If you’ve never seen them, sequoias and redwoods are truly majestic trees. Growing throughout Middle-Southern California, these ancient giants tower above the ground in a way that has to be seen to be believed.
We spent a few days recently camping in the Grant’s Grove Village. We stayed in a “rustic cabin” which was basically a square room with three beds, a couple of lights, and a heater. No plumbing at all which made the late night trips to the restroom in cold mountain air, uh, invigorating.
It also required that all showers take place in a common shower house that only cabin renters can open. Inside were several token operated shower stalls. I’d never used such a device and was prepared to take a nice, warm, relaxing shower, even if it was only for six minutes, that was the time you get for each token.
I opened the door and the first thing I noticed was a slot for depositing your token. It looked very similar to a car wash, the type with the high-pressure wands. I thought, “I’ll put my token in, hang up my clothes and step into the warm water.” So… I dropped it in and…
That’s when everything went downhill. No warning whatsoever that turning loose of that little golden disc would result in all of Hades being released into that one little stall. Instead of waiting for me to press an “on” button, the shower immediately went into spray water everywhere mode.
I had expected that since the stall had two separate sides that the one without the shower head would stay semi-dry. I mean, there were hooks for clothes and a little bench. It may have worked out that way if the shower didn’t spray water everywhere like a tightly-packed sphere of angry dolphins with hyperactive blowholes. I think you could’ve showered in the next building off of my one token.
I tried quickly to salvage what little dry areas my clothing still had and shoved them into the only dry spot. It was about the size of a deck of cards. Clothing somewhat safe, I stepped into the shower.
Sweet Mary! I thought immediately of a car wash again. Did people normally step in here with road tar stuck on their legs? I quickly tried to recall if I had seen multiple fire hoses hooked to the backside of the building.
Of course fire hoses probably don’t feel like a million little Thor’s hitting you with spikes hammers every second. The sting from each little stream left me checking myself for injury. Why? Why would you need water to spray out with that much force in a national park?!?
I quickly washed and rinsed. Fastest shower ever. Anything to get out of this wet torture chamber.
Alas, to my dismay I discovered that not only could I not turn it on, I couldn’t turn it off. The spray bouncing off me was making everything in sight wet. The extra-high ceiling? Soaked. Only the little playing card area was remotely dry and if I moved, the spray hit it.
With no way of escaping, I resolved to wait it out. It wasn’t too bad after I found a place to stand where the water only splashed off me and onto a wall. It felt like having a bowl of fire ants tapes upside down to my back. The pain started to subside and eventually went away. It was replaced by a numbness that creeped into my mind as I stood wondering who in the name of all that’s good thought it would be smart to put such a device in this tranquil wilderness.
Finally, the longest six minutes of my life was up. The only other experience I could compare it too was when the law enforcement agency I worked for got Tasers and I volunteered to be shot with one.
I dried off as best I could with my wet towel and wondered whether the moisture on my face was water or tears. I put on my sort of dry clothes and ventured back to the cabin in the 45° night air, broken and ashamed.