Monday, September 30, 2013


One of the great joys of travel is taking a long, hot shower in a nice hotel. There are no worries about letting the water run all day and the shower itself is often well appointed with stone or marble and very conducive to comfort and relaxation.  The shower at the Hotel Empire in NYC, where my girlfriend and I stayed this past weekend, was just such a shower. Lavishly appointed, aesthetically inviting and complete with multiple showerhead attachments and gadgets, the shower in our room was incredibly inviting. There was, however, one small oddity that made me very curious and resulted in a far more adventurous shower experience than originally expected: The shower only had half a door.
You’ve seen the nice showers in fine hotels I am referring too, straight out of some Italian villa with their stonework and tile, often a tiny bench seat and rainforest type showerhead above. They are beautiful and they make us hate going home to our off-white mold boxes with the curtain that always has a half inch of mildew cheese on the inside bottom. OK, maybe that’s just mine but, regardless, these showers are amazing…but they usually have doors. In most cases it’s a classy looking glass door on a hinge or possibly two panes of glass that slide alongside one another so you can get in and then close everything back up and let the steam dream begin. So what happens when the shower only has one door? One pane of glass only and a huge fucking gap with no discernible cover, lining, curtain or shield from the inevitable spray of water that will shoot through it onto the floor. What happens is just as one would expect: liquid destruction.
I would say that in most of my relationships water on the floor from the shower, whether from me not properly securing the curtain or door or simply by not drying myself well enough before I step out, has caused at least 71% of major battles fought. I am not sure what disconnect happens when I am immersed in that hot water but for whatever reason I lose the ability to understand the consequences of not securing doors and curtains or allowing my large and mildly hairy body to drain all over a dry bathroom floor. Sadly, I also fail to properly dry the floor and surrounding area post-shower so I am really my own worst enemy in this whole thing, and certainly deserve the resulting wrath from my other half when it comes. So, in the interest of trying harder with my current girlfriend and not being the normally selfish, sloppy, lazy bastard I often am, I paid careful and close attention to the shower situation at our hotel. OK, yes I know it was not our home and a little water here and there wouldn’t cause a monster battle but no one wants to come into a soaking wet bathroom so I studied this situation carefully when  I first walked into the bathroom of our hotel. Carefully, curiously and frustratingly.
The shower was missing half a door! There was no other pane of glass on the open side, there was no sneaky little curtain built into the wall or the metal brace above and there was no marvel of engineering that set the shower up in such a way that water flowing from above or any of the attachments wouldn’t spray everywhere out through the “WTF Gap” and soak the floor, walls, toilet and entire bathroom…or was there?? The first thing I tried was the dangling attachment that was hooked to the wall and sort of looked like a metal baton with a few holes in it. I couldn’t really imagine how this attachment would benefit anyone in a shower setting unless they were using it to clean the inside of their body through careful insertion (or other personal enjoyment activities that I can’t discuss in such a family oriented column as this), but I wanted to turn it on and see what happened nonetheless. Well, a half second in the little metal wet wonder wand was slashing around violently and whacked the one piece of glass that did exist in the shower and almost destroyed it, while simultaneously soaking me and the towels that were previously dry and folded on the rack above. Epic fail. Owned. Etc.
My follow up plan was to turn on the Elephant shower attachment that was attached to the ceiling, and I know, because I am very smart-ish , that in order to get water flowing to that location I may have to use a doohickey or lever of some sort to divert the flow to that area and away from the psychotic wet death stick. So, I searched around and found a little black knob and pushed it up and then turned on the water again. A few tiny drips from the above shower head, but nothing exciting. At least the attachment was no longer trying to kill everything in its path so it felt like a small victory. What I started thinking to myself was that, were I able to get the ceiling mounted showerhead flowing, maybe the other shower door wasn’t needed. Maybe the WTF Gap was there to make ease of access and exit smooth as possible and that the shower had been designed in some amazing way that my feeble mind couldn’t comprehend and that as soon as I actually got that water flowing from above and stood in the shower, incredibly the moisture would be self-contained within my little stone cavern and not spray and leak out onto the floor and walls. All I needed was to get that showerhead going…
I won’t comment on the reasons why I wasn’t able to discover the actual device that activated the showerhead and why in fact it was my girlfriend who located this and got it working but let’s just say that I wanted her to feel important and smart because that’s how I roll. Either that or I occasionally have the common sense of the average Lima Bean. In any case, the showerhead was now ready to rock so I secured the Silver Drizzle Death Wand to its post, and turned the water on. Jackpot! Water was gushing from the showerhead above and filling the shower with warm, wet goodness and sheets of relaxing steam! It was also sending 90% of its moisture right out the fucking WTF Gap, all over the bathroom floor and scorching my skin in the process. See, the beauty of the WTF Gap is that it was apparently created on the side where a moveable door may have at one time existed so on the other side where the piece of glass exists (the “half door”) it’s fixed to the wall. It doesn’t open so you’re forced to sort of lean in and turn on the water unless you want to risk the sheer horror of starting the shower while you’re already fully in it. My experience with this in the past has been slightly worse than miserable so the lean-in was my preferred method in this instance. Water was intermittently scalding me, soaking me, bouncing off me and onto every square inch of the bathroom and with the general exception of the shower drain in the floor.
I am a big, burly man and I tend to get dirty from time to time, and after spending several hours in Greenwich Village that day I NEEDED a shower. So I got in and hoped that maybe the presence of me inside there would help channel the water flow down the drain and not entirely out the WTF Gap, but my hopes were dashed as I watch instant lakes form on the pseudo-stone tile floor as I began to wash my Grundle (see “Taint” or…just don’t ask) and the water shot off me like popcorn kernels landing on the surface of the sun. This wasn’t my place, I had enough towels to dry the floor and I wasn’t about to try and make one of my legendary sexy moves on my girlfriend Lenore if I wasn’t fully scrubbed so I just finished my shower, starting out the WTF Gap the whole time like some sad child watching his carnival balloon slowly deflate as he held it. Why? Just…why?
A short time later I went to the front desk and asked the Desk Clerk about the shower situation and she explained “I know, it’s really strange huh? Well I think what happened some time ago was that someone fell and broke the glass and hurt themselves so the company just ended up removing the actual door part.” I smiled and nodded and walked away, wondering how the #%!^$ removing just that one pane of glass, the part that slides, would do anything to avoid accidents? Couldn’t someone still fall in the shower and hit the other pane of glass and end up impaling themselves or worse, step OUT of the shower and slip on the river of sudsy wetness that was all over the freaking floor and injure themselves in a variety of fun ways on a multitude of objects in the bathroom?? I needed answers!!!! But the explanation I received at the desk was likely all I would be getting, and sometimes in life you need to accept that fact that there will not always be the closure you seek in every situation. Trust me, I can do just fine in a world where destroying a bathroom with sloppiness, water and stupidity is acceptable but come on, a fancy NYC hotel? Shame on you, folks. You guys need to be the role models for the slacker, easy way out, no-more-effort-than-needed idiots like me out there. I simply can’t be expected to clean up my act if you guys can’t even put a real door on your showers. I blame you. And Obamacare. And George W. Bush and Haliburton.
Despite the shower and the WTF Gap, the Hotel Empire is actually a fantastic hotel with a great staff and in a phenomenal location and their rooms are beautiful. Would I stay there again? Absolutely (free of charge with a voucher they provide after reading this??), and I would even recommend it. To people who don’t ever sweat, smell, get dirty or that enjoy hydroplaning while brushing their teeth J


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