Friday, February 28, 2014

rubbing me wrong

One of the adventures of travel is finding new challenges in the bathroom.

I know I have written about it before (did you ever wonder -- ), but this shampoo bottle business still baffles me.  Do designers actually ever try to use their products in -- say, a hotel shower?

Because I no longer have a home in Salem, I now have to rely upon the kindness of well-paid strangers to provide my lodgings when I come to town for business.  On this trip, I decided to stay in what passes as one of Salem's best hotels. 

The logo says it all.  The Grand.  I thought that was simply the name, and not a rather accurate description of my bill for the three nights I would be in town.

Every hotel using the name "Grand" hopes to grasp a bit of the glory that was once the Grand Hotel of Berlin -- the Holy Grail of hotels.  Few manage to pull it off.  And in Salem, Oregon, we learn not to expect too much.

The place is pleasant enough.  I managed to book myself into a jacuzzi suite.  Having lost my hot tub several years ago, I long for the sybaritic pleasures of immersing myself in the hotel womb waters.  Even though, I am certain the tub has been put to uses that only a novelist of bluer tastes than my own could tell.

But that water is not the topic of today's essay.  After my morning soak, I headed into the shower to get ready for the day. 

When I reached for the shampoo, I found two small bottles.  Both looked quite artsy.  As if they had been purchased at some snooty bath store that had spent millions to look as if it were the general store in Boulder Flats, Wyoming.

As arty as the bottles were, they had one small problem.  In an unlit shower (for almost $300 a night, the hotel cannot afford light in the bathroom?), it was impossible to read the labels.

Now, I have made the mistake before of shampooing with conditioner and conditioning with shampoo.  The result is not pretty.  But I have also learned that the runnier of the two is almost always shampoo.

So, I twisted off the tops.  The designers get high marks there.  Even with wet hands, the bottles opened without having to indulge in nude man wrestling.

I tipped the first bottle over.  Nada.  It must be the conditioner.  The second bottle gave up its contents.  Shampoo.

Having a short memory span, when I was done shampooing, I picked up the conditioner bottle, turned it over, and nothing happened.  Just like the furst time.

I shook it.  Nothing happened.

I squeezed it.  Nothing happened.  The bottle was too hard.

Now, when it comes to matters of grooming, I am not a patient man.  The only solution I could see was spraying me in the face.  I stuck the bottle under the shower head, replaced half of the volume with water, and used the now shampoo-consistency conditioner on my hair.

And then I started laughing.  Whether or not the designer intended it to be so, they gave me a great adventure to start my day.  It was better than completing my morning crossword puzzle.

I am convinced that life is made up of these little challenges.  We can choose to be frustrated.  Or we can choose to improvise by stuffing them into little mental boxes -- and crushing them.

It is not quite the Zen solution.  But it keeps me happy on the road.


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