Nearly every evening I have an internal debate: whether or not I should take a shower. It’s never a matter of desire. I will always want a shower. The internal struggle comes from recognizing that I don’t need a shower.
Google often tells me how much water I use and why I should save it instead. I’m well aware that one person uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water each day, and that showers are a great contributor to that. I’m also well aware of the environmental consequences of these facts, that the majority of greenhouse gas emissions are related to our demand for hot water. My nightly deliberation doesn’t allow me to forget it.
Let me also include that I’m a morning shower-er. My mother wouldn’t let me walk out of the house in the morning without a shower. It’s my morning ritual to have a shower, or else I really haven’t started my day. No, really. I won’t be awake. My brain will be in a daze. At this point, it’s mentally engrained. So I know that a shower will happen in the morning. Hot or cold. In the evenings, the same questions come around.
I haven’t sweat that much today or rolled around in dirt and dust. I haven’t jumped in a body of water or had something spilled and splashed all over me. My hair isn’t particularly greasy. I’m not dirty. The little I sweat, even on these warm days, does little to justify a full shower every evening. Why do I insist on wasting water, killing the environment in my indulgence?
Why do I want a shower? Stress and anxiety seem to be my baseline. My shoulders stay tense, knotting up my back to the point where turning my head left becomes a challenge for my neck. I’ve been working on this for years. But by the time evening comes, my muscles ache, my temples throb, my eyes squint with strain, and I begin to feel the weight of my head on my shoulders. Some days are better than others. Lately, those days have been far away from here.
The shower helps. It’s warm and cleansing. I can wash the day away and arrive clean to my bed, free of the dirt and sweat, released from the stress and tension. It’s a few glorious minutes of relaxation and reflection.
Some nights I can win it. I convince myself that the morning isn’t too far off. My moments can wait until then. Other nights, I can’t. I need it to be clean, to calm down, to sleep peacefully through the night. Maybe I’m simply a product of the all-to-successful American advertising industry. Maybe that’s who to blame. Or perhaps this is a dumb debate to even be having with myself. Regardless, the debate has been scheduled for tonight. Maybe tomorrow night I’ll say I’ve had enough.