Shower show

First thing I always feel frowsty. What’s it that makes me feel frowsty?: a tiny soreness in the corners of my eyes, a tiny itchiness of the forehead, in the scalp and around the nostrils and ears, a slight tightening of the skin of the cheeks and a certain dryness of the lips.

You must know our skins are populated by countless micro-organisms, often harmless bacteria, but, I dare say, like me you don’t dwell on it. Well, a little dwelling on a little bacillus or whatever will make us better informed, if none the wiser. Fact: January, 2013, the Grauniad reported:

“Depending on how old you are, it’s pretty likely that you have eyelash mites. …Eyelash mites typically grow to a third of a millimetre and are near-transparent, so you are unlikely to see them with the naked eye. Put an eyelash hair or eyebrow hair under the microscope, though, and you may find them…. Around half the population have them, a proportion that rises as we get older.”

So now the slightly sore and failing eyes are getting the picture. Heavens, if I’ve got eyelash mites what else have I got? Frankly, I don’t just itch to know, I just itch, only mildly as a matter of fact, and I anyway I haven’t got a microscope. (I doubt if Joan has any of this. She tends to get bitten by mosquitos, no doubt because she’s juicy, as well as brilliant.)

Shave (see Routine investigation) and shower are instant antidotes. The shave alone sorts much, the rinse, hopefully, a legion of eyelash mites. Yet the scalp retains its frowst. The hair, it’s mad. If I went out before at least it’s wetted down, I’d probably be arrested on almost any pretext. Hair oils are hopeless: they make me look just like I’ve got a lump of bladderwrack seaweed on my head or something.

So off with rags, watch, hearing aids, and into the glass box. A twist, and a torrent of piping hot smacks the tray, and, as I step in, thrashes down on head and shoulders. Immediately I straighten up for the first time this morning. The stiffness disappears as the heat pours over me. Bliss! I flex and extend for a moment, then a quick shampoo (real stingy little blob) and a rinse is followed by the big soap up. (Warning: nothing racy here; to avoid disappointment, consider skipping to the next paragraph.) All the obligatory hollows, declivities, limbs and extremities get a brisk lathering, with the exception of the feet. They are so near, yet for one wobbling on a single leg, so very, very far; on an horizon, in fact, that’s continuously, if slowly retreating. I start off writing a blog and end up putting a waterproof stool in the shower so I can reach the parts I cannot reach when standing. No, not yet. Crack open a Heineken instead.

Rinse over, tap off, I stand in steamy tranquillity. If my head’s for once attached to my body, I contemplate the rivulets of condensate trickling down the misted glass. I listen to the gurgling plug until I hear its terminal croak. It takes no more than twenty seconds, and as they pass, 80% of the water upon me drains away. Tip: for a truly dry dry: don’t start too wet.

My towelling sequence, tested over decades, guarantees an efficient, speedy dry, with minimised chill. The cyberliber has one or two maps of perceived chill across the body. Trust me, these confirm the efficacy of my towelling sequence, perfect in fact to refresh but not discomfort you.

First head hair, face and beard; chest, stomach (navel while you’re there), and then the gribbly bits; from wrist, inside of one forearm up to armpit and down the proximate flank; from the same side shoulder down the outside arm to the wrist. Repeat on the other arm and flank. Then it’s the chachacha across the shoulder-blades and down the back to the glutes. Here continue the chachacha at the bifurcation, but take it down across one ham, back of knee and calf as far as you can. Flip to the front, and wipe up the shin, knee and quads. Repeat leg sequence on the other side; finally the feet and toes, where all manner of little critters are said to lurk. Be thorough.

Ladies, you may have to make modifications upon which I ‘m not qualified to advise. Guys, follow this and you are assured of a minimum chill dry. Remember a chill can lead to a sneeze, a sneeze to a health issue, and before you know it, you’re on Ilkley Moor bar t’’at.

Stay safe. Fact is: it’s really only when you’re warm and dry that it’s cool to chill.

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