I phoned my daughter earlier this week. She's been suffering the perils of this cold and snow-filled winter and is ready to grab husband and children for a permanent exit from the Northeast. Normally, this would make me incredibly sad but my husband and I have also had it with this and the search has begun for our own future. Sara asked if she might call me back in a little while. She was about to take a shower because she was so cold. I totally understood and as I stood in my own hot shower this morning, I thought back to that part of our conversation and wondered if she were even a bigger chip off the old block than her outward appearance reveals.
You see, I love my time in the shower. I actually wish I could stay there all day with the warm water running over my body. I do my best thinking and planning under the spray. The shower is my favorite place in the house, in a hotel, or even in a hospital. A soothing memory comes to mind when I think of the first one I took after the birth of my son. I can almost see myself standing there and wonder if I did not want to exit, knowing that my world had changed forever and I was scared to face what awaited me. At home, during my early days as a new mother, my joy overshadowed by the postpartum "blues", the shower became my house of worship, my safe place, where I cried like a baby, allowing the stream of water to wash tears away as I let my emotions drain out of my body. Sure, my eyes were reddened, that's what the water does, no further explanation was necessary. It also hides the sounds of sobs. Time in the shower allowed me to be counted among those who graced through this with the perfection that was in reality totally lacking.
It may come as no surprise that I also love soap. Like the kiss I can't resist, soap is at the top of my list of the best things in life. I love the smell, the feel, the shape and I love receiving it as a gift. I'm easily pleased.
I'd rather receive a beautiful bar of good soap than a piece of jewelry. Lavender fragrance, verbena, ocean scents and my very favorite, Crabtree and Evelyn's Jojoba Oil cakes, shaped like perfect scallop shells.....Heavenly gifts. There's a true story that I have tucked away in another writing collection, one that I don't tell everyone, but it probably accounts for this odd soap-worship. Its a story about a little girl, a school nurse and a lifetime of anguish and I can still remember that woman's face, almost sixty years later.
My nursing career (yes, there probably is something about this choice in the above paragraph but this is not the time or place...) was a unique one. I worked for a very short time in a traditional setting and spent my time as a childbirth educator (told many a new mamma to cry it out in the shower) and then, as an employee health nurse. I've worked in the auto industry as a plant nurse. I have practically no love for cars and wish I never had to own one. I've worked in the communications industry as a nurse at a phone manufacture and repair site. I do not like talking on the phone at home or anywhere else and won't even consider owning a "smart phone". But, my biggest career move, the one I was most proud of and the one from which I eventually retired, was as the Occupational Health Specialist for the Colgate Palmolive Company in New York City. Wonder of wonders, a very good job with one of the world's biggest producers of all-things- soap. My office was located just steps away from the Company Store and the aroma, well it surpassed that of the cafeteria which was steps away also, in the opposite direction. Soap powders, bars of soap, pump-dispensed, squeeze-bottled, they were all there, neatly arranged on shelves that I swear were magnetized, pulling me closer and closer. Dirt cheap prices for what the consumer might have called luxury. Brand names, not store brands. Dirt cheap for soap. Gotta love it.