Demonically possessed gym showers as a conversation starter

At my usual gym there are very few other people who go in the morning before work and we don’t tend to talk very much – mostly due to the antisocial hour combined with the mad rush to cram in a workout and then get clean & changed.

A grunted hello is deemed chatty and anything more is definitely over-sharing except under extraordinary circumstances.

It turns out that all the showers being replaced by new ones which consist of a box with lots of buttons on counts as extraordinary! It has been a group effort to discover how the showers work best and to learn from other peoples’ mistakes.


The fun starts when you first get in as the On button is the same as the Off button – this in itself sounds simple, but it seems to have a 30 second delay, so pressing it doesn’t get instant results and poking it repeatedly & impatiently really doesn’t work!

The pressure dial seems to be entirely for show; the pressure is always the same regardless of where the dial is moved to.

The temperature dial is more of a general indicator of the average water temperature if you were to spend an hour or more in the shower. You think that you’ve got it just right so step under the water just in time for it to change! The actual water temperature that you experience fluxuates between far too hot and horribly too cold without the dial having been touched.


The best that you can hope for is getting it slightly too cold for most of the shower and then you won’t get scalded when the temperature randomly skyrockets. So far these showers are proving more effective at raising heart rates than the recommended workouts that the gym staff sporadically posts on the pin board.

There are a few other buttons and lights on the shower box, but we haven’t yet worked out what those do and given the basic tendency of the shower is suggestive of demonic possession I am in no great hurry to press them.

As for the increased communication with the other people in the gym that isn’t going well, a lady proudly told me that she’d got one particular shower cubicle “just right” and that I should use that one. This reminded me vividly of  Roald Dahl’s descriptions of warming the toilet seats for the older boys during his time at Repton.

I don’t remember much else from ‘Boy’ but that is now ingrained on my memory, so now I can’t look this well-intentioned woman in the eye let along manage a conversation.

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