The Little Voice

My shower has a curtain. As anyone with a shower curtain knows, they don’t like to stay still when the water is running. They’d much rather stick to your leg, or arms, or anywhere, really. It’s an air pressure thing, and the best way to avoid it…is to not have a shower curtain.

In my little “how can I soap myself curtain-free?” dance after my initial water-only rinse, I’ve tried everything over the years. I’ve turned the shower head away. I’ve blasted the bottom part of the curtain with water, trying to get it to stick to the tub. I’ve opened the curtain halfway, hoping it would equalize the air pressure. I’ve even tried folding the curtain in just the right places so it’ll stick to itself instead of me — all to no avail.

This morning, however, a miracle happened. When I opened my body wash bottle, a little voice spoke up in my head. It only said five words: “Just turn off the water.”

Oh. My. God. What a revelation! Of course! Just turn off the water! Instead of creating this weird air pressure imbalance and then trying to tiptoe around it, I can cut it off at the source! How have I not seen this before? I was flabbergasted. I turned off the water, and lo and behold, the curtain stayed perfectly still. I soaped myself in pure happiness, turned the water back on, and voilà: the perfect shower.

Now, I know what you’re about to say: “Welcome to life, numbnuts! We’ve been doing this all along! Every ten-year-old knows this is the way!” And to that I say, you’re right. I had no idea. It was a total, embarrassing, all-overshadowing blindspot.

Case in point: I turn the water off all the time in my parents’ house. There, we have one of those overhead rain showers, and pausing the water is pretty much the only way to soap yourself properly. Funny how that works, isn’t it?

I’ve lived in my flat for over four years. I’ve showered in that shower a thousand times. Literally. Yet not once did it occur to me to “Just turn off the water.” Until today.

No matter how smart you are, how familiar you are with something, or how long you’ve been performing a certain task, there’ll always be things you miss. Things you don’t see, despite them being right in front of your eyes. No one gets through life without blindspots. We’re all prone to bias and error.

It’s a noble pursuit to try and eliminate mental flaws from the get-go, but even though we can make progress, it’s a craft we’ll never perfect. Therefore, the best thing we can do when a blindfold is ripped from our eyes is to not get angry. Be thankful. Accept the new reality, and move on with your day.

Why didn’t the little voice tell me to turn off the water sooner? I have no idea. I wish it did. But it chose today. There’s no saying when the little voice will speak up to share its wisdom. We can’t force it to spill its secrets — but we can listen when it does.

Life humbles us all when we need it. Remember to turn off the water, and pay attention to the little voice.