Monday, July 10, 2017
The College Just off the Highway
During our travels this summer we ventured onto an interstate we don’t often use mostly it’s because it’s so far away from home. As we drove I saw the sign for a small college that was not too far off the exit of the country town we were passing. It brought back a vivid memory from some years ago.
Katie had permitted me to head north to do some backpacking. When I pack I bring only the clothes I’m wearing. Whatever other clothes I pack are additional layers for those morning and evening hours when the temps are low as well as rain gear. I don’t change clothes when I backpack. I’m not out there to look good. I’m out there to exercise and see places most don’t ever get to see.
After hiking out to the trailhead on the final morning I tossed my gear into the trunk of the car and started the drive home. Eventually I came upon civilization and went through the drive-thru to get some food and continued on. I didn’t dare go into the restaurant – even if it was just a fast-food joint. My presence there would have woken even the sleepiest of teens with an olfactory overload. I ate in the car and kept driving.
It wasn’t long before I realized I needed to cleanse my body from its raunchiness. How to do that was the issue. I didn’t want to check into a hotel just to shower. There wasn’t a shower option at any of the interstate rest/bathroom areas. I did notice the plethora of bridges that spanned the many streams that drained the mountain foothills.
“I could pull over and strip down and bathe in one of those?”
“You’re crazy. What if a State Trooper pulls over to see why the car is unattended?”
The pros and cons of taking a freezing cold stream/river bath raged for many miles. That’s when I saw the sign for the college a mile ahead. It was summer. School was out; well at least all but the summer students were gone. Every college has a gym. Every school has a locker room. I headed for the exit and eventually found the building I sought.
Now came the next hurdle: I was locked! I was also man-scaped down below. I could deal with the looks from others at thinking I looked like I was 11 years old down there while showering in one of the gang-shower rooms. (Aren’t all men’s locker rooms in colleges/university of the ‘gang’ variety?) But to do so while locked was an entirely different dilemma.
What to do? Bottom line….. I stunk. I had been hiking for a few days. It was summer. I needed to get clean. I wanted to at least smell good when I got home and greeted Katie. I knew she would not appreciate me in the least coming home as I appeared and smelled now.
I parked the car and found my way to the locker room. Fortunately there was no one there. Perfect!!! Undressing, I grabbed my towel and nonchalantly covered the front of my midsection and walked into the shower. Without waiting for the water to warm I dealt with the freezing water until the temp rose and quickly showered. It felt wonderful. Just as I was about to finish I heard voices. It was from two old guys probably coming to shower after playing racquetball or squash. I finished, dried myself and just as I finished wrapping my towel around my waist they came into the tiled room.
I left there smelling like roses and didn’t have to deal with looks, questions or requests to explain my ‘under attire’.
As Katie and I traveled past that same exit this year I reminded her, “That was the college where I showered after backpacking a few years ago.”
“She nodded her remembrance but didn’t say much.”
“I was locked back then, you know.”
“I remember,” was all she said. It was as if it wasn’t a big deal to her and I guess in hindsight it wasn’t. But it was a very big deal to me. I wasn’t ready to come out of the closet to reveal my locked-submissiveness then and really have no desire to do so now. I will if I must but only if I must.