Now that I’m finally finished with commemorating birthdays, weddings, and Daylight Savings Time, I can get to something really important, something that’s truly close to my heart (and other parts of my body for that matter), and that something is my bathtub.
My current bathtub is one of those old galvanized steel numbers they no longer even make. When I started thinking about writing about it, for some reason, Old Glory came to mind. Now, I know that Old Glory is what we call our flag and I’m as proud to be an American as anyone, but, with the American flag, you are expected to stand up. With my bathtub, I get to sit down or even recline when I take the notion.
I’ve always been a bath person. I still have memories of our bathtub in Savannah when I was a little girl, the one I was sitting in when my brother and his friend jumped out of a closet and scared me, and made me so mad I still remember it, even though he would tell you we lived in Waycross when he and his friend jumped out of a closet while I was in the tub. All I know is that it happened somewhere and I was sitting in a bathtub and I still haven’t forgiven the pervert.
Not that the bad experience turned me off of bathtubs, apparently. I told friends just recently that I’ve had very few showers in my life. They said they could tell by the smell of me. Seriously, showers have been so few and far between that I remember most of them. My most documented showers were in college. There were no bathtubs at Center Myers Dorm at the University of Georgia where I lived for two years. The showers were in stalls, kind of like toilet stalls, but with two sections, one for your towel and other showering accouterments and one for the shower itself.
I also remember a couple of cruises my mother dragged me on where each minuscule bathroom had a tiny shower and no bathtub. The good memories of cruising the beautiful Mediterranean were overshadowed, I'm afraid, by having to stand up to get clean.
And the pain never seems to end. When I visited my friend Linda on Hilton Head last weekend, I was horrified to see that her garden tub was non-functioning and it looked like a shower would be necessary. Since I was already commandeering her bed while she slept on the couch, it seemed to be a bit pushy to ask her to get a handyman in to fix the tub before bedtime.
The reason I don’t like showers is that I can’t get the temperature right and some part of me is always cold. Then there’s the standing up part. I don’t think I’m particularly lazy but I can't understand why anyone would bathe vertically when she could sit or lie down.
I do worry some about wasting water but, so far, I haven’t done anything about it. I have considered throwing my bath water out of my sun room window to hydrate the grass and bushes below but can’t figure out how to get it from the tub to the front of my condo, and I also wonder about the heart attack my friend Susan, who lives below me, would have with several gallons of dirty bathwater pouring past her window. She still hasn’t gotten over the time I threw Molly's clean laundry out of the window so we wouldn’t have to carry it down two flights of steps, which makes me remember that I don’t wash my own clothes all that often, a habit that's probably helping with that carbon footprint thing.
People tell me they won’t take a bath in a hotel because of germs or waterborne infections. You’ve got to be kidding me! Hotel baths are the best with their usually unlimited hot water that’s already been paid for with my astronomical bill and their cute little bottles of shampoo and body wash. Besides, according to those shows I watch on the Discovery Channel, after sitting on the hotel bedspread and picking up the remote control, we are already infected (and infested) with much ickier things.
In the past, I’ve decided against buying homes based on bathtubs. The back angle of the tub is of prime importance. There needs to be a slope so I can recline comfortably and submerge myself for hair-washing purposes. When I go to an open house, even for a place I have no interest in purchasing, I’ll do a surreptitious arm swoop on the back of the tub to ascertain if I could or could not live there. Whereas other people want granite counter-tops in their kitchen or a pool in their backyard, I want an obtuse angle in my bathtub.
Which leads me back to my current bathtub, the best bathtub in the whole world. The paint is peeling; the grout is bad; and guess what, the angle is wrong in its uprightness. There is no slope. What makes it the best bathtub in the world is based on two things. First, it’s five feet long. I know because I just measured it with my yardstick, this time doing real research, not just a Google search. The length of the tub allows me to wallow in the water from head to toe with just a minor bend of my neck. Second, we get our hot water from a big old boiler down in the basement, so it very rarely runs out. By the way, that’s the same boiler, according to rumors, that Margaret Mitchell’s husband used to burn the original manuscript of Gone with the Wind in his grief after her untimely death.
People also say baths aren’t very good for cleanliness and, when you take a bath, you are just sitting in your own dirt. I agree and would add that, in my case, I’m not only sitting in my own dirt but also in the dirt of all the people who took baths during the 93 years my bathtub has been in service. Just think of the historical aspect of all that dirt, especially my dirt, with little bits of Rhett Butler thrown in.
Just now, I was thinking and laughing about the fact that, if Rhett Butler showed up in my bathwater, the only person who'd be more undone than I would be poor Rhett, himself, as he got a gander at my sixty-year-old bathwater-shriveled nakedness. Now that would be something to write about. There might even be a movie in it.