I haven't had a shower for a few days, and I feel dirty.
It's not actually my fault. There's something wrong with the plumbing in our share house. Water doesn't drain out of the sinks. Using the dishwasher floods the kitchen. Our radiator may have been fixed, but the leak in the kitchen ceiling is back, meaning that anyone using the bathroom - including the shower - is at risk of causing an electrical short (a power socket, linked to the toasted sandwich maker, is directly underneath the leak).
It's dangerous. (Everyone in this house is being evicted, so we're trying to look for somewhere else to live, which is proving fruitless - nowhere wants to house couples, or people who earn less than £2bn a month, in North London. But we're still here... for now.)
The shower we've got is not even particularly nice. I was spoiled at SH, where there was a really good, powerful, steamy pod shower - self-contained, enclosed, a world of water and scent and steam and full nudity. I spend a very long time in the shower, having grown up taking baths until my skin prevented me from doing so, concentrating on soaping every single area, from my temples to the skin between my toes, my back, arse and perineum, both inside and outside my foreskin, shampooing all my hair (all of it) and conditioning it too (yes, really!), the water cascading over my body, washing away a multitude of sins.
It's a world away from furtive blasts of too-hot, too-cold water, intermittently sprayed from a hand-held shower head from Poundland, hastily (and sparingly) rubbing Lush shower gel all over before my skin dries out. This, added to the knowledge that whatever ends up going down the plughole will contribute to the steady drip onto the kitchen counter (even if it does have the aroma of candyfloss!), doesn't make for a pleasurable experience. The worlds that blossom in my head under the influence of water are still there, up to a point (I thought of the name "Innocent Loverboy" in the shower), but they flicker like a broken reel of film - as opposed to the flawless HD to which I'm used - and I emerge raw, dishevelled, and thoroughly dissatisfied.
Fear of the unknown, of leak-related guilt, of tiredness getting in the way, and of who-knows-what-else?, have stopped me from showering in the past week. I'm wounded, flaky, itchy and covered with HAIR, and in a funk which needs to be, if nothing else, thoroughly washed away.
Thursday is my birthday.
I am spending the afternoon locked into my parents' bathroom, and I am not coming out until finally scrubbed to an angelic shine.
And then we'll see who's feeling dirty.