I took a shower!!!
Confetti-cannons fire. Balloons drop from the ceiling. Strobe lights flash and sirens scream. The crowd erupts in cheers and applause.
Nephew: I shower twice a day. In the morning and after I work out.
Me: You Americans shower too often.
I used to be an American. I started each day with a shower and a shave. Sometimes I’d shower again after chores or gardening or a fix-it project. And always after my run. Climb into bed with sticky, sweaty or dirty skin? Never.
Then came shutdown. Remember the pandemic? I saw the movie Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery yesterday. In one of the opening scenes, people gather wearing masks. Three years ago, that sentence would evoke images of a costume party. Now we all know I’m talking about surgical masks. I could even pinpoint at what point during the pandemic the action took place because the masks were decorative sewn cloth masks from that period when manufactured paper masks were still reserved for medical personnel.
Aside (and a super mild spoiler): Glass Onion was fun and worth watching, but certainly flawed. Also, in the sub-sub-sub-plot, the character who strikes me as most on-the-ball in the movie prostitutes themselves for personal gain. It left me feeling cringey.
(Shutdown) Like everyone else, I stopped showering. When you never leave the clean confines of your home, what do you need to wash off? I began to skip a day. Because my hair is short and my skin is dry, it’s hard to tell if I’ve had a shower. The giveaway is my beard. I only shave after a shower. A two-day growth means no shower today. When the world reopened after shutdown, I continued my every other day shower schedule. I worried that my boss would comment on my scruff. She never did. She’s a true librarian. She doesn’t censor, and she doesn’t correct. Or maybe she just never noticed. Or doesn’t care.
Sometimes I skip a second day too.
Person: I read your blog. I know you exercise every day. Don’t you need to shower after that?
Me: I don’t get body odor.
Conversation at last night’s New Year’s Day dinner with my father-in-law:
Eli: I haven’t showered this year.
Sophie: Me neither.
Me: Same. In fact, I haven’t showered in days.
How many days?
Oh, for God’s sake. Really?
Said by me six times on New Year’s Day:
Man, I really need a shower.
But I never took one. I began to wonder about my motivation… lack of motivation. The only two reasons I could come up with were laziness or depression. I don’t think I’m depressed.
When I woke today, the itching caused by my five-day stubble drove me to distraction. It drove me, finally, into the shower. I soaped and shampooed twice. Afterwards, I carefully shaved my thriving beard with a new razor blade found in my Christmas stocking. I finished off my primping with a nose strip—an adhesive strip of cloth made to adhere over a wet nose. When it fully dried, I ripped it off like a band-aid. With it came the contents of each of my nose pores. I took off my glasses and examined the strip close-up, shocked by the result. It resembled a tiny forest with dozens of vertical oil clumps posing as trees.
I’m treating today, January 2, as my New Year’s Day. I feel renewed, ready to face the world.
May your new year be filled with peace, joy and unending cleanliness.