A tiny, translucent, razor thin, half-dollar-sized sliver of clean. A bar of soap. Or rather, what’s left of one. Barely bridging a ½” gap in our Linen’s N Things shower rack, it looks more like a soggy, misplaced fragment of a potato chip than the object by which you’ll scrub away your stink/shame/sleepiness.
This isn’t a shared shower. It’s not the gym. It’s not a dorm. It is the only full bath in a single-family home shared by me and my wife. Did she leave me this pathetic excuse for a soap bar, preferring a smelly, disoriented and incrementally cranky ‘morning Jon’? Did I do this to myself? Did I shower in my sleep? Slipping out of bed in the wee hours to dissolve and subvert more conscious efforts to start my day on the right foot?
I’ve been down this road before. In my grogginess, I will invariably reach for ‘the sliver’, knock it from its perch, and watch it fall between the wires and head for the drain. I’ll scoop it up, rest it in the palm of my hand…and then spend 4 minutes trying to work up anything resembling a soap-like lather. On the bright side, my hands will end up clean. But my attempt to transition this hand-cleaning lather into a body cleaning coverage? Look again. The sliver’s gone.
Our family is low maintenance. I won’t find a $20, gold-laced luxury bar from Lush waiting as a back-up. Body wash? No. Shower gel? Fugitaboutit. Loofah’s? I’d rather stink. I suppose I could use shampoo. But on principal, I refuse to use Head and Shoulders below the shoulders. This leaves me out of options. I have to leave the shower to find some soap.
How far will I have to go for a spare? Will it be under the vanity, just a half step across the bathroom? Will it be in the linen closet, three steps outside my infinitely warmer morning fortress of solitude? And forget about the basement pantry—dingy, frigid and an impossibly distant two flights down. And then there’s the issue of being sopping, sopping wet. First, consider the season. Say it’s summer. Do I make a break for it, attempting to limit the water damage by bolting out of the shower and breaking for the vanity and closet? (pray I don’t slip on the hardwood) Winter? In my un-insulated house? Hypothermia will set in before the first drip hits the floor. I’ll have to dry off. This will turn my clean, light, warm, dry towel into a heavy, damp, cool and far less cheery rag.
Don’t underestimate the role my towel plays in my morning routine. My towel, well used, often laundered, fluffy and highly absorbent, nurses me through the transition from the warm/soap smelling/semi-sleep shower experience to the bright eyed, deodorized, dressed, buckled and buffed cube-meat that leaves the house each morning. If I have to dry off to conduct my search, I run the risk of ruining an already compromised routine.
Where does this leave me? Between a rock and hard place.
One way or another, I’m leaving the shower in search of soap. And for most of the New England year, I’ll need to dry off to survive the experience.
It’s time to get creative.
What if I use my wife’s towel? It’s only fair, right? She was last to shower, and ‘you kill it, you fill it’ should apply to soap just as it does to TP, the Brita filter and most items in the liquor cabinet. (Oddities like Pisco and treasures like single-malt excluded. You leave something like that in the cabinet, your fault.) She’ll never know. And besides, her towel will be dry by the time she goes to use it again tomorrow. Yes! Problem solved! I can dry off, find more soap, and finish my shower knowing a dry fluffy towel is waiting for me. Bonus! I can start my day feeling like I’ve already accomplished something.
Ok, let’s do this! Wait…why is the water getting cold? And how long have I been standing here?