When I showered as a kid, my brother would sneak into the bathroom and flush the toilet just to scald me. I don't know if the toilet-shower-water-temperature vortex is an East Coast phenomenon or something that just happened at my mom's house, but I do know that when he showered, I always got him back.
I'll never forget the sound...
Flush! Frantic feet squeaking on the other side of the curtain. You can almost hear the realization of doom. Desperate grasping for the faucet. Will he reach the hot before all the cold vanishes? The hairs on the back of my neck stand on end. C'mon. C'mon. Then screams. Success! Then me laughing hysterically, followed by Mom yelling at us to stop fighting.
She called it fighting. We called it Burn Patrol. Good times.
These days, showering is less exciting. I get in, I get clean, I get out-kinda like rehab. And even though it might be a residual childhood fear that accelerated my biological rinse cycle, I still manage to find temporary escape by closing my eyes and letting the hot water run across my face.
A couple weeks ago, I'm enjoying my 30-second hot-water meditation when my wife comes into the bathroom to hang up her towel. "You shouldn't do that, you know," she says.
The last time a woman caught me doing something I wasn't supposed to be doing in the shower was at my mom's house in the early 80s, but that's a story for another time. The point here is that I was caught showering incorrectly, not in a way that might make me blind.
"You should wash your face with cold water," my wife says. "Hot water gives you wrinkles." I'd argue, but what would be the point? Her skin is better than mine by a long shot, so what do I know?
"I don't care if I get wrinkles," I say.
"I see that, porquinho," she says. I knew I never should have taught her English. What's worse, I speak some Portuguese now, so I know she's calling me a "little pig," because she thinks I should have showered last night.
"To be clear," I say with the right amount of sarcasm, "I not only shower wrong but also at the wrong times?" In lieu of a response, she finishes hanging her towel, flushes the toilet and walks out without closing the door.
Our house has more modern plumbing than Mom's did, so I don't get scalded, but my heart jumps, and in the instant of that flashback to terror, I am a kid again. I can almost hear my brother giggling on the other side of the room.
This morning in the shower, I washed my face with cold water for the first time. And to be fair, because my wife was getting in right after me and I wanted to help her prevent wrinkles, I used all the hot water.
Whether you leap in the deep with your peeps, or prefer to stay cool in a pool in Jamul, there's somewhere in San Diego you can enjoy getting wet. This Water Issue of PacificSD splashes through a bunch of them. Mom says to wait 45 minutes before jumping in.