It’s 6:15,” I mumbled, reaching for the alarm. Trying to shake myself free from semi-consciousness, I continued, “Good morning!” No response from my roommate. Talking until 3:00 a.m., we knew it’d be more like a nap than a night’s rest… but that’s typical at Youth Camp.
“L-y-n-n,” I whined, “who’s showering first?”
That triggered her. “After all these years you have to ask?” Rolling over she buried her head under-the-covers. She was right. I was the morning person; she was the night owl.
Quietly I wrestled my feet out from the covers and onto the cold concrete floor. As my eyes adjusted to the dark cinderblock room, I located my flashlight. Shedding light on the messy floor didn’t simplify navigating around Lynn’s suitcases, clothes, and shoes. We were Felix and Oscar, but we worked well together.
Lord, you know I love being a Counselor, but these facilities… yeah, they’re nicer than the guys’ cabins but that doesn’t make me feel better... guys like back-to-nature… I don’t!
Where can I put my stuff? This sink’s disgusting. That shower stall is gross. The mold, the rust; I hope my husband’s keeping the house clean. I’m glad he can’t see this health-hazard or he’ll settle for cheaper motels.
Whose test results proved paper-lined toilet seats protect… Charmin? The evangelist said “Be thankful wherever you find yourself.” I’d like to see how thankful he’d be in this bathroom!
Standing-up I turned to flush the toilet. Nothing. I jiggled the handle, silence. Closing the lid, I prepared to shower, until…
“Now what?” she moaned from the bedroom.
“There’s NO WATER! We can’t shower before staff meeting.”
“GOOD – another thirty minutes of sleep!” she muttered, tossing on the old mattress.
That was Lynn, taking everything in stride. Not me, I wanted to summon the cavalry.
How can I not shower or wash my hair? My heart raced as I dressed in the dilapidated bathroom. Maybe it’s just our building. I’ll catch a shower in Building 4.
Abruptly, someone knocked on our door. Yes, help has arrived.
“Ladies, da waterline’s busted and dar ain’t no water anywhere, even da kitchen. Appreciate if ya’d spread da word to yur gurls.”
With tear-filled eyes I whispered, “How can I brush my teeth?”
“YOU’RE IMPOSSIBLE!” Lynn scoffed from under the covers. “Who’ll notice? No-one else can either.”
She was right in theory, but in principle, I didn’t care. I wasn’t going to the staff meeting without brushing my teeth. Determined, I pressed on to find a way. Yes! A liquid on Lynn’s nightstand...
“Ah, Lynn, are you done with your drink?”
Chuckling, Lynn responded, “Knock yourself out if it makes you feel better.”
Ecstatic with my find, I rushed to the bathroom.
First, I squeezed a perfect ribbon of toothpaste onto my toothbrush. Next, I began methodically brushing each tooth as always, yet it felt better somehow. I was proud of my ingenious solution. I won’t allow circumstances to keep me from my goal. No settling for breath mints.
My mouth was getting dry, so I dipped my toothbrush into the can. What a wonderful, effervescent feeling! I may never brush with water again.
It was time to rinse. I took a hearty swig from the can. What's this weird sensation? There was fizzing, foaming, and frothing inside my mouth. Looking at the can, I read “Cola.” Then why does it feel like…
Suddenly I was a human volcano spewing foam and toothpaste. Grabbing the faucet, I remembered, NO WATER! Okay, I’ll keep rinsing with Cola until it stops.
Well, it didn’t. Foam oozed out to my face and hands. Plan B. Grabbing a towel, I began wiping my tongue and inside my mouth. More towels… the relentless sticky foam was difficult to conquer. Diligently I rubbed away the evidence from my mouth, face, hands, clothes and the bathroom.
Only one telltale witness remained. Lynn.
For my humiliating exhibition, Sleeping Beauty roused herself. After leaving for the meeting, I could still hear her laughing outside. Out of time, I had to leave with hands stickier than taffy.
Reaching the noisy Tabernacle, I saw many counselors wearing ball-caps. Someone wore a garlic chain. Another sold sticks of gum for $1 (for missions?). Most kept covering their mouth. Spotting me, they started chanting, “Brushing and Drinking DON’T mix!” Lynn ratted me out. At least I could smile without covering my mouth.
Looking back, I still laugh. I had a goal, pressed* toward it, and learned about chemistry.
*"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Chrsit Jesus." Philippians 3:14 (NIV)
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