Friday, December 1, 2017

Nonconsecutive Gratitude - Shower Thoughts

You know what shower thoughts are. Maybe you haven’t thought of them this way, but if you shower and you think, then you’re having shower thoughts. It’s the mind wandering in the midst of a routine task. Shower thoughts aren’t entirely different from driving thoughts or dishwashing thoughts. But there’s more privacy and less distraction. This ramps up the profundity.

Many shower thoughts are to-do’s that you recognize the need for, but that you will forget before you dry off. Some of them are things you should’ve said. There in the steam you will hone the words knowing that you actually wouldn’t have said them. Some of them are reminiscences with running commentary. Some are skillful legal arguments to excuse a regret. Some of them are profound in a dumb way. Like this one from Redditor Gpig16:

“Jerky is more like an animal cracker than animal crackers are.”

Well, maybe that’s actually dumb in a profound way. I’m only speaking for myself here, but I am at least three notches funnier in the shower than in real life. I’ve concocted stage-ready comedy routines about the shampoo ingredients. I had myself plumb tickled with a bit I invented about the lonely useless decorative bathroom towel. Other times I explain things to imaginary shower audiences. Maybe it’s a way of processing things that I’m learning. Maybe I just like to hear myself think.

And I’ve spent tons of lottery money in the shower but way more while driving. There’s no Mega Millions billboards in my shower after all. I don’t play the lottery, but if I ever were to win, then I’ve got a lot of the tough decisions already made. I’ve held a lot of high-level negotiations in the shower too. Often my singular expertise are needed by the highest echelons of state and corporate leadership. This may be straying from shower thought into make believe, but it’s nonetheless instructive.

Is it possible that the cultural fact (and subreddit for that matter) of shower thoughts is owing to the fact that the shower is the only place that any of us get any peace and quiet? Is this the kind of thinking that people did all the time before the invention of the car radio? We can’t even absent-mindedly watch TV anymore because of smartphones. I bet the Amish still have just a constant procession of shower-type contemplations.

I’m grateful for shower thoughts or driving thoughts or mowing-the-grass thoughts because of their clarity. When you realize something important or maybe something troubling, you can’t run from it or distract yourself. You’ve got a head covered in shampoo and you’re gonna have to face facts. I’ve latched onto some pretty important spiritual realities this way. I’ve got a long commute and many times as the asphalt has droned underneath me, the heavens have opened above me. I’ve made life-changing resolutions while occupied with perfectly banal tasks. And other times I’ve had earth-shattering thoughts like:

If you think you miss the 80’s, try being a soulful saxophone soloist.

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