We have a serious water shortage in California due to a several year drought. Every now and again though, I get a craving for a long, hot shower. Our bathroom is the furthest point from our hot water heater so to help save water, we keep two five-gallon buckets in the shower. They catch all the cold water before the shower gets hot and then we use that water to either water the outdoor plants or dump into the swimming pool. To help even more, when the water turns hot, I like to dial the spray so that it’s more widespread, thin streamed. This way if I want to take a long shower, I use much less water.
I assume many people grew up with hot showers and so they therefore take them for granted. I was not one of these people so it’s hard for me not to consider myself very lucky when I step into that hot water stream. If I turn around with my back to the water, I see to my right a small window that provides a nice view of the neighborhood below. Directly ahead, I see my sink and usually my cat Bandit has her head bent down underneath the faucet, lapping up the slow stream of water that I provided for her.
While it may seem incongruous in this story, my jumping from my hot shower to watching my cat with her head bent below our faucet, still it is difficult for me not to smile as I consider my high school morning ‘shower’.
Like lots of high school teens, my hair was long. Also like a lot of teens, I needed to wash my hair on a daily basis or else it looked greasy. I hated greasy. But we didn’t have a shower. You know how it is, Reader. You were a teen once. Being a teen meant that you desperately needed to fit in at school. Anything that made you stick out would let you not fit in. And so, my head would get the poor man’s shower every single morning. Every single morning before school, I would make my way to our bathroom where I would then ‘pull a Bandit’.
Like my cat, I would bend down over the tub. Flipping on the faucet, I would soak my head and then turn off the water. Next came the shampoo. Many times we would be out of shampoo, (or the girls would hide it), and so on those days I would have to resort to common hand soap. If you ever have to wash your hair with hand soap, let me give you a tip. Apply it generously to a washcloth first and then rub the washcloth all over your hair – it’s easier.
The rinse; that’s the tricky part. Hand soap doesn’t rinse out so easily because it can get clumped into the hair and hidden from rinsing, especially if you’re a long haired hippy type like teenage me. This is why you apply it to the washcloth first, mainly so that it doesn’t clump. I’ve missed a couple of small clumps of soap before. It’s not fun. When you go to comb your hair after drying, the comb tends to make tiny bubbles when it meets the un-rinsed hair. You end up with a combination of a bad Lawrence Welk episode where Don Ho is the main guest. And then it’s back to pulling a Bandit again.
In the tenth grade I walked to and from school every day. I never used a hairdryer, I just didn’t want to lose the three extra minutes of sleep that a hairdryer would require. Winters can be downright cold in Ohio. Before the global warming, we used to have many days of subzero weather. It doesn’t take ‘subzero’ for your hair to freeze, all it takes is ‘sub 32 degrees F’ (and before the global warming, every day in the Winter was below 32F).
Yes, my hair would freeze up in the winter time. It never really bothered me though because it quickly thawed after walking in through one of the main doors at school, (that is, if the heaters were working). On one day in particular, as soon as I walked out my back door, a huge burst of air hit me directly in the face. It was below zero that day, bitter cold even without wind, but when the wind was a factor, it felt Arctic. I didn’t have a hat and besides, hats weren’t cool. Winter hats became cool around my thirties, at the same time my IQ took a big boost upwards.
Even though we’re not that anxious to get to school when we’re kids, when it’s freezing cold outside and you’re a walker, you tend to set a lot of walking speed records. I kept my head down and occasionally would walk with my gloved hands over my ears, (hmm, maybe a hat would have helped). When I got to school that day, an older kid was walking out the same door I was walking in. “Nice hair” is what I heard. Hmm, that sounded like sarcasm. A kid’s hair is always important, always. I quickly ducked into the restroom so I could look into a mirror and here’s what I was confronted with:
Yes folks, I had (inadvertently) invented the Flock of Seagulls hairdo.
These days I still don’t use a hairdryer, but these days there is not much need for one as it is ‘quick drying’. Stay warm out there this Winter and remember to use that washcloth with the soap when you run out of shampoo or else you too will have to run, run so far away (you can’t get away).