Earning your cool

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It’s been a long time since I wrote about bathrooms.

Okay, so maybe not that long, but until we get an ARI with a shower in it, my least favorite part of traveling is consistently going to be using public showers. It’s gotten easier as I’ve gotten more road savvy — I pack a mean shower bag these days. It strongly resembles a crime scene clean-up kit, and I’m less than thrilled to have to be so prepared to do something as simple as take a shower, but thankful to have learned a couple of things along the way.

Shower shoes are possibly more important than food. If you don’t wear your shower shoes, you stand an extraordinarily strong chance of contracting the Malaysian Foot Mangler Fungus, which will make your feet burn and itch so bad, you’ll spend countless hours a day scratching your toes and adjusting your socks and won’t have time to eat. It’s rumored that at least 12 people have gone absolutely insane from the bipedal discomfort and amputated their own feet with drywall saws. (This is probably a filthy lie, I heard it at the Counter of Knowledge, but I like the word ‘bipedal’, so I had to throw it in.)

Next to shower shoes, having some sort of bleach wipe in a fancy little pop-up package is also important. It is imperative, however, that you make sure it’s not so similar to the fancy little pop-up package of baby wipes you carry that you inadvertently bathe your armpits in Clorox while you’re stumbling around in a dark cab, doing the “wipe and swipe” bath before you fall into the bunk because the next shower stop isn’t until morning.

“Not recommended for mascara removal.”“Not recommended for mascara removal.”

And while I have personally met people who could probably benefit from a Clorox armpit bath, it’s generally considered a bad idea to put bleach on your skin, and I try to refrain from it as much as possible. (Side note: I will say that nothing makes you wake up and pay attention quicker than realizing you have just sanitized your eyeball, as well as removed your waterproof mascara and three important and necessary layers of eyeball skin.)

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I am so eternally grateful for the truck stops who have clean showers. I make it a point to tell the management how important it is to me, and how much of a difference it makes in my overall well being when I’m on the road with George. In the past year, I’ll have to say that Flying J has knocked it out of the park with their showers.

I had an opportunity to tell a J manger that just the other day. Unfortunately, I was wrapped in a towel and locked out of my shower when I did it, so I think the impact may have been lost in the “babbling, half-naked crazy lady” persona I may have projected.

I had enjoyed another great shower and was getting ready to do girl things, like put on lotion, before I got dressed. I went to take my wedding ring off and dropped it – I heard it hit the floor, but couldn’t see it anywhere, and after looking for it for a couple minutes, I realized it had bounced on the tile and gone underneath the shower room door. I was still wrapped in a towel, and scrunching my feet along the floor on the bath mat (you know you do it) so I didn’t touch the tile. I cracked the door just a little and could see the dang ring, but it was too far across the hall for me to hold the door and reach it so I had the brilliant idea to lodge my bra in the door, so I could step across real quick and grab the ring without being locked out.

Needless to say, I was not only immediately locked out, I was locked out with my bra hanging out of the door. But I had my wedding ring.

Thank dear sweet Jesus, there was a manager right there in the hallway, and the showers were pretty much deserted. She was kind enough to let me back into my room without having me arrested for indecent exposure. She also had the tact not to mention the bra-sling, hanging from the lock mechanism when she opened the door. She is a decent and kind person and if I ever have the guts to return to the showers in Oak Grove, I’m going to take her a nice gift, and it won’t be a package of pop-up Clorox wipes.