I like to take showers around midnight. The feeling of being naked and free before sleep calms my mind. There is a sense of tranquility that is communicated to me through the act of taking a hot shower. I have often thought of showering around midnight as a kind relaxing prayer- a ritual that encourages the transmigration of my soul. It is a time to reflect upon all that has gone on during the course of the day and all I can do differently tomorrow. Every person must have a sanctuary that makes him or her feel like an actor on a stage- the shower happens to be mine.
However wonderful and enlightened all of this may sound to you- I can not claim that it is the real reason why I like to take showers around midnight. Instead, I like to shower at this hour simply because of one simple and routine object, a window. The window is a small square domestic window that sits about head level with me when I take a shower. However, this window is not any ordinary window to me. Instead, the window is my curtain and the shower is my stage. During the day I have to shower with the window closed because it looks out onto a busy street filled with pedestrians and noise. It is only at around midnight when the audience quiets down that I can open my curtain and be exposed to the world.
The street outside my bathroom window is a typical suburban street. Clean sidewalks, a maintained bus stop, freshly mowed lawns and a few signs that read “Please Do Not Let Your Dog Poop On This Lawn.” After midnight the street is somnolent and calm- not a sign in the air that a single person is out of bed. I like to rest my head on the window ledge and watch the tranquil world outside while the warm water rushes over me. “To be or not to be: that is the question. Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or take arms against a sea of troubles,” I recite out loud as I observe the stars in the sky, the colors of the various porch lights, the wind gently pushing along fallen leaves and the occasional passing car.
Yesterday, I got my big break. I was working in my front yard pulling weeds and planting when I suddenly felt a tap on my back (being unemployed has freed up a lot of time for me to do trivial domestic chores. I cannot afford to go out into the world so I entertain myself by planting flowers, sweeping the driveway, cleaning the house and watering the lawn). Standing before me was a girl in her early twenties. She wore running shorts that revealed her long legs and a tight tank top that exposed a good chunk of her breasts. She was sweating like she was in the middle of a run. On her tanned face sat a smile that made me feel slightly at ease when she asked me for my real name. For a brief moment I felt that magical feeling like I was living in a scene from a movie where an older man is out working in the fields, shirtless and lifts his sweaty and sun-baked head only to notice a beautiful young lady standing before him (on tip toes), eager to throw herself upon him. Unlike the movies- she did not throw herself upon me and I was a bit hesitant in my insecure response. I took a deep breath and said, “Why do you want to know?” She looked deep into my eyes and replied, “I am doing you a favor mister. If you do not tell me your real name everyone is going to keep on calling you the midnight shower man.”
I was shocked. No, humiliated would be more like it. I was exposed. Deep down I knew that I had gotten exactly what I wanted (a cute woman watching me while I performed), but I was surprised by how embarrassed I felt. I made up a fake name because I was worried that this information could get back to my wife. I tried to play the you got the wrong guy routine for a while but my bluff was already called. She told me that she knew my face like the cover of her favorite book because night after night her friends and her watched me standing there in the shower staring up into the stars while talking to myself. She tried to reassure me that her and her friends all thought I was very romantic and cute……… and that she was my biggest fan.
I have no plans to stop taking my midnight showers. Nor am I going to close my window now that I know that there are eyes out there in the darkness watching me. Instead, I will give them exactly what they want- a naked man, a naked romantic man taking a shower and reciting lines from Hamlet. This may seem like no big thing to you- but being unemployed and living in a small town where I do not know a single soul, has made me yearn for an ounce of fame. Even though I know the academy will never acknowledge this role- I am determined to play it out the best I can. Now when I shower I am sure to look good. I comb my hair and sometimes do pushups before, in order to make my muscles look more defined. I am aware of the angle that I use when resting my head on the window ledge so that I will look just right under the moonlight. Now, somewhere out there in the darkness I have an audience to whom I must perform. It is not the biggest role that a man can play, this is for sure– but I am a man who is broke and out of work and “Midnight Shower Man” at least has a few adoring fans. This is good enough for me.