Ice Station Amarillo
I awoke with the sound of Lance punching buttons on the hotel phone. Lance had several conversations with hotel staff that morning, they progressed like this:
First Call: Hello, this is room 222. We don’t have any hot water…you say you’re working on it…okay. Thank you.
Ten Minutes Later
Second Call: Yeah. Room 222 still doesn’t have any hot water…it’s been running for ten minutes now…okay, I’ll give it five more minutes. Bye.
Five Minutes Later Exactly
Third Call: There’s still no hot water, and if I’m not mistaken it’s actually getting colder…(grudgingly) I’ll give it a few more minutes.
A Few Minutes Later
Fourth Call: What the hell? Is there going to be hot water or not?…Are you serious?…What the hell? Why didn’t you tell me that in first place?
“Guess what,” Lance said as jammed the phone receiver back into its place.
“I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark and go with: there’s no hot water,” I replied.
“The hot water pipes froze and burst, and they’re still waiting on the plumber to get here.”
“What the hell, why didn’t they just tell you that in the first place?”
So Lance, Matt, and myself all took pseudo-showers.
A pseudo-shower consists of standing well out of the stream of water, lathering yourself up and rinsing yourself off with a washcloth that you repeatedly shove into the stream of water.
Note: If water freezes at 32.0 degrees Fahrenheit, this water was 32.1 degrees Fahrenheit.
The process was proceeding with minimal discomfort until I attempted to wash my hair. My hair lathered up nicely, but when I tried to rinse it out, it just seemed to lather more. I rinsed out the washcloth, wet it down and tried again. It lathered more. What kind of shampoo was this? It’s like those trick birthday candles that you can’t blow out.
Note: You blow them out–they relight. You blow them out–they relight. You blow them out–they relight. You blow them out–they relight. You smash the cake into a cousin’s face. Small children weep and your grandmother curses you out. How is that fun?
I came to the stark realization that I needed to stick my head directly into the stream. I took a deep breath, shoved my head under the water and began to scrub the shampoo out as quickly as I could.
At first it seemed to lather up even more. Suds were coming out my hair like clowns out of a Volkswagen. A wave of water washed down my back, it was really freaking cold. After about ten seconds of furious rinsing, the lather was completely out of my hair.
I stepped back, gasping for air, my body shuddering from the cold.
Then it was Al’s turn.
He stepped out of the bathroom looking pale and shivering. He looked like a rat that was drowned, revived, beaten and drowned again.
Note: Al always looked that way, but this was even more so.
“That’s worst shower I’ve even taken,” Al said.
“You took an actual shower?”
“Yeah. Didn’t all of you?”
“No. No we did not.”
“But you all said you did.”
Al was so ticked off, he marched down to the front desk and got the bill reduced by half. He claimed it was because he was persuasive. I think it was because they felt sorry for him.