COLUMN: Revelling in the state of the unwashed

There are occasions, I must confess, when on sunny spring mornings I forgo a shower ...

There are occasions, I must confess, when on sunny spring mornings I forgo a shower in order to be outside doing yard work prior to the crack of 10 a.m. In fact there have been entire weekends in which full body ablutions have been neglected for the sake of expedience.

Anyone who finds that lack of cleanliness abhorrent obviously has never been camping, at least not in the wilderness where the ‘bathroom’ consists of nothing more than a secluded mossy log and a splash in the face from a nearby creek.

Maybe it’s the scent of the pine forest that masks it, but only on very extended backcountry stays have I found my companions, or embarrassingly myself, to be somewhat odiferous. That scenario usually results in mutual agreement that it is time to stand in said freezing cold creek and do a full body wash.

At home, of course, circumstances allow for a hot shower with all the necessities of perfumery.

So it was recently that I entered the curved glass enclosure that graces a corner of “my” bathroom, a shower I might add that once used requires more cleaning to make it pristine than I engage on my own body parts.

Once the grime of a weekend of digging, weed-eating and other garden chores was removed I rolled open one of the shower doors, only to have it fall off its tracks.

A heavy wet door, quickly gripped in equally damp hands in a very enclosed space to prevent it from shattering across the bathroom made for some interesting gyrations, particularly when one is naked.

Safely propped in a corner, and then dried and dressed, I took a look at what went wrong.

One of the little wheeled carriages that support the unit in its track had parted company with the door.

Attending the big box store from which it was purchased for a replacement part, I was emphatically informed that “we don’t carry parts . . . you have to contact the manufacturer.”

Great, I thought, I have no idea who made the shower, since the paper sticker attached to it had long since been removed. That meant, left to my own devices after the essential brush-off from the store staff, I had to hunt down the make and model on the racks, jot down the necessary information and the all-important 800 number, all the while envisioning a lengthy and potentially unwashed wait for the parts to arrive.

The next morning I’m on the phone to somewhere in the eastern U.S., who referred me to their Canadian division by provision of yet another 800 number.

I’d been through this before, ordering a defective barbecue part from Texas that took 10 weeks to arrive.

Visions of spray cans of deodorant accompanying my every move for most of the summer, I connected with the Montreal office of my shower manufacturer.

So it was music to my ears, and a potential blessing to those who might have come in close proximity to me in the ensuing days, that the cheerful person at the other end of the phone said “not a problem, I’ll send you a complete set of new parts . . . they should be there within three to five days.”

We had a good laugh over my perceived predicament (actually there are other showers in the house), and she even called me “Sweetie” at the end of the conversation.