Now the problem of the giraffe taking a shower is a very serious one which has never really been solved. It is also very much doubtful whether it ever will be solved, since it is such a serious, vexed and great one.
The giraffe taking a shower has the great problem that the water running down his beautiful long ears, along his beautiful long neck, over his delightful belly, and down his beautiful long legs, reaches his exquisite toes when it is unlikely to be quite as warm as it was when it rinsed over those beautiful long ears, some while ago. In fact it is very likely to be rather cold.
Thus the giraffe taking a shower finds himself confronted with the everlasting conundrum of an undisintangleable dilemma. This sounds unlikely, I know, that is we all know, you and I know and everybody we know knows it sounds remarkably unlikely, but it is nevertheless very true: should he, the giraffe taking a shower, risk burning the tips of his beautiful long ears, or perchance freeze to the bone beneath them his so exquisite toes.
If he sets the water temperature too high, he will invariably burn the tips of his beautiful ears, or at the very least get very hot in his head, which is almost equally uncomfortable; does he, however, try to avoid this by tuning the water a little colder, he will of course not burn his ears, but by the time the water will have run down all of his beautiful long neck, his delightful belly will already shiver a little, and when the water finally reaches his exquisite toes it will be plain cold, and he will awfully chill his sensitive foot ends.
So this, as most easily can be understood, is the problem of the giraffe taking a shower. What is he supposed to do: should he drop the idea of having a shower altogether and instead take the occasional bath? That might seem like a sensible solution. But how complicated a thing to do. For a giraffe. No one could expect him to just simply fold his neck when he wants to wash it, and how can he reach his beautiful ears when his beautiful long legs still are not half as long as his beautiful neck?
Oh I can tell you, a giraffe has no easy life to live. His problems are many, and none of them is a small one, let alone short. He or she, the giraffe taking a shower, is a poor creature, just like you and like me.
The conundrum of the three-bed hotel room.
Every standard business hotel seems to have them. I don’t get to stay in business hotels that often since I rarely ‘do business’ as such, but occasionally somebody needs me to be somewhere, and they put me up at a hotel, and while it’s normal for the room I stay in to just be an ordinary double bedroom with an ordinary king or queen size bed, every so often—probably because all the ordinary double bedrooms are booked—they put me in a three-bed room, and my mind fairly boggles: it’s practically never a room with three single beds, it’s usually a room with a not very big double bed and a single bed.
Who stays in these rooms, and how? What do they do there? I try to imagine the scenario, but it doesn’t stay salubrious for very long, and then I take a step back, and I try not to imagine the scenario, but instead the moment somebody says to themselves: well, there are three of us anyway, why don’t we share a room.
Who are these three people? Are they parents and their one, lone and lonely child? That would make some sort of sense, if the child weren’t very small any more, so it wouldn’t be better off in a cot, but not yet grown up enough to want to stay in a room of their own. But why stay in an ugly business hotel if you’re a family of three? Why not go to a nice seaside or mountaintop hotel, or a charming B&B? Maybe they’re visiting the grandparents in this particular city, but the grandparents’ house isn’t big enough to put them all up. But that surely can’t account for the number of these three-bed rooms in these standard business hotels?
Who else travels in threes? Probably not the managers, that seems unlikely. The more lowly personnel who are expected to share rooms, like the sales people? But then how do they do this: do two of them share the double bed, and one sad creature has to sleep alone in the single bed, hugging a pillow? How do they choose who gets to sleep with whom? Do they rotate, if they’re there for more than one night? Are they there for more than one night? What are they there for? The staff conference? Some sales training? An illicit adventure? A chance to experiment with their respective gender and sexual identities? And how do they cope with the bathroom situation? The questions are virtually endless…
I keep my door ajar, habitually. Not when I’m staying at hotels, of course, business or otherwise, but when I’m at home or sometimes when I’m staying at a very good friend’s house. I like the idea of my bedroom not being closed. It’s not as if I was expecting anybody to come and join me in my bed, it’s just that I like the idea of the air circulating, and my sleeping self not being entirely confined to a closed room. I also sleep with the window slightly up and the blinds or curtains open. I like seeing a bit of the night time sky as I’m falling asleep, especially if there’s a cool moon, and I like being woken up by the rays of the sun alighting on the tip of my nose. I may make an exception to all and any of these behaviours, as and when that seems advisable, which sometimes it is…
At home, my comparatively small bedroom has a very small ensuite bathroom, but I like that bathroom, because it has an actual bath in it, and I like to read in the bath. In fact, I read books almost exclusively in the bath, because I daren’t take my phone or my laptop to the bath lest I should drop them, or they should otherwise get wet, and I hardly ever get around to reading books anywhere else, since by the time I usually go to bed I’m too tired to read, and so I just maybe post a picture of the day to Instagram or watch a video on YouTube or Facebook.
I could read on the tube, of course, but I don’t have a daily or otherwise regular commute, and when I do use the tube I like to play Jass on my app; and when I’m on a train above ground during the daytime I like to look out of the window and ponder the imponderables (such as the conundrum of the three-bed hotel room), or if it is night time, I’m more likely to be doing some work on my laptop.
In the book I am reading in the bath at the moment, Becoming a Londoner, which I’m almost certain my very first boyfriend in London who is now still a very good friend gave me relatively recently, the diarist David Plante writes, “the unintended is truer than the intended.” He in one succinct sentence answers one of the most enduring questions I’ve had as a writer and as a human being: how is it that I so avoid the plan and favour the detour, that I so value serendipity over completion, that I so relish the random more than I delight in the foreseeable and foreseen? Because they are true. Truer at any rate than anything we think we control. That’s why, I’m sure, we all of us, one way or another, seek abandon; gay, or otherwise.
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EDEN was originally published in random order. Starting 1st August 2018 it is being reposted in sequence. To follow it, choose from the subscribe options in the lefthand panel (from a laptop) or in the drop-down menu (from a mobile device).
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