Is This You?: Bath or shower?

I watch with curiosity the commercials that tout a safe bathtub for people who have trouble getting into and out of the bathtub. It led me to think of the days when I was a kid, a very young 4 or 5 years old, and my siblings and I would take a bath together. Soon my brother was allowed to take his by himself, for the obvious reasons. But my sister and I splashed and fought for a few more years. Until she also wanted privacy and I was then allowed to wallow in the water by myself on Sunday nights, the night before we went back to school on Monday.

As time flew by, baths became an everyday event. This I have come to learn didn’t happen until we were all old enough to bathe ourselves. The reason mothers, and today, single fathers, gave multiple children baths together was not to save on the cost of the hot water, no, it was a self-preservation move. It is much easier and faster to bathe two or three or more children at once than one at a time. Even changing the water between children was, it seemed, a hassle for my mother.

I do remember being the third in line for the tub and the third in line for the water. Did you know that is where the saying, “Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water” comes from? It seems by the time the last baby is washed, there is so much dirt in the water that you might lose the baby in the tub and throw out baby, water and all. That was me.

Then one day at a campground in Yosemite while on a family camping trip (remember those trips?) the whole family climbed into our old station wagon, and we drove to the park community area. There was a little store and the ranger station along with a gas station and restrooms with shower facilities and I was introduced to my first shower.

Oh, what a sweet thing, a shower. I remember thinking it was like being in a warm rain, indoors. Where had this shower thing been all my life? How simple and cleansing it was to just pop in, lather up, rinse off, and get on with your life? Why didn’t we have one of these in our house? Were they just for campers? I thought they might have been. But, no. I learned later some people actually had those in their houses. Of course soon my quarter ran out and the warm water was replaced by fresh 36 degree lake water! Eeeowser!

I grew up the rest of my before-married life in four different houses we called home and not one with a shower. We had only time consuming, water hogging bathtubs as I grew up. One was a huge, cold, claw footed cast-iron relic in a house that had a bathroom door that needed a brick to stay open because the floor was at such a sloping angle. It was a real log cabin, from the 1800s I think. Now of course people would give mountains of green backs to have that tub. It wasn’t until all the kids were married and out of the house that my parents had a shower put in. I never did figure out why. Another little life puzzle.

It seems romantic now to have a tub. Commercials and movies show people wonderfully soaking in huge mounds of bubbles surrounding by what you assume are wonderfully scented candles, dreamily lounged back letting go of all the stressful events of the day. What I see is a person sitting in dirty water filled with dead skin cells, hair and all sorts of things swimming around them as they sit, soaking. Well that is quite a picture, isn’t it? Nope, for me it is a shower. Zippity do-dah and done.

All of that now brings me back to that safe tub. The one the calm voiced announcer is hawking daily in my living room via the airwaves. I have issues with it. I can see where if you were scared of falling this might look appealing. But whoa, there, buddy. Think of this. You get undressed, shuffle into the tub, sit down and get situated, then you turn on the water? Sitting in your all together, first waiting for the warm water to even get from the water heater all the way to the faucet then wait until it fills up. It just loses something in the translation. Nope, I vote for a walk-in shower with a shower chair.

Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada, her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at


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