shower scene
by ella.

you can tell that tomorrow's my first day on the job. i've spent the last forty-five minutes locked up in the bathroom, trying to steam-off almost three-weeks of laziness and sitting in front of the television eating peanut butter and uncooked ramen noodles while watching jerry springer re-runs. by the time i take this shower, i've seen the season 7, show 4 at least three times. you know, the one that features mothers that have slept with their sons' girlfriends just to prove that women are no good and that they should become gay like their daddies. know the one.

i've shaved my legs at least twice and my armpits three times for good measure. for repetition's sake, i spray a handful of gillette aloe foam onto my legs one last time and steady my foot on the soap holder, while simultaneously try to spread over the front of my knee the stuff that smells nothing like aloe, looks like coolwhip, and probably tastes just as bad. now here's the tricky part—the part where i grip the razor with my right hand and gracefully bend over to get my near-sighted face close enough to make sure i'm even really shaving, as opposed to merely scraping the gel off my legs. the pose i take is halfway between that of a ballerina and a demented flamingo. halfway through the shave, i notice that my bangs are bleeding again. it's been over two months since i first dyed it and still my hair is bleeding—right now—as i bend over my half shaven-for-the-third-time left leg. plilp, plilp. there are a few imperceptibly pale pink water droplets smearing the shaving foam along my calf. perfect, i mutter, tossing my little streamlined gilette into the inch of water that's been sitting in the tub, waiting for the backed-up drain to let it go elsewhere. i swish the water around as i wipe the rest of the shaving cream from my shin—a lot of good that did me. i notice a strange scummy layer of shaving foam, face wash and soap has started to collect at the bottom of the shower curtains. i kick it around some more. swish swish. i am fully aware that this won't get rid of any of the unwanted muck in the water. swish swish. this is just to confuse the stuff for a while, disorient it so it won't be able to congregate so easily. i simultaneously start to smirk and start to wonder why i started smirking. hrm....oh, i remember. it's because this is the most empowering thing i've done all day. this and yell at the television a bit.

now. you're probably wondering why i've wasted the last 45 minutes of my life and are continuing to do so by still mucking about in the shower.... well, when i go on vacation, i start lying about without any purpose or homework and an entire satellite dish of channels to fall in love with—four showtimes, six hbos, two mtvs, and enough home shopping networks to make you go slightly mad. i usually let hygiene slip a little, let the armpits get a little fuzzy, and totally forget about my legs. i keep telling myself that if i bathe once (extremely thoroughly) tonight, and once tomorrow morning, i may be able to look presentable when i walk into my boss's office. i have a weeks worth of gel in my hair and when i go to wash it out, even the water feels sticky. one more addition to the concoction swimming around my ankles. i notice the disturbing scum-like substance has shaken off my recent attack and is starting to reform and regroup. i kick it around again and stupidly rinse off my feet, only to plunge them straight back into the gunk.

it's right around my application of hemp moisturizing body wash that i bought from the body shop on my own employee discount when the water pressure starts to piddle out. i mutter at myself to put the pedal to the grindstone, or nose to the of those god awful clichés. i begin to scrub furiously with my washcloth, but not before noticing the horrible brown smear my body wash has made.

(1 squirt lovely green hemp body wash + 1 melon-colored washcloth bought on discount from ikea = 1 lovely brown body wash smear)

i shudder and quickly lather up the brown smear to oblivion. i triumphantly scrub scrub scrub at every tiny patch of dead skin cells i can think of. all the while, i humm victoriously the flight of the Valkyries and think of apocalypse now. caught up in the zeal of the moment, i successfully eradicate every dead skin cell and begin to work on not-so dad skin cells. critical condition skin cells. stable condition skin cells. perfectly healthy skin cells. newborn skin cells. i suddenly begin to realize that i've never been this red before and i'd better stop before the bubbles start to irritate my now raw raw skin.

it's then i notice the army of scumminess that has suddenly amassed on the surface of the rinse water...water level is now to my lower calf. once again, i am caught up in the entire apocalypse now mood. mayday mayday! i thrash around the tub self-righteously but to no avail. i start to shriek—marlon brando! dennis hopper! my mind is racing...oh no, what would martin sheen do! and just as i am about to be overcome by grief and angst and melodrama...

the hot water gives out.

“oh fucking hell!” i shriek, jumping out of the shower, high irritated. my crossness suddenly becomes mild surprise and then delight. no more scum army at my ankles, lower calf, whatever. i shut the water off smugly and spit on the scum to make a point.

showertime is over. crisis averted. time to go to work.

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