desperately seeking a soak

by bam

blkkkh, i can hear you saying, well, be grateful i didn’t give you a close-up. oh, i’ve got ‘em. look like detective shots, kind they show in the courtroom, documenting evidence. when the tub is a crime scene.
hmm. there’s an idea. i should have thought of it sooner, me and my crime-scene photography.
maybe i could haul ‘em to court. the ones who leave hairs in my tub. long hair. short hair. gunk from the soccer field too. even the cat leaves his hairs. praise the lord he doesn’t leave fleas. (apparently, he’s been leaving those elsewhere, but that is a whole ‘nother story.)
woe is me is the point here. with a modest question to pose: is it too much to ask, at the end of a very long day, to trudge up the stairs, yank back the shower curtain, and yearn to climb in for a soak, when, dang, there in the tub it looks as if we’re collecting for one of those outfits that sends hair off to the hairless? a charitable endeavor, indeed. but need we collect in the one single tub in this house?
see, that there is the problem. it’s a mathematical one. i live in house with three boys–four, if you count the cat, and since he sits in the tub whenever he can i think it’s legit to count him. i grew up with four brothers.
long as i can remember, i’ve been out-tubbed.
only one of us around here finds any pleasure–supreme pleasure, really–in sitting in hot smelly water. oh, the water can smell of whatever’s on hand. lavender. lavender & acacia. sweet orange essential oils and sea salt, according to the inventory on hand at the moment. but, hey, i’m not above calgon.
the point is i like my smelly waters to smell, well, nice. like i’m floating in some persian garden, perhaps. or adrift in the adriatic. certainly not lake michigan, the nearest large body of water. the one that last i checked had a certain perfume of eau de ailwives, those shiny dead fish that wash up to the beach, make it a harsh place for a stroll. more like walking a slippery graveyard.
but back over here to the tub. i know i am at risk in this matter. could come off like some sodden spoiled brat. here i am, for cryin’ out loud, on the swank northern shore of chicago. i live in a house with more bedrooms than people. but in the bathroom department we are, um, lacking. and not just by neighborhood standards.
see, we didn’t think that we cared. all we wanted when we moved in this house was to get rid of the godawful brown faux walnutty cabinets. and the tile in all shades of brown. with light fixtures that redefined you’ve-got-to-be-kidding.
despite the fact that it took months to accomplish (meaning for a whole long spring and a summer, all four of us shared a very small room with only a sink and a shower), we basically did very little. swapped out the vanity. put in tiles i’ve seen yanked out all over town (apparently our taste is rather outdated, er, oh-so-last-century). against the builder’s advice, left the tub as it was. with a shower pounding down in it. which is where all the hairs and the gunk come to swirl. and then lay, dying, dehydrating, becoming caked-on and requiring a blade for removal.
which, if you put your brain cells together, means that in this house one does not leisurely strip off one’s clothes and tiptoe into the tubby-tub-tub.
nope, one–that would be me but i’m attempting to not make this personal–stomps down to the basement, grabs a sponge and industrial cleaner. one then scrubs and scours, collects hair and assorted detritus in a waterproof hazardous waste sack, carries by the tip of thumb and forefinger joined in an O (as if what’s in there could come out and bite), at the end of a very long arm, and marches it out to the alley.
one then returns and rinses, so as not to suffer industrial-strength lesions all over one’s bare naked skin.
then, and only then, does one get down to the business of taking a bath.
it is all rather exhausting. and by the time my poor aching bones have done all that scrubbing and hauling. by the time my lips have muttered every bad word i can think of, well, sometimes i am no longer so keen for a bath.
so i leave. haul off to bed. unsoaked. unsoothed. unwrinkled.
that’s it. that’s the beauty of baths as i know them. i am spared from the after-bath wrinkles. since i don’t get to soak, not so long anyways, i don’t go to bed with fingers that look like shriveled-up raisins, that odd little thing that skin does when it’s ready to exit the tub.
isn’t that kind of the boys i share my tub with? they and their hairs and their soccer-field-bike-trail-baseball-diamond-kickball gunk are saving my skin from the ravages of too long a soak.
all i ask is one before i succumb.
a girl at the end of a very long day just needs to drown all of her worries, her headaches, her leg pains in a tub that’s exploding in suds.
maybe i should go buy me a bucket, a very big bucket indeed, one i could jam myself into, and soak till the raisins appear. maybe the boys will service my make-believe tub, run back and forth with pitchers of hot steamy water, next best thing to a faucet.
you can see that i’m suffering, lacking from lack of a good honest soak. i’ve presented my case, even shown photos, and the verdict i’m sorry is in: the girl is desperately long overdue for the oldest relaxant known to civilization. the girl needs to find her a river for bathing. even a barrel will do.
case dismissed. throw her a washcloth.

the world, once again, is divided: there are bathers, and there are those who only take showers. a shower, for me, is for when i’m in some sort of a hurry. i am, decidedly, longingly, a bath girl. how does the bath line up in your constellation of watery pursuits? what accoutrements do you haul to the tub? do you soak long? do you soak hot? do you share the tub with a phalanx of folk who lose their hairs in the shower. leave them behind for you to clean up? anyone know the name of a fine public bath house? and finally, so i can vicariously savor the pleasures of bathing, what is your perfect equation for the bathtub equivalent of prozac?