Things I hate #26

Hotel shower controls.

The principle behind a shower is quite simple. There are two elements – the pressure that the water comes out, and the heat of that water. And that’s it. Job done. We’re not talking about trying to fly a Chinook helicopter in a heavy cross wind while coming under fire from rebel fighters. No need for gyroscopes or cyclic control. No need to concern yourself with anti-torque or worry about the tail rotor while balancing the needs of the throttle. And yet Vietnam Vets – who flew Super Hueys into the Mekong Delta while dodging incoming bazooka shots from the Vietcong – stand in tears when confronted by the Mira shower in the Jury’s Inn,
Edinburgh. Men who saw action in the Falklands, flying Westland Wessex choppers through the worst weather the South Atlantic could throw at them to deliver its payload of an SAS counter-insurgent unit, whilst skirting 30mm Hispania Suiza anti-aircraft fire from the Argentine troops, shiver frantically under freezing cold water whilst stood in a shower cubicle at the Premier Inn, Heathrow. Because every single fucking hotel shower controller is like a puzzle. It turns getting washed into a stage of the Krypton Factor. Stood there with your exfoliating Lynx shower gel in one hand and a loofah in the other, it’s like being confronted by a Rubik’s cube.

The Aztecs played a game called Ulama. Some people claim it’s a forerunner to modern day football. Unfortunately, the Premier League has failed to adopt one of the key principles of Ulama – the defeated team is not ritually sacrificed in front of the baying, Pukka-pie eating crowd or to the wider viewing public in the beauty of HDTV. However, faced with the enigmatic ring of concentric circles and confusing symbols, the Aztecs would have understood the principle behind the hotel shower. It’s a game with consequences. A puzzle that will make you pay if you get it wrong. Too hot, too cold, fuck all. Take your pick. Death or Glory.

The problem is compounded by the shoddy and over-stretched plumbing in most budget priced hotels – despite what Lenny
Henry might say. There you are, locked in a room on the Crystal Maze, thirty seconds to go, twist anti-clockwise and for a few brief seconds it’s all fine, you’re on your way to victory, two degrees too far and you’ll strip the skin from your chest and turn your genitals into a blistering mass of pain. Safe crackers have easier days at work than I have trying to get the temperature right on a Triton Castelle shower in the Four Pillars, Witney. Waiting for the tumblers to drop as you turn the inner dial against the outer and press the button on the gauge which then means you have to twist the inner outer dial against the outer inner dial, and it still dribbles out like a geriatric snowman with prostate trouble taking a piss. Only much much colder and far less powerful. I fucking hate them.


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