two thousand twenty
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By John Addyman

   Having adventures in the shower this week.
   We’re getting our floors refinished and, since I’m allergic to the sanding dust and the vapors from the floor finish, I decided to move out for a couple of days.
   I think I decided to move out.
   My wife talked to me about it.
   “Why don’t you move out for a couple of days?’ she suggested.
   “I think I might want to be out of the house for a couple of days while all the dust is flying and the finish is drying on the floors,” I suggested.
   “Good idea!” she said. “Why don’t you move out for a couple of days?”
   “You could leave tonight,” she added brightly.  

   “The floor guys don’t get here for another week,” I said.
   “Oh. Well, when they get here, you could move out for a week. That’s a good amount of time for everything to settle and dry,” she said, smiling.
   “The floor guy said everything would be dry and the vapors all gone after three days,” I said.
   “Is that all?” she asked  “Three days?”
   So we established that three days would do it. But where to go? I called my daughter Amy, and asked if she could put me up for three nights.
   “HOW long?” Amy asked.
   “Just three days,” I said, feeling a headache coming on.
   “How about TWO days?” Amy suggested. Actually, two days would be about perfect, I figured. Pretty much everything would be dry and more or less vapor-free by the evening of the third day, and that’s when I’d be heading home.
   Amy and her husband, Chad, were more than gracious. I had a great dinner on my first night there, got to bed early, and slept. I also got to spend a couple of hours with my grandkids Lucie and Jeremy climbing all over me. Much fun.
   I knew I’d be taking a shower in what is the kids’ bathroom, so I checked it out before I turned in for the night, and didn’t see any Granddad-type towels. I asked Amy about it.
   “Towels are in the bedroom,” she said, “and I’ll put a bar of soap in the tub for you.” I was going to be up and out before anyone else in the morning, so I was assured of having the shower to myself.
   Chad found a clock radio for me to use as an alarm – a radio I knocked over three times during the night – so at 6:30 a.m., I was roused from sleep and made my way into the bathroom.
   There used to be a time when I was already on the road for a 53-mile commute to work at 6:30 a.m., but those days are gone, and 6:30 a.m. comes pretty early for me these days. I was a little groggy as I got into the shower and got the water flowing at the right temperature.
   Something was poking me in the behind.
   No, it wasn’t one of my grandkids poking me, it was a Disney princess.
   I could tell right away I was in the tub with Disney princesses because I stepped on someone’s tiara.
   The name of the particular princess who goosed me escapes me, but it was the one with both arms raised over her head, carefully placed in a little net that hangs on the side of the shower. Alongside her were Barbie – I know her from having three daughters – and Ariel, the Little Mermaid (she was the one with clamshells over her bosoms), and another princess.
   Lucie, of course, put the princesses and Barbie in the tub to play with. Right next to her stash of plastic pulchritude was Jeremy’s pile of bath cups to splash water with, and a set of sponge letters and numbers to write messages on the side of the tub.
   “There are also some crayons in the tub, if you want to write something, Granddad” Jeremy had told me the night before.
   I moved the princess a little so I wouldn’t have any more surprises when I bent over to wash my toes.
   Now I was ready to wash my hair.
   I had left my shampoo in the bedroom. So, in an any-port-in-the-storm move, I grabbed Lucie’s orange mango outburst shampoo and lathered up. Seconds later, I smelled like I’d stuck my head in a pitcher full of Margaritas.
   My hair done, I looked around for the bar of soap I was promised. No soap. On the shelf where I’d gotten the shampoo was a squeeze bottle of Hello Kitty Body Wash, with its cotton candy scent.
   That any-port-in-a-storm thing kicked in again, and I lathered up in a cotton candy froth.
   Which leads me to the last time I was at a circus. I was about 10 or 11. My parents bought me cotton candy to eat. I threw up in the bleachers just as the elephants were going by in the opening parade. Keep that thought in mind for a minute…
   I was now rinsed and squeaky clean and climbing out of the tub. The row of Barbie and the princesses were smiling at me. I had to clear my eyes for a second because I could have sworn one of them was winking at me.
   Time to shave. But I had no soap, and I was done with the cotton candy stuff. Amy had a little applicator bottle of some kind of hand soap on the sink, so I figured that would do. I picked the bottle up. It was Glow in the Dark foaming hand wash, with a black cat on the label.
   “Wait a minute,” I said to myself. “Does this stuff glow in the dark? Am I going to glow in the dark if I shave with it?”
   I put a glop of the stuff in my hands, lathered up, and hit the light switch with my elbow.
   The bathroom was completely dark. My hands weren’t glowing…but the label on the hand soap was glowing, with yellow eyes staring at me in the dark…and my daughter buys this for the kids? Spooky.
   I attend nursing school, and for the whole drive there, I kept smelling the orange mango and cotton candy fragrances working their way through the car. Opening the windows only intensified everything.
   Settling into my seat at school, I took off my jacket, and the warmth of the ride evaporated all those fragrant odors again. One of the women sitting in front of me perked up immediately, sniffing the air.
   “Does anybody think it smells like a circus midway in here?” she asked.


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