For many years, I thought that if only everyone in the world could get a hot shower every morning, we would have world peace. For myself, a shower in the morning was a given before just about anything.
Recently, I’ve come to the realization that there might be another way. It started when I was visiting Sarah in Amsterdam in 2013. She had a room in a house and one of the other roomers very graciously found another place to stay for the week or so that I was there. It was winter and, although we rode bikes everywhere, I wasn’t doing much sweating in the cold weather.
Europe, in my experience, is much more attuned to the need to cherish our limited resources. The extensive train system is well known. In Holland, there are many thousands of bikes in use on dedicated bike paths. The houses are smaller in every way, except perhaps the ceilings as the Dutch are tall.
So I didn’t shower every day and I found that I didn’t get all itchy. Or, rather, my skin passed through the itchy stage into a comfortable stasis.
When I got home, it took a while to really learn this lesson. As the drought worsened in California, I eventually remembered my Holland experience and resolved to shower less to save water. I found that showering every other day, or sometimes every third day, was sufficient to keep me clean and not smelly.
I do wash my hands often as that is a disease vector, and I keep my face clean. I have a filter on my shower head that is supposed to be good for 10,000 gallons. The paperwork that comes with it says it should be changed ‘with normal use’ every six months. I did a calculation. If I use 15 gallons of water in a 5 or 6 minute shower, I can shower 667 times before changing the filter. At, say, 200 showers a year, that’s 3 1/2 years of use!