Anatomy Of A Cold Shower

(not that I’m actually going to get into the anatomy parts mind you, it’s just a phrase)

I may or may not have previously mentioned the shower situation here. You’ve got a tent with curtained off showers in the center, and metal mirrors and sinks bracketing them.

So the other night I wander in for some gettin’ o’ the clean. They had the heaters just blasting, it must have been at the very least 80 degrees in there, contrasting with the upper 30s and rainy we’d had all day. I noticed it because well, it was really hot in there, and the past few days previous the heaters had been off.

Off to the shower: I put the shampoo and soap up in the metal shelf that serves as a holder. I do the cold water test — turn on a bit of water to check the temperature. Certainly don’t want the massive cold water shock. Well, as it turns out, at least I was smart enough to develop a procedure on that…IT FAILS MISERABLY! Obviously it didn’t come out ice, but it was close enough.

And now the decision comes: abort, or press on? Such a weighty choice, but I have to be clean. Crap, just gonna have to suffer through this.

It’s unpleasant but bearable to do the initial phases. It’s cold water, but if you stand off to the side and sorta throw handfuls on yourself it isn’t so bad. The lathering up of soap could be worse, I mean who hasn’t but their hands in cold water before? I’m not entirely comfortable but I am able to drive on. At some points I lean wrong and get an unwelcome reminder of things to come….

….because eventually you have to rinse off. I stand there for a minute, contemplating my demise. I wonder if maybe I can just leave it alone, and wander back to my cot and bag all soaped up. That turns out not to be much of an option. So I just stand there for a few minutes. I don’t want to do what I have to do. It’s going to be completely painful. However, just standing there all night isn’t much of an option either, so with dread in my heart, I turn the water back on, one final time.


The shock of cold makes me totally forget my name. My muttered “goddam” echoes throughout the tent, causing a laugh from another budding young hypothermia case somewhere along the far wall. As I struggle to remember what I am trying to do, I slip further into the frigid stream. While soap begins to slide off in the water, I start to recall that this was something I had been hoping to achieve…I think. Oh well, at this rate, it shouldn’t take more than a few hours of this unending pain before I am soap free. I move my frozen limbs about, hoping to brush off the soap and help the nearice do it’s job. I am not sure if it really makes any difference, but as anyone can tell you, it’s important to keep moving. If Napoleon’s armies were big on sanitation they would have understood this torture. (think 1812…that’s gonna be your only clue. Learn some history why don’t you?)

Where was I? My brain is thickening up and thoughts become difficult. I am stupider now than I have ever been. I struggle to get this cursed soap off before it kills me. I wonder what it will be like, dying…must focus! Survive! Be strong! But it’s so cold, and I feel the life draining out of me, and maybe I can just curl up on the floor and give up. Somehow after hours of frozen hell I find I am now soap-free! I turn off the evil H20 beast.

Alas, I did not wash my hair! Sad

Fuck that. It’s been kept short, I don’t even comb it. It’ll keep for another day. I stumble with my ice-encrusted body over to the “put yer stuff here” area. Soon under the gentle jet-like blasts of the heater vent (is a foot round tube actually a vent? Yes it must be, I so declare it!) I am in a tropical furnace of warm, delicious, gently soothing heat. Eventually I even catch on fire, but friendly passers-by extinguish it before too much damage can be caused.

I will never, ever take a shower again. Ever.

2 Responses to “Anatomy Of A Cold Shower”

  1. Imported Comments Says:

    From Eagl:


    Now try it when it’s 110 deg outside, 95 inside the shower tent, but the water morons left the water heater turned on. The water bladder has been in the sun all day so it’s in excess of 150 already, then they run it through a heater and then through about 40 ft of pipe to the showers.

    That’s pretty f**king hot. The best way to survive this was to find a time when you’re about the only person around, and wait for the water in that 40 ft of pipe to cool down a bit, then try to do a complete shower in the amount of water stored in that 40 ft of 3/4 inch pipe. It can be done but miscalculating a bit hurts a little.

    Yes, us AF pukes got it easy, hot water and everything!

    We had a big windstorm hit right as I was landing after one OSW sortie, and after staggering back to tent city, we sorta hung out outside watching the world get hoovered up around us. A shower tent 50 ft upwind from us broke loose, and I thought we were back in medieval times. A shower tent uprooted by 50-60 mph winds turns into a canvas-winged multi-limbed metal flail approx 80 ft long and 30 ft wide. Fortunately the flail didn’t knock over the kerosene water heater (still running full blast) as it ripped free but the airborn disaster sailed clearly over 1/4 mile of tent city and landed squarely in the middle of the generator park. That was neat too, as it shorted out 20% or more of the generators, cut power to half of the tent city and ops town, sent up neat showers of sparks, and started a diesel fire in the middle of about 100 generators all sucking from a really large complex of fuel bladders. Fun stuff, I bet the engineers never imagined a tent-flail getting flung over their 20 ft berms, spinning around like a top.

    We all stood there wondering whether to run, dive to the ground, laugh, go help out, or what. Someone broke the (relative) silence with a “holy shxt”, someone else said “cool!”, and then we dispersed to find some big rocks to help hold down our own tents. Amazingly, nobody was hurt or even badly embarassed as the shower tent had been empty at the time.

  2. Robert Says:

    I can go you one better — imagine being in the heat like that and not getting any ice for 2 days. The water you do have is air temperature…what does 130 deg outside plus heat of a metal skinned vehicle with a 250 deg + engine temp work out too? Now…drink that water so you don’t die. Ick.

    On the other hand, imagine drinking water of the perfect temperature, nice and cool and refreshing. Now imagine that water has just a lil’ too much chlorine in it. Ack. And that’s how, dear reader, that Evian Spring Water became the Official Canteen of Reforger ’91.

    We did have a good power outage a couple of months back that was amusing. There was a scheduled outage for I don’t know, let’s call it 3ish PM. Around about 2:40 a domain wide message comes across everyone’s computer that power to their area will be dropping and be prepared to lose connectivity. I see this message, and turn to the other guy in the office to say “well at least they got word out this time.” As soon as I have finished the sentence, the power suddenly drops. Hmm…that’s not supposed to happen. It sure is dark inside these damn tents with no lights, let me tell ya. Let’s hear it for exposed power cables and Bobcats with low scoops! Yaay! Yes it was an accident, but the coincidence was just too great to ignore. Smile

    We’ve had some good windstorms here so far, but haven’t lost any tents yet. There’s been a few metal half-sheds that “shade” the water buffaloes that have decided to go touring, but nothing major so far. Of course it’s pretty windy today, hopefully it won’t do anything to our satellite dish because that really can be a pain in the a

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