I hate cold showers. Showers are supposed to be warm, relaxing, and beneficial to my mental health. A cold shower is just torturous and not enjoyable in the least. When I was in Bolivia for 3 weeks, they only had cold water. And of course I did it and didn’t complain, but I will not lie, the first thing I did when I got back home was to jump into my own hot shower; it was the only thing I missed from America. Not the food, not the convenience, not the people, no, nothing but the hot showers.


Yesterday, the unthinkable happened! The hot water stopped working for no discernible reason. I mean, they were doing work on installing solar panels to heat water, but they did not intend to break the water and could not figure out how to fix it. Meanwhile, Emily is all ready to take her shower; she undresses, puts on a towel, gleefully skips over to the bathroom, eagerly anticipating her morning shower, and turns on the water. She waits patiently, cramming herself into the corner of the shower stall so as not to be touched by a single drop of cold water, and waits. And waits…. And waits… But the water doesn’t get any warmer. It stubbornly remains ridiculously frigid ice water! Frustrated, Emily leaves the shower only to confirm her suspicions with another Grebelite (person who lives at Grebel, the place where I live). She thinks to herself, “Oh well. I’ll just take one later tonight. Going a day without showering won’t be that bad….” WRONG.

After lounging around in her pajamas for a while, naively hoping that maybe the hot water will come back soon and she can still have a morning shower, Emily finally decides to put on real people clothing, no matter how comfy her pajama pants are. She sniffs herself, decides that she doesn’t smell too offensively, and layers on some extra citrus smelly good spray to mask the smell, just in case.

All day she is extremely paranoid, thinking that maybe someone will decide her hair looks disgustingly greasy, or that  she’ll raise her hand in class and knock the person beside her unconscious. However, this apparently doesn’t stop her from mentioning the fact that she didn’t have a shower to every person she talks to. I’m not exaggerating. Somehow, for some inexplicable reason, she works into every conversation that sheis unclean to anyone who will listen. By the end of the day, half the people at Grebel probably knew of the unclean swamp monster that was Emily.

Of course, she isn’t really that dirty. She hasn’t sweated profusely because the most strenuous exercise she does on a daily basis is walk up 2 flights of stairs. She hasn’t wallowed in some mud hole on the way to class. She hasn’t been hanging out on a farm with massive amounts of feces. But just the knowledge that she hasn’t showered in over 24 hours drives her insane, until she becomes extremely paranoid and curls up in a corner, yelling at everyone that tries to come near, telling them that she is “unclean.” Nobody questions her because she looks like a rabid beast, ready to bite off the hand of anyone that comes near.

Any hope that maybe she will still get a shower that day is crushed when she finds a note on the wall basically saying, “well, we have no freaking clue how to fix this, and we have lives, so we’re giving up for the day and we’ll be trying again tomorrow at 6:30 AM. Have fun kiddies!” All hopes dashed, Emily slinks off and quarantines herself in her room for the rest of the evening, forgoing all human contact.

Finally, it is time to go to bed. She can just fall asleep, pray that there would be hot water the next day, wake up the next morning, hop in the shower, and finally feel clean. And never ever make the faulty conclusion that skipping a shower would not be psychologically traumatizing again.

But her body has other plans. It decides to forget how to freaking sleep. As soon as she lays down to go to sleep at the decently late hour of midnight, she is filled with a horrific realization: she isn’t tired. Toss and turn as she might, listening to the chillest music available to man, she can not drift off. She silently screams into her pillow, desperate for this torturous day of filth to be over.

Finally, her body decides that sleep would be beneficial. She slowly nods off. But no, her body isn’t done messing around with her poor weary mind. It decides that 6 in the morning is a perfectly reasonable time to wake up. Unfortunately, her brain doesn’t agree. Normally this wouldn’t be a problem; she could just wake up a little earlier and start her day. But not this day. Somehow, she convinces herself that if she gets out of bed before 8:45, there will be no hot water and she will be forced to suffer a painfully cold shower. No one should have to take a cold shower when there is snow outside. However, if she waits, the nice men would have time to fix the hot water and all will be well. So she waits. And waits. And waits. Staring up at the ceiling, half delusional, she has never ever wanted a shower more in her whole entire life. All she can think about is how grimy and gross she feels, and how amazing a hot, steamy shower will be. She starts fantasizing about the shower, building it up to monumental standards that it can never live up to in real life. But she doesn’t care. Ever part of her body yearns and aches for that shower, until it almost drives her mad.

After lying in bed for a tortuous 2 hours, her alarm finally rings. Emily almost falls out of bed with excitement, and rushes as fast as she can to the shower, ripping off her pajamas and madly grabbing the neared towel. The sign outside the bathroom confirms her hopes, and her heart leaps for joy. The hot water is back! Overjoyed, she does a mini yes dance in the hallway, and springs into the shower. As soon as the water cascades over her longing body, she breathes a sigh of relief. Everything is right in the world. Emily is clean once more. The psychological torture has ended.
Never. Again.

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