, I bathed — in about three inches of water, for the water pressure from the gimpy, old well could scarcely be likened to Niagara.

Much later: our second house as adults, when the children were young, was an old double-story dwelling. It had three bathrooms. The only one equipped with a shower was in the basement. Of course, I sometimes chose to use it, but, with the bedrooms on the second floor, I opted to bathe much more than shower.

As I describe this, I feel a bit like an ancient relic, for I don't imagine that many people who happen by Raindrops on their daily blogospheric migrations could even conceive of living in a shower-less domicile. The notion seems antiquated, even to me as I recall the facts now.

I suppose my story is a bit of a fluke. Blind chance twice took me to houses without showers, or at least without easily accessible showers. Prior and subsequent to both of those intervals, I had lived with and generally used the shower as a matter of preference — despite the fact that, in my experience at least, every house also comes equipped with a bathtub.

At any rate, at some point I began to appreciate the luxury with which many people never become accustomed: a long, hot bath. Ever since those periods, even when I have had access to a shower, I have sometimes preferred to draw a bath and escape from the battles of life for a spell. That's what baths do — enable you, even force you, to slow yourself almost to the stopping point where there is no other option but to relax. Showers, on the other hand, exist partly for speed and partly for their invigorating effects, which well-suits them to the frantically-paced, modern lifestyle.

Don't get me wrong! I enjoy an invigorating shower very much. I shower far more frequently than I bathe. Lately, however, I have once again found myself reverting with greater and greater regularity to the delights of long, hot soak. Today, for example, in the middle of the afternoon, if you please, I took to my bath with three books and enjoyed my mini-retreat immensely.

If you are a dyed-in-the-wool, devotee of the shower, you might like to try the therapy of a long, hot soak every now and then. Grab a good book or two, a refreshing beverage if you are so inclined, and escape the hustle and bustle for a time.



swamp4me said...

I, too, am a great fan of the long, hot soak. It may very well be how I survived my five years as a classroom teacher (nothing compared to your 30!). My husband made me a custom-built tray that rested across the tub. It served not only to hold my book as I read, but also kept the book from falling into the water if I fell asleep.
I still enjoy a hot soak but I find that now I seek it out more for the physical than the mental relaxation. It is amazing how much less stress I feel now, working outside, than when I taught.

Anonymous said...

I like a shower. Good thing, too, as that's all I have in my tiny house. There's no room for a bathtub. Sometimes, though, I really miss being able to pamper myself and have a long soak in a bathtub!

Dale said...

Baths, Anvilcloud. Definately. Of course, these days I must sit, like the invalid I am, in a shower chair and spritz myself with the shower wand. But once upon a time, I actually prefered the soothing relaxation of a hot bath. Scented candles. Lots of bubbles.

Ahhhhhh. Blub - blub - blub ...

portuguesa nova said...

When we were apartment hunting we specifically came to see the very apartment we live in now because it said "three quarter bathroom". I know half bath, but three quarter? We had to see what it meant. It meant one bathroom with a shower but no tub. We fell in love with the rest of the apartment, but I can't tell you much I desperately miss having a tub....and we recently signed a new lease. One more tub free year. :(