Thursday, January 26, 2012

Shower Power Plays and Shower Etiquette

First of all, this is all to be taken with a big grain of salt. Some of my favorite people on the team violate my shower etiquette rules, and I still love them. But, I still think this stuff is fascinating.

So, I don't know how it is in the men's bathroom, but up in the women's, we only have one good shower out of six. The odd thing is, the good shower location rotates. By far, the good shower used to be the handicapped one in the corner. It stayed on continuously, so one didn't have to perform the annoying 20 second interval pump to keep one's shower going. It's a large area, which allowed those who violated shower etiquette to have plenty of room for leg shaving and exfoliating. Most importantly, the water in that corner shower was hot, and the water pressure was strong. Today, that shower is cordoned off by ominous yellow caution tape, as if a heinous crime had occurred there (we have no idea why the tape is actually there). But even before it was condemned, it had ceased to be the good shower. Mysteriously, its water pressure wilted and like an athlete past his prime, was ignored. No one queued up for it any longer.

After that era, the shower directly across from the condemned took flight. The strong water pressure and temperature seemed to morph that way. Then, there was a little bit of a locker room renovation and for no known reason, the city decided to grant only the first shower in the row closest to the lockers (call it shower #1), a new handle. Behold! It was a handle that enabled the shower to stay on continuously. The water was hot and the pressure was good. It still is.

Which brings me to the human side of this drama. There is no 5:45am swimmer today that does not know that shower #1 is the most coveted shower. It is so much more satisfying to shower in it, that I personally admit to jumping out of the pool before warm-down from time to time to snag it. (I have not yet sunk to placing all my shower gear in the shower to try to reserve it however).

Why do I sometimes sacrifice a few burned calories to get into the locker room early? Because, just as showers should not take longer than 2-3 minutes when other folks are waiting their turn (long shower takers be damned!), who gets which shower should be determined based on a FIFO system. If I want my choice of shower, I need to get in there first. Alas, we have some folks refusing to take lesser shower stalls that are wide open, and instead to verbally declare to all that approach the stalls that they are "making the decision to wait for shower #1." They then hover near the person who was lucky enough to snag #1 and is just trying to enjoy their quick 2 minute shower, and refuse to use other stalls while guiding folks who walk up to the line toward them. This, to me, is basically like saying "HA! Too bad, I'M NEXT for the best shower because I decided I deserve it more than you do!!!!!" even though, to be honest, you're not actually next. You should have taken the first empty shower, baby.

The people who wait for shower #1 are generally the same people who shave their legs in the shower, and spend time talking to others instead of washing their hair. But my absolute favorite etiquette breach is toothbrushing. Not only do I not want to think about the fact that if one is brushing their teeth now, they likely didn't brush their teeth before they breathed all over me between sets in the pool, but I really don't want to slip all over their spit as I follow them in line (another good reason to skip warm-down, obviously).

In the end though, these same people are also often enough, the very same who do the covers. And that, I will admit, trumps all. If you get to 5:45 workout EARLY and are willing to risk toe injuries and frozen hands to prepare the pool for me, I salute you. And of course, I should always offer up shower #1 to you when presented with the opportunity. If I don't, just go ahead and tell me to step aside. You deserve it.

*warmup: 600 free, 200 IM

*main set: with pull gear
2 x 200's match time (3 min interval)
1 x 300 flow (4:30 min interval)
2 x 200's match above time -5 sec
1 x 300 match 300 time above
2 x 200's match above time -5 sec
1 x 300 match 300 time above

*last set: gear option
9 x 50's descending in groups of 3 on the :45


Shino Tanaka said...

Jesus. I need a drink.

Barb B said...

I said I would comment and I meant it. Showers! Don't we all have one at home? Showers at the pool should be quick unless your bag is in the car packed for the airport. In which case you have to tell us about your trip. And about shower #1, the good shower, if you are in it, you don't get to choose the person of your choice to take your place. Just turn it off and leave. Unless you pulled the covers. then do whatever you want.

Crick said...

Yikes! That's a lot of drama to contend with in an hypoxiated, lactic acidemic condition!

Sure there are "preferred" showers in the mens' locker room for the same reasons. It's first-come first choose. I don't think anyone cares who follows whom in which stall. We line up and the next in line gets the next shower. First guys in the shower tend to hurry a little so those waiting can get on with it. No consideration at all to cover-pullers. Similarly, neither shaving (of anything) nor exfoliating garner any special privilege (or attention).

On winter days, when the showers along the outer walls run colder than the inner wall showers until their pipes warm up, the first guys in sometimes punch the buttons to get them flowing before settling into one of the 'inner' wall showers. It's a nicely congenial act and appreciated by the fourth, fifth, and sixth guys in.

Though I can't be sure, I'm pretty confident that none of the men are jumping out of the pool early just to get a little more real estate or a button-less shower.

That said, pre-warmdown exits and what one team-mate dubbed as "Pixie Hops" across the cold deck, are now better understood :-)