A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.
– Douglas Adams, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Despite packing everything I thought I might need for 6 months into the pack that makes me look like an oversize snail carrying his Red-ish house on its back, I did not pack a towel. Upon realizing this I kinda wanted to hand in my geek card. However, here I was, in PDC, towel-less. I don’t have enough room in the pack to add a wafer-thin mint, so what was I to do?
I had assumed I would be able to borrow a towel from wherever I was staying. However, upon arriving at the home I’d be renting a room in while going to Spanish class, I discovered that there was but one towel provided for 3 students. A fourth student was added this week. I didn’t like those odds.
So, I had to buy a towel. Prior to this however, I wisely enlisted in a membership at the local gym. Here, surely, they would provide towels for when you shower? Nay, fair traveler. You must bring your own. They provide a small square of fabric to mop the sweat from your brow, but not a full-fledged towel. That would be crazy talk.
So it was that I found myself at the gym, post-workout, sweaty, and in need of a shower. This was mid-day, so I knew once I hit the humidity outside I would be sweaty pretty soon again, but the levels of moisture I had already generated were too much for me to take, I needed to be clean, even if just for a moment.
A key point in this meandering story: this gym is fairly sizeable. Not anything compared to the death-star of gyms that is the Redmond Pro Club, but fair sized. Since it’s the middle of the day, there were about 2 women and 5 guys at the place total. Pretty empty. Trust me, this nonsequitur comes around.
So I take a shower, knowing I have but a tiny cloth to dry myself. And this shower is GLORIOUS. You see, the shower at the house is tiny, cramped, and has a water-saving head on it that yields an output of 2 tablespoons per minute. This shower head is a massive disc of nozzles that spews perfectly warmed water down on you like rain from heaven while you gallivant in your spacious walk-in fully slate-tile shower room. It’s probably the size of my bedroom at the house. So I stay in as long as possible.
Eventually, I’m forced to admit that it’s time to get out, and I attempt to cover myself with the small square of towel they have given me, which could probably wrap around my wrist, but no more. I wonder if I can explain why I’m drying myself with a tiny square of fabric to anyone coming in? Probably not worth it. Anyway; it does an admirable job of soaking up the water from my hair, face, and neck, then the rest of me is greeted with a rag that contains an equal amount of water as my skin’s surface, so the net effect is just pushing water around. Fine, I air-dry for a bit, then put clothes on over a mostly damp body.
Note, I’ve spent probably more than 1/2 hour in the locker room by this point.
Cut to today: I return to the club around 5pm, this time with my very own towel in hand, purchased from the local “Mega” (further post on living in PDC away from 5th avenue to explain that). I hand the counter girl my membership card, take my complimentary sweat-rag from her, get my lock and key for the lockers and go to put my day pack in the locker room. The place is much busier now, there are people in the entry way, coming in, going out, etc.
There are three women in my locker room in various states of undress.
I hastily beat a retreat while my addled brain pieces the parts of the puzzle together:
- I was not in the men’s room that first day.
- I spent over a half hour happily showering, drying and dressing myself in the ladies room.
- I had nothing but a small square of cloth to cover me in case someone came in.
- My pitiful toe-hold on the Spanish language would probably not have been enough to keep me from some kind of charges, had someone come in.
- Somebody, somewhere, is very merciful with the dice rolls of my fate.
So, now I own a towel AND I know the correct room to go to at the gym. My travel skills are coming along nicely, I feel.
Fun fact about the towel, purchased for “as cheap as possible” at the local Mega: it has some unexpected properties. For example: it is water repellent. True fact. Note to self: buying the cheapest option usually gets you what you paid for.