In my 20-something year career as France’s leading shower designer, I have created every imaginable variety of highly unusable water dispensary systems, from the slightly inconvenient to the downright stupid.
Ever had to hold an unwieldy, unmounted hose between your legs while you use the requisite two hands to open your body wash? C’est moi. Ever screamed down the phone to your unconcerned concierge that you spent a full 20 minutes fiddling with each of the 20+ handles on the wall faucet without so much as a drop of water? C’est moi. Making the simple task of daily hygiene difficult has been my life’s work, but now I am suffering through an unfortunate case of “creator’s clog,” which may just undo it all.
It is not just my creative passion that drives my endless quest for the avant-garde showering experience; strict guidelines concerning the level of complexity one must endure when showering are heavily mandated by the European Union’s Board of Tourism as well. While other Western nations, from the US to Australia, may vary slightly, they are still underpinned by a general sense of practicality and common sense.
The EU, however, demands that the general “kookiness” for which the continent is known, must also emanate from its 1000-year-old pipes via rapid-fire sprays to the face, tepid drizzles that leave shampoo residue for days, and rogue hoses that seemed to be summoned by Medusa herself. This element of surprise demands that no two showers ever function the same. How can I keep up with this relentless need for increasingly ill-designed showering systems?
It wasn’t always like this. Since I was a child, it seemed I was destined to solidify my place as France’s preeminent engineer of the ineffective. My penchant for needlessly complicated inventions was evident from an early age when my mother found me taping pieces of pipe to the wall during my evening bath. “Pascal, our boy is a genius!” I heard her excitedly whisper to my father that evening. “One day, his shitty inventions will hang in every three-star hotel from the top of Sweden to the bottom of Portgual.”
Perhaps it is the accumulative weight of these expectations, from the governed to the familial, that has stifled my creativity? Perhaps I need to let go and truly feel the path of the mercurous liquid, from its sewer-like origins to its final triumphant expulsion from the head, slapping its unsuspecting user across the face; to let creativity flow freely like the errant sprays that easily escape the frameless, drainless tiled space, creating a maze of exceedingly dangerous slip hazards that must be tiptoed around for hours.
Yet I feel caged as if caught in my much-loathed two-square-foot “shower-tube” that ensures you are only ever an inch away from touching the bubbled, frosted glass that seemingly stores the cumulative fear of all its past users (along with at least 20 years of unknown “build-up”). Indeed, it seems that my wondrous creations have become my prison — a haunting reminder of the glory of days gone by.
So, when you next return to your hotel room from a long day spent in the freezing depths of the catacombs and turn on your shower to feel the icy chill of a showerhead permanently set to “spouting mist,” think of this once great inventor and revel in my exquisite creation. “ C’est moi,” the mist seems to echo through the WC. “C’est moi.”