Thursday, September 6, 2007

Green or Clean? -- jcarolek

When I was a little girl, I was required to bathe weekly. Yes, you read that correctly. We children were on the Saturday night bath schedule in those early days. I remember not particularly looking forward to the Saturday mandatory scrub-down, but there was little room for discussion on the matter.

At some point, and I cannot for the life of me recall when this happened, I graduated to showers and I also found myself liking them, and even looking forward to them…all very fine, I’m sure, but Dad, noticing his eldest daughters’ affinity for hot showers began the water rationing speeches and timing our showers…three minutes is a VERY SHORT period of time! So, my response to this absurd rationing was to grab my shower in the morning after Dad had left for work and while Mom was trying to roust the boys out of bed, as they slept steadily through their blaring alarms. I arrived at school every morning with a head of wet hair (during the winter months, it was actually frozen, due to the long walk to school).

When I was about 15 we took a “vacation” to Florida to visit Granma and Grampa, and it was there that I began to fully understand the water saving mentality that my father had learned and had handed down (or tried to) to his children. When I tried to take my second shower at Granma’s she informed me, in a not-to-pleasant tone, that I took TOO many showers and one per week was plenty. If I wanted to wash my hair, I could go down to the lake.

Well, for the remainder of our “fun in the sun” vacation, we kids made the hike to the lake, squeezed a drop of Prell into our hair and jumped in the lake. (I think this is where the expression came from, “Oh just go jump in the lake!”) The process was not unbearable, but to be honest, we came out of the water feeling a bit dirtier than when we entered. Apparently, the powers that be had treated the lake with something to kill some sort of out-of-control vegetation growth and the result was a lake filled with a fine black silty substance. It coated EVERY hair on our bodies when we emerged from our swimming/bathing. Still, it toweled of easily enough, so we did not complain (too much.)

As an adult, as a mother, I could not imagine NOT bathing my child daily, or allowing him to go a day without bathing (unless we were camping in the woods or something.) Every night was an opportunity to wash off the evidence of the day’s mischief and jump in between bed sheets that remained reasonably clean for the week between laundering.

HOWEVER, working from home as I do much of the time these days, I find that I get right to work BEFORE my morning shower quite often. Today was a perfect example. It was nearly 2:00 PM before I took the time to jump in the shower. It had been nearly 36 hours since my last excursion under the showerhead and I mareveled at how my parents and their parents could have abided going a week between these rejuvenating moments!

I’m all for water conservation…I WANT to be GREEN….really, I DO! But I REALLY, REALLY want to be CLEAN!

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