Sunday, May 04, 2003

Bathing While Car Living
My most sublime joy, during hobo experiment #1, was bathing in the river. I'd seen people doing this in India all the time but never realized how wonderful it was. After a sweaty game of Ultimate Frisbee I'd rush over to the Broad River... carry a towel and some Bronners soap... and walk out onto the rocks. The water was cool but not too cold... a refreshing wake-up call in fact!

I bathed and rinsed quickly to avoid detection... but would often sit for a long time in the water and watch the sky, the trees, the birds. On several occaisons I saw a large heron swoop gracefully down the length of the river. The sun was hot on my face, the water cool,... the trees danced in the breeze. I felt connected to it all. And so I had the sense of purifying my mind while washing my body. These river-baths are one of my fondest memories of that summer.

Obviously, such a technique is not suitable (for me anyway) in colder weather. So I've developed some other options. First is the sponge bath. I bought a sponge and a quick drying towel. I hide these in a bookbag and carry them into a public restroom... one that can be locked. I then strip down and take a sponge bath... using the sink. I try to squeeze the excess water back into the sink, though the floor inevitably gets quite wet. Once I dry off and re-dress, I use paper towels to soak up the water I have splashed around. Its important to clean up afterward in order to avoid detection and complaints... after all... you will want to come back again.

Another option is the super-speed outdoor method. I put on a bathing suit, park my car in a hidden area, and then use the water in my two gallon storage container. I prop this container on the roof of the van and then pour a bit over my body. I soap up and then use the rest of the water to rinse. In cool/cold temperatures its best to warm the water... either by filling up with hot water somewhere.... or by putting the storage container near a heat vent in the car (while driving... it can take some time for this method to work). After rinsing I strip off the bathing suit, wring it out, quickly towel off... then jump into the van to get dressed. A camping "sun shower" could also be used for this method... they are designed to heat up when put in the sun (on a dashboard for example). These are available from campmor or from most mega-mart stores.

Finally, there is the luxury method-- a gym membership. This is the method I am now using, as I am currently working. My gym is open 24 hours a day so I can shower/shave any time I want. This is a great option for people who are working or who have significant savings. And hell, you might even get in better shape.

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