one of the many great gifts I've received from cycling is my increased gratitude for and love of showers.
when I was spinning away at class this morning, waiting for thoughts to drift into my head about potential writing subjects, the last thing in the world I thought I might write about was the pleasure of a shower. well, perhaps not the last thing in the world, but so far away from target range as to be nonexistent.
I have this issue with showering, in general, being that they mean A Lot Of Work. I know plenty men who just hop in and shampoo and soap up, rinse off, and hop out. towel off, and they're done. perhaps there are women who have similar routines. mine, however, entails about 42 steps. or at least it seems that way:
let warm-to-hot water flow over body, shiver, relax, let water pour over hair.
place washcloth over shoulder, let rest.
grab favorite bar of verbena soap, bring to nostrils and inhale, ah, bliss.
soap up chest, neck, underarms, you know, all those spots.
take razor and shave underarms.
use washcloth to gently wipe face, then wash spots that need it, return to shoulder.
make sure hair is completely rinsed.
squeeze out a small amount of body wash, grab razor, place on foot up on far wall of shower.
lather up body wash over lower leg, then shave.
rinse conditioner out of hair.
repeat body wash ritual with other leg, shave.
let warmish-hot water stream over entire body for as long as I think I can get away with it.
reluctantly turn water off, then use washcloth to squeegee water off entire body.
open curtain and pick towel up from heated floor where it has been warming up for me.
wrap myself in towel and shiver as my body readjusts to life in dry, cool air.
and that is just the beginning.
for now comes two lotions for face, with time in between for them to soak in. lotion over entire body because my skin is so terribly dry. antiperspirant. towel-dry hair, comb it out. apply hair product. get dressed. dry hair---which takes a good 10 minutes or so, and that's if I'm being impatient, which I always am. use straightener on hair. apply more face stuff, then put makeup on. which takes me about 45 seconds because I'm too uninterested in spending more time with that.
and that is what I go through every time I shower.
the surprising thing is that I like showers at all, isn't it?
but I do: the warmth, the privacy, the water, my own little sanctuary. after a sweaty ride or class, the cleansing. after a cold ride, the de-thawing. the letting go of stress or tension, rolling my neck from side to side. the letting go of all that has clung to me since the last shower, the chance to start anew, to be fresh and ready to tackle the world once more.