The Flinch [EXPERIMENT] – The shower

Like I said in the initial post on this experiment, I wanted The Flinch to be different. That is, I wanted it to be different until I read what it wanted me to do. Homework #1 said, and I quote…

“When you’re at home and have five minutes, go to your bathroom, walk up to your shower, and turn on the cold water. Wait a second; then test it to make sure it’s as cold as possible.

Do you see what’s coming?

Okay, now do it. Now is the time to step into the shower.”

Let me try to explain my dilemma (read: excuse).

For reasons I’ll explain in a future post, my apartment room didn’t have heat that day. Let that sink in. This was December in Seoul. I couldn’t see my breath, but it felt cold. The simple act of taking off my jacket made me feel cold, not to mention undressing completely.

But still I stood there in front of the shower head and turned it on, cold water only.

I could feel the mist from the shower hitting my stomach and sending shivers up and down my back. The book said to let the water run for a bit, though, just to make sure it’s really cold, none of the sissy, semi-warm stuff waiting in the pipes.

So I did.

Then I chickened out for a second. I stepped out of the bathroom, walked to the sink and turned on the cold water. Again, I let it run to make it as cold as possible. Then I stuck my hand in. After about five second, my hard began to feel the dull ache of extreme cold causing the blood to leave my hand.

Wow, I thought, That water’s cold. I’ll try to stand in it for one minute.

I walked back into the bathroom. I set my watch to timer. I took a deep breath. I started the timer. I stepped in.

At first, I gasped reflexively. Next, I didn’t feel it so much. Then at about 15 seconds, the dull ache started to take over my arms. My body started shaking uncontrollably. I tried to calm myself, but that wasn’t happening. I think at that point, the shakes were a combination of the effects from the cold and the effects of just getting all worked up about stepping into a freezing shower.

That’s when I decided to just let myself go with it.

I waited.

I checked my watch.

Twenty-six seconds, 34 left to go.

Wow, I thought, This is long. I tried to keep moving.

I checked my watch again. Only seven seconds had passed. This is really long.

But I made it.

You know how normally when you get out of a warm shower you feel colder as the water cools on your skin? Well, in this case, the reverse happened. As soon as I turned off the water, I think the water on my skin began to heat up. I immediately started feeling warmer.

Pretty soon, the cold room felt cozy, even standing there naked, still dripping wet.

I thought to myself, I don’t want to do that again. I don’t think I could. But I’m definitely going to try whatever comes next.

The high of finishing trumped the ache of the process, at least that’s what I told myself.

What about you? Could you step into a cold shower in a cold room in the middle of December? What about right now?

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