On the move: The last shower | AspenTimes.com

On the move: The last shower

Benjamin Welch
The Aspen Times
Goodbye, Lula, the friendly neighborhood cat. Goodbye, warm sun streaming through my windows. Goodbye, obnoxious property manager who didn't believe me when my heating broke in the middle of the winter, like that's something I would lie about.
Benjamin Welch/The Aspen Times

Two kinds of people exist in the world: the ones who do their best thinking on the toilet and those who have shower brainpower.

I am the former. Or wait… the latter. Whichever is the second one. Toilets are gross; showers are awesome.

Recently, I had moved from my studio apartment to a condominium formerly occupied by two supervisors (for clarification, they didn’t live together and they haven’t died — just moved out). On the free market I’m pretty sure the annual rent would be more than my entire salary. I gained a fireplace. A bedroom. Built-in bookshelves that made me wish I knew how to read. A dishwasher. A pull-out couch that I can side-hustle on Airbnb. But regardless, moving is always tricky because I hate change and am afraid I won’t adapt to the quirks of my new abode.

As I moved, carrying furniture out one patio door and stacking it three blocks away outside of another, I reflected upon my favorite passage from Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden”: “It was pleasant to see my whole household effects out on the grass, making a little pile like a gypsy’s pack … It was worth the while to see the sun shine on these things, and hear the free wind blow on them; so much more interesting most familiar objects look out of doors than in the house.” And into the subterranean dungeon they went thusly.

At any rate, as I entered this new shower to contrive a topic for this very piece, I was greeted by a burst of unyielding, ice-cold water jettisoning me like the fire sprinkler that melted the Wicked Witch of the West in that old Energizer commercial.

I burst forth from the curtain like a crying, naked baby exiting the womb. Except I’m not a baby; I’m a full-grown short man, so I wrapped myself in a towel, threw some shampoo in a backpack, grabbed my keys and darted into the parking lot and subsequently my vehicle wailing like a soggy Tarzan.

I drove those three blocks back to my empty former studio, to which I still had the key. As I entered the bathroom I heard the familiar drip-drip-drip of the leaky nozzle. I turned on the scalding-hot water and watched it rise around my ankles thanks to the clogged, 1950s plumbing. I realized this was probably the last shower I would take in the apartment where I had lived longer than anywhere else in my life.

I fondly reminisced on my favorite memories from this porcelain sanctuary. Like the time I bathed with 40 rubber duckies. When I washed my makeup off after an evening in drag. When I woke up to find one of my kidneys missing. When — actually, that’s my last family-friendly joke, and even that kidney one is pushing the envelope.

As I toweled off in the studio’s living room (or is it the bedroom? Or kitchen?) I noticed how much the shady oak tree outside had gained foliage in the past couple of weeks. While I’ll miss the old place and hope my ghost eventually haunts it forever, I suppose in due time I’ll grow accustomed to the peculiarities of the new one, like the hot water randomly shutting off at 1 in the afternoon.


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