I was in Babylon, sitting in my van in front of a thrift store, talking to the Jewelry Lady. I was telling her about my shower (mis)adventures and complaining about how hot it was in the valley. I said I needed to find a park so I could sit in the shade of a tree while I talked on the phone.
The Jewelry Lady asked if the town had a pool. I said I didn’t know, but I’d check into it. Pools have locker rooms and locker rooms have showers. Right?
When I got on the internet, I searched for information about the town pool. Yes, there was one. Yes, it was open this very evening. Admission price for adults: $2.
I called the pool to check on the shower situation. Yes, the woman on the phone told me, there were locker rooms, although there were no lockers in the locker rooms. And yes, there were showers in the locker rooms.
I was so excited. The $2 admission fee was approximately 1/6 of what I’d pay for a shower at the Love’s and I wouldn’t have to drive the 40 mile round trip out of my way. With those kind of savings, I could afford to take another shower the next afternoon when the pool opened again.
I packed a tote bag (soap, shampoo, washcloth, towel, razor, clean underwear, deodorant, clean shirt and skirt, and bathing suit, in the event I decided to get into the pool) and put on my purple plastic shower shoes.
I arrived at the pool about half an hour after it opened. The place was packed. There were little kids, teenagers, and adults filling the water. There were no poolside chairs, but people (mostly adults) were sitting around the pool, up against the fence surrounding it. I smelled the chemical tang of chlorine and heard the splashes, squeals, and laughter that seem to accompany all public pools.
I also noticed that I was quite possibly the only person of non-Latino/a heritage in the place. Not that it mattered to me one way or another, but I was the only only white girl I saw.
I stood in line, paid my $2, signed the waiver.
I walked through the entrance marked both “girls” and “women,” entered the locker room. Straight ahead were three or four toilet stalls. In the middle of the room were benches. To my left, there they were, the showers.
There were four shower heads mounted on the back wall, no walls of any sort between them. No curtains. No walls. No stalls.
As I stood there awkwardly, contemplating my situation, people (mostly little girls) were in and out of the locker room. Some of them decided to follow the order on the sign directing folks to shower before swimming. They turned on the water and were immediately squealing about how cold the water was. Of course. Showers meant to provide a rinse before one jumped into the pool on a summer day were not going to have hot water.
Maybe I could take a cold shower behind a curtain or door. Maybe I could take a hot shower out in the open with my excruciatingly white ass on display. But a cold shower out in front of God and everyone? Forget it.
I was soon on the road to the Love’s.
To read more about how I stay clean while living in my van, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/06/17/adventures-in-cleanliness/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/06/18/more-adventures-in-cleanliness/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2015/07/12/another-adventure-in-cleanliness/.