This is something that actually happened today.
Blasting Cake's "What's Now Is Now" in our 2007 Subaru Forester and bumping down our cobblestone road after a satisfying day's work, I begin to daydream about a shower. Wherever. It doesn't matter. As long as it's hot, wet and clean.
A shower sounds particularly special today because our basement now boasts a small mudpit. There is a kind older gentleman who has been sledge-hammering through our concrete floor in search of a broken pipe.
And this means...no showering at our house. Thankfully, the next-door neighbors are out of town and are gracious enough to allow us use of their bathroom.
I rush in through my front door, up the wooden steps and grab some clean clothes and bathroom supplies. Everything is trying to tumble out of my arms, but no matter. I'm about to have a shower. Without using my hands, I step into my giant snow boots and awkwardly carry everything to the sweetheart neighbor house. I could have put all this stuff in a bag.
Toss the clothes and keys onto a bed in a nearby spare room and head into the bathroom. As I set the shampoo and conditioner down on the showerside table, I realize I have forgotten a towel. Gr. Keys. Stairs. Door. Back into my house.
Again, I bumble up the steps and yank a clean purple towel from the bathroom, and I'm on my way! I'm back at the front door and I hear, "Crash. Crash. Jingle, jingle, jumble, clink. Clink clank. Pinkpank," from the basement. Oh, god there is an intruder. I've made it 11 years calming Judith down, telling her there will never be a break-in, and now I'm a liar. I pause and listen to the noises for awhile. And it slowly dawns on me...No one in their right mind would keep banging around in the basement if they wanted my stuff or my body; they would be up here with me, by now.
So, I walk down to the basement and greet Jim, the kindly sewer-smart gentleman. He has gentle eyes and rough, dirty hands and a capable mind. He stands in the mud in his work boots and we get to talking. Somehow, we manage to discuss his daughters, the twins due in April, how far ultrasound technology has come along, skiing in Colorado, gentrification in East Liberty, and the wonder of Western Pennsylvania. He grew up here, you know. He has seen all the changes for years. His mom is in her 90s, and she still gets around the kitchen.
Eventually, we wrap it up. How lovely, to spend half an hour gabbing with someone outside my culture zone. Comfortingly exhilarating.
I traipse back out into the now-quite-snowy evening and prepare for that blessed shower, boosted by this beautiful conversation. I walk upstairs to the neighbor bathroom, find the hot and cold shower knobs and enjoy the foreign claw-footed tub under the sprinkling water. I breathe deeply. Ahhhhh. Clean. I pull the showercurtain and reach for...
It's by my front door, abandoned during my intruder panic.
And so, I do what I have to do. I dress in the chilly house, soaked, and prepare for the weather.
Even though I know better, I wonder if that wive's tale is true about catching cold.