Wow. Is this three posts in three days? It's like the good old days. Remember those? So, today I wake up and go through my normal routine. Read e-mails, listen to voicemails, eat some breakfast, say hi to my beautiful fishies, etc. Time for the shower.
I turn the water to hot and weigh myself while I wait for it to heat up. 139. Damn. That's really skinny. I eat a lot of salmon. Shouldn't I weigh more? I check the water - it's still cold. I brush my teeth while I wait.
It doesn't usually take this long, but ever since I got this hippie low flow showerhead that removes chlorine, it takes longer to heat up. I freestyle in front of the mirror.
It's still cold. Something's wrong. I go check my stove - it won't work either. Dammit. They turned off my gas. For the first four years I lived here, my gas was directly debited from my checking account. This was a good system. All of a sudden they stopped, but I keep forgetting to check my bills. They're just not that interesting. Yep. I'm a deadbeat.
I have to take a shower. Normally a huge wimp with cold water I stick my leg in. Not so bad. I slowly inch forward appendage by appendage until I'm mostly within the showerhead's deadly aim.
Maybe because of years of conditioning, only taking showers with hot water, the water actually feels warm. As soon as I remember it's cold, it feels cold again. I try to imagine that it's a warm shower and it actually works. I continue my shower as I normally would and dry off.
Then it hits me - that wasn't so bad. I'm moving in a month or so (you won't believe where! I'll write about it once it's finalized), so I figure that I can just take cold showers for a month. I don't need the gas to heat the house, obviously, and I don't really need to use the stove.
So, if you see me in a month or so and realize I have gained a tremendous amount of character, now you know why.
I still remember a system that existed for getting used to cold showers. You would use your regular temperature and then make it cold for just a few seconds.
So every minute you would spend a few seconds under the ice-cold (don't think about it) water. You would increase the ratio of the time spent in the cold until at the end of the week most of your shower would be in cold water.
Maybe this works on the same principle... you just associate the warm water with the shower even though it's actually cold.
This was going to be a long sweeping article about how wrong we are when we care about different things: how many megapixels a camera has, how much electricity we use by keeping the lights on, using cell phones on airplanes, and swimming in the water when there's lightning out. But instead of trying to weave all those things together, I'm going to focus on the biggest one.
This one is near and dear to me, because I am a bad showerer and I got in trouble for it as a kid. I'd wake up on a cold New England morning, snow outside, and tip toe across the cold wood floors.
A few months ago, I set out to test cold showers. Here's what I wrote for my experimental mission statement:
People are raving about what hormetic opponent process magic silver bullet it is to take cold showers. A little research gave supposed benefits of increasing circulation, mood, immunity, fertility, energy, exercise recovery, fat loss, mental alertness, pain and stress tolerance, cold tolerance, and skin and hair health. They're even supposed to stop depression and hair loss and tumors. I'm going to alternate two weeks of cold showers with two weeks of hot showers for the next two months and see what actually happens.
So excepting two days of each condition when traveling, every day for two months I woke up, did a 10-minute workout, immediately took a 7-minute shower, recorded my energy, mood, and shower discomfort, and took an 8-minute Quantified Mind battery. This wouldn't tell me anything about skin health and tumors, but it would get the main thing: does a cold shower begin one's day more vigorously than a hot shower?
There were no observable differences on any Quantified Mind tests, suggesting that the brain does not care about the water temperature.