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@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
Growing up, if I were to shower before school I’d wake up at 5:45 before my family (though sometimes Dad was up at this hour) to beat my other family’s to bathroom. After, I’d go back to sleep for my “morning nap” for about 20 minutes before continuing to get ready for school.
In my house, you wanted to make sure you didn’t follow my kid brother, Mitch, in showering. Mitch was notorious for not only taking ridiculously long showers, but depleting all the hot water. In fact, if you were preparing to shower and then all of a sudden noticed the sound of water cascading in the bathroom, you were quick to bang on the bathroom door, “Mitch, I swear to God. Don’t be an asshole and use all the water. I’ll kill you you inconsiderate prick!” Sometimes, you’d run upstairs into Mom and Dad’s shower to rinse off at the same time. This, of course, threw off the pressure of both showers, but it was better than taking a freezing shower after Mitch.
Despite Mitch being my best friend, I cursed his name to the high heavens many times. Especially when you’re in the shower and your hair is full of shampoo and conditioner and the shower suddenly goes from warm to icy.
Sure, I loved my family and regarded our house to be my favorite place in the world. But I was full of contradictions. And I desperately yearned for my own space. Especially my own bathroom. Where I could shower whenever I damn well pleased and stay in the shower as long as I wanted without having to worry about subjecting my family members to cold showers themselves.
Luckily, in my apartment, I’ve rarely had issues with my hot water turning cold on me. It does happen, of course, but not nearly as frequently as it did in the house in West Islip.
Throughout middle school, high school, and even into my 20’s, I usually had my mom blow dry and/or straighten my hair. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy having my hair brushed (still do!) I wasn’t exactly good at “girl things” and one of those things were doing my hair. Besides the natural caramel blond color of my hair, there was almost nothing else I loved about my hair. It’s prone to tangles and weird waves… flat in some areas and curled in others. I’m in my 30’s now and I still haven’t really figured out my own hair. My godmother and one of my favorite people, Aunt Nancy, is a hair dresser. She is able to style my hair perfectly and effortlessly (it seems), proof that my hair is style-able, just not by me.
So yes, is it somewhat embarrassing that my Mom would do my hair as a grown ass adult? Yes. Yes, it is. But I think for the most part my Mom enjoyed it too (unless she was really busy and then she was like, “damnit Lori, when are you going to figure this out on your own.” Still, it was a bonding thing. If Mom did my hair, I got compliments. If I did my hair, I looked like a hillbilly or it went in a (frequently worn) pony-tail.
Lisa, my older sister, was (is) good at all things girly. We both always had long blond hair (albeit, she sometimes experiments with colors). Sometimes Lisa would help me with my hair, but asking Lisa for help was risking getting met with attitude.
Mom, especially, always wanted me to look more girly, saying things like, “how will people see how pretty you are if you’re always wearing flannel shirts and not brushing your hair.” I, for one, am looking for people who like my personality first. Yes… my winning personality that was also quite often a secret as I sat quietly in most social situations, mumbling sarcastic comments under my breath. Though I didn’t hate being a “mysterious” person.
Dean, Mitch’s best friend, harasses me for not surfing in the cold months. I’m not exaggerating when I say that both my brother and Dean have earned reputations for being two of the hardest shredders on Long Island beaches. If you’re a frequent surfer at Gilgo or Democrat point, you probably know them by name, and if you don’t know their names, you probably know their surfing style. They always turn heads in the water. To watch them in the waves is to want to surf like them. I’ve spent nearly my whole life being jealous of their skills in the water.
“My gear is stowed away for the season,” I told Dean back in November, “see you in the Spring.” It’s not that I don’t adore my surfing buddies, including Dean, Christine, Wesley and Andrew, but I almost never see them in the colder months and then when the water warms up I see them all the time. We’re on constant wave watch.
I’m met with another problem in the water, even in the summer months: Raynaud’s Disease. Raynaud’s is a condition in which your capillaries become stringent in the cold and prevent blood circulation to your extremities. My hands are almost always cold, and both my fingers and toes go purple easily and sometimes go completely white at the tips. It’s dangerous when they go white because this can cause permanent nerve damage. That one day, I won’t be able to feel the tips of my toes and fingers. There is no cure for this. In fact, my doctor suggested I might “consider moving to a warmer climate as I get older.” Thanks for the advice, doc! Can I see your medical degree?
When I’m in the ocean and my hands turn a lavender color and suddenly I’m looking like a corpse going through rigor mortis, I know it’s almost time to get out and warm up, no matter how good the waves are. “I have to get out, I’m cold.”
There’s nothing quite like a hot shower after surfing cooler waters. Your core temperature feels dropped. You feel like you can spend hours under the hot water fall, bringing your whole body back to life. Until someone bangs at the door, “hurry up, you asshole, I have to take a shower too you know!” And then you know the one thing you won’t miss about living with your family is sharing a bathroom. After over six years of living by myself, though many nights are lonely and many days the lack of companionship stings, the idea of sharing a bathroom with another human sounds simply dreadful to me. I want all the hot water, all the time.