Electric Showers. Americans are like, “WHAT?!”
I never occurred to me that that I took water pressure for granted. Spoiled American that I am, I assumed that in any country in the western world, hot water would spring from the hot water tap at any time: day or night. I understood a shower to be this: plentiful warm (sometimes hot) water cascading over my head and body for as long I wanted.
When I moved to Dublin in 2001, I (and the twelve other Spoiled Americans I was sharing a house with) had to be given a lesson on how to work the showers in our bathrooms. They were all electric. We were shown how to pull a cord by the door, which “turned the shower on”. There were then two nozzels on the shower box; one signified pressure, one temperature, which you could adjust to meet your personal needs. No amount of fiddling would ever meet our Spoiled American needs.
We cracked jokes about the dribble of water that came out of the spout, discussed at length how to get the temperature just right (we could have written three hundred words on the fluctuations between luke-warm and scalding), and we ladies gave each other demonstrations about how to shave your legs in the tiny space with very little water.
You would think we were living in a country entirely different to our own, and so proud at our dedication to the new experience.
When C and I were looking to move house two and a half years ago, not having an electric shower was high on the list. We had been living in a house that had been renovated by an American. The shower was full-on American: plentiful, powerful and hot. Not going back to an electric shower was a big deal. That and having gas hobs in the kitchen. Gas hobs and not an electric shower. Not easy to find. We did find them tucked into a perfect, if tiny, home. (This perfect home we have since discovered was designed and owned by a famous convicted murder. No big deal. He definitely had his appliances down.)
Very close family friends own a house in Kinvara, Galway. He is born and raised there. Cold, dribbly showers is what he was reared on. Thirty years of living in the States however, has lead him to apologize profusely every time someone says they are going for a shower in his Kinvara home.
I still groan when I see that I have to survive an electric shower. I’ve never really got the knack of it. You can take the American out of America, but obviously getting rid of the “Spoiled” descriptor is much harder.