Let me begin by saying I love our apartment here in Hannover, Germany. I love it! My wife did a spectacular job finding us the perfect living space in the perfect neighborhood. I’ve been living here since September and I have no complaints whatsoever. No complaints, that is, except one: the shower.
There is no fan in our bathroom. You see that window in the picture above? It doesn’t open. See that fan-looking hole on the right? That’s not a fan; it’s a simple duct connected to each apartment in our building from the ground floor all the way up to the top. It is the reason we catch whiffs of cigarette smoke drifting into our apartment from time to time. (I suspect it comes from those old, sour-faced cancer-donkeys living beneath us.)
Without proper ventilation, our bathroom fogs up something fierce whenever one of us takes a shower. To compensate, The Wife and I plug an oscillating fan into the wall and set it precariously on top of the medicine cabinet. It doesn’t do much for the condensation on the mirror, but it does a fantastic job of reminding me I will someday be electrocuted as I scrub my pink parts.
Not only is our shower stall tiny, but it has no shower curtain; only the cold, unforgiving sliding glass walls you see in the picture above. Before arriving in Germany, I never realized how much space I really need in order to cleanse my American body. I mean, I knock my elbows into everything. The sliding walls, tiles, mirror, bottle racks, shower handle… I’m like the Tasmanian Devil in there.
And there is this one special moment — it happens during every shower — when my vision goes red and I experience a perfect, poetic sort of blind rage. It’s after I have managed to smash my extremities into every single object around me. After I have dropped my razor for the third time, bent over to retrieve it and knocked a bottle rack from the wall with my forehead, sending my wife’s girly hair products clattering to the floor. It’s right when I am standing back up, about to take a deep breath and count to ten… when I bonk the back of my head against the hot water controller.
Instantly, scalding hot water sears my flesh and sends me up to Rage Level: Bill O’Reilly (Warning, video contains awesome swearing). That’s when I slap the lever back toward cold, which hoses me down with an arctic blast so cold my plums shrivel up and let me know they won’t be making another appearance until spring.
There is one good thing about German showers, however; the shower heads are mounted on handles. I haven’t seen too many showers with handles in the States — mostly in fancy hotel rooms — but Germans love ’em. And I am forced to admit it is quite nice to direct the flow of water wherever I want it, even though the rest of the shower makes me so angry I could flip off a box of kittens.
But let’s not kid ourselves here; shower handles are unnecessary. The only reason Germans like shower handles is because they let you spray warm water directly on your cinnamon ring.
Click here to learn more about the term “Culture Shock.”
For another great article complaining about German showers, check out The Adventures of Heidi Hefeweizen.
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