.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}


the colours in your head



I've always had a dread of taking showers.

It's not the shower itself that I'm worried about. I'm a clean person, and I actually find showering to be quite a pleasant experience. You're all warm and lovely, and then you get to be all clean... former roommates of mine can attest to the fact that I take the longest showers on earth, once topping out at a remarkable 50 minutes. A horrible waste of water, I know, but I try to compensate for that by turning it off while doing non-running-water-necessary things. My actual distate for showering comes from the process of leading up to the shower.

I mainly* grew up in a beautiful old fortified villa from the 15th century nestled in the hills above Turin. Above my house were ancient woods where I twice had the dubious fortune of coming across wild boar (lovely to see in their native element, but vaguely terrifying to encounter because I was very small and all on my own.) The city was a ten minute ride by Vespa, and on a clear day, you could see the Alps from my garden. Unfortunately, all this glory did not directly translate to comfort.

In my bathroom, the door was liable to fall off on you while you were dodging around, trying to intercept the three feeble streams of water from the showerhead. Occasionally, if I hadn't been home for long enough, the water was yellow, from rust in the pipes. My mother's bathroom boasted a single lukewarm trickle, and while her shower door was firmly in place, the architect clearly hadn't factored in that people might want... light in bathrooms. Factor in spiders and millipedes abruptly emerging from the drains, and you can understand why she and I both approach cleanliness with the grimness of preparing for a military expedition. My little brother also loathes showering, but he is 11, and thus comes naturally equipped with a layer of grime.

In addition, the heating was on an ancient boiler system, and my stepfather was in the habit of setting it to only be on during the hours he was at home and awake; that is-- 6 am to 10 am (occasionally 11, if he was feeling generous, or if my mother or I had thrown a tantrum over turning into human popsicles) and then again from 6 pm to 11 pm. Between these times? Nothing. I used to dread visitors, for the sheer fact of having to explain to them that no, they couldn't shower now. There was no hot water. You have to wait until after dinner. I don't CARE if we're doing something after dinner. It's your only chance!

The lack of heat also multiplied my issues with the cold, as my bedroom is located in the attic. (In a nice manner, not a garret-style manner) Unfortunately, the nice thick insulating walls that are a feature of old Italian architechture and keep the house warm in winter and cool in summer didn't encompass enough of my room to make up for the beastly cold drafts let in by the roof. Nor did my room have a fireplace, like all the other bedrooms in the house. I spent many of my childhood winters huddled under 2 down comforters, listening to the radiator make a series of menacing tapping noises while failing to actually convey any heat up to my room.

All in all, then, I think my fear of taking showers is fairly justified. It makes it all the more a pleasant experience to find that hot water can be consistent, even in Russia, and that nothing is likely to fall on you during the course of your cleansing. Unfortunately, though, I still can't shake that dreadful sense that instead of stepping into a shower I will have unwittingly blundered my way into some strange alternate dimension full of pain and discomfort.

But please, let me assure you again that I am quite a clean and lovely person, not smelly in the least, and that other than discomfort of the climatic and 8- or more-legged variety, my upbringing was rather blissful.

*I say mainly here because my father has had a succession of beautiful dwelling places of his own, over the course of his travels, all equipped with modern conveniences such as heat, air conditioning and working plumbing. Any trauma these places may have imparted onto me is apparently too slight to be recalled.


At 8:57 PM, August 14, 2006, Blogger kenju said...

I met some people today, whose surname was Turinsky. I fantasized that their ancestors were originally from Turin, and left there for Poland...LOL


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home