Panda vs. The Bathtub

Okay so here’s the deal. I am not a very smart person. This is a humbling admission to make, but my track record: driving on the wrong side of the road, going into creepy buildings with strangers, blindly wandering into dark cavernous pits without pause, etc. sadly proves it to be true. And really, it’s not such a bad thing. Yes, on the one hand, I’m openly admitting I’m dumb. But on the other hand, people never ask dumb people to do work, which means more nap time for me, which in my book means that maybe I’m not so stupid after all.

panda vs. the bathtub

This, ladies and gentlemen, is called “foreshadowing”…

So where am I going with all of this, and why is there a picture of me covered in foam sitting on a bathtub ledge looking either very emo or possibly like the opening scene of a gay porn movie? Well you see people, today I have a little story to tell you about how I almost murdered myself with my bathtub. While it is amusing in that “wow I can’t believe I almost did what I almost did” kinda way, it is also a depressing reminder that I seem to possess a kind of blinding commitment to stupidity that really can redefine the term “new intellectual low”.

Our story begins about two weeks ago, on a Friday. I have had a very long week and was looking forward to laying immobile on my futon all weekend. But first, I decide, I need to do something about that unpleasant smell that I’m starting to suspect is me, and so I head over to my shower room to wash up.

panda vs. the bathtub

Let’s pretend this is sexy.

As I enter the room to turn on the shower, my eye falls on the bathtub that also occupies the room. See in Japan, unlike America, a bathtub is considered a standard piece of equipment for almost all residences, even the teeny tiniest of apartments. The idea is that come cleaning time, you just soap and rinse yourself off sitting on a little stool outside the bath, then you jump in the tub and soak for a good long while, presumably while contemplating the mysteries of life or something. Coincidentally, it is also traditional to reuse the same bathwater for the entire family (so everyone bathes one after the other, father then mother then kids and so on) which I have always found kinda gross, but that is beside the point.

Now I, being neither Japanese, a middle aged woman or an 8 year old kid, am not the sort of person normally inclined towards hanging out in bathtubs. Basically it’s because I have this paranoia – borne of this time when I was 9 and swimming in a murky lake in Michigan and a slimy fish brushed up against my leg and freaked the shit out of me – about immersing myself fully in water, afraid something is lurking down there waiting to attack me.

panda vs. the bathtub

Onsenkuma-chan helps pour the bath…

However, on this particular Friday, I very badly needed to relax and as my eyes fell on the bathtub, I wondered what was the purpose – really – of owning a bathtub if I’m never going to use it? So after a moment’s hesitation (and careful inspection of the drain hole to ensure no miniature Loch Ness Monsters it its depths dwelled) I flipped open the tap and emptied in some bubble bath soap which I purchased from Lush in France, after having a french girl in a low cut shirt rub wet soap all over my hands in a manner which some might have considered inappropriate for a retail store but which had the effect of convincing me that I really really needed to buy soap at that moment.

I head back to my bedroom, wait for the bath to fill up and then return 10 minutes later, all set for some fun bathtub time adventures (in lieu of a rubber ducky I brought Onsenkuma-chan, since if there evar was a bear who liked baths, it’d be him), only to be disappointed with the rather lack-luster quality and meager spread of thin, whispy bubbles coating the top of my supposed “bubble” bath.

panda vs. the bathtub

Hi2u mistar foamywhisk!

“Dammit, this just will not do” I mutter to no one in particular, and then setting Onsenkuma-chan aside, lean over the edge and start splish-splashing the water to try and froth up some more bubbles.

Five minutes of intensive splish-splashing later, I have managed in producing a few more bubbles but am still nowhere near the voluminous overflowing frothy white bubble volcanoes I remember from my early childhood spent with with Mr. Bubbles bathtub mix. I sit back on the tub edge and set my mind to work. What can I do to increase the amount of bubbles in the bath?

“I’ve got it!” I shout, momentarily startling Onsenkuma-chan, who had begun to investigate the contents of my shampoo/conditioner shelf. Taking a moment to make myself decent – as my kitchen lacks any curtains and is within direct line of sight of the old couple living on the hill next to me, and they, dear readers, are most definitely NOT “ready for this jelly” as Beyonce would say – I run to my cupboard and grab a whisk – you know, like the kind you use to make scrambled eggs.

“This will work for sure!” I shout, running excitedly back to my bathtub, whereupon I begin agitating the water with alarming alacrity.

Five minutes later, I pause and take a look at my handiwork. The results are surprisingly good – both volume and quality of the bubbles has improved significantly, and the surface of the water is covered with a nice, smooth layer of foam about an inch thick, just perfect for a casual soak! And had I stopped here, gentle readers, all would have been good. But I wouldn’t be writing this blog entry if I had stopped there, would I?

panda vs. the bathtub

In my head I imagined this would be cute. In reality, well…

The trouble began, as it always does, when I tried to be clever.

“You know…” I mused to myself as I set the wire instrument aside – “… if the whisk worked this well, imagine how much better an electric mixer would work…!” And with that, my friends, I was off.

I ran once again to the kitchen, where I started flinging open drawers and cabinets left and right, trying to find the very cute bunny themed pink electric mixer I had inherited from the previous owner of my apartment. As pans and pots and slimy unwashed plates (ahh I knew I never finished that bowl of cereal!) go flying left and right, I find first the two mixer blades, and then, buried way far in the back, the electric mixer itself.

“Oh yes. It’s go time baby.” I say, trying to imitate the cool re-assured cockiness of my favorite television action heroes. I snap the mixer blades into the machine, pausing to admire the metallic “CCLLIIAAACCCK” with which they lock into place, quadruple bladed edges reflecting the glinting moonlight off their polished stainless steel tines, feeling very very badass, almost like I was wielding a manly precision automatic firearm, rather than a tiny pink bunny cake mixer. My masculinity satisfied, I stride back to the shower room with authority.

Now at this point, some of you might be raising your hands, saying to yourselves “umm, panda, is it really a good idea to bring an electrical appliance into the shower room?” But that, dear readers, would be what is referred to as “common sense”, and it has no place in Michaelpanda world.

panda vs. the bathtub

Now it’s on!

As I hunker down next to the bathtub, I look around the smooth sealed plastic walls for an outlet to plug my mixer into. I am frustrated when I fail to find any.

“Onsenkuma-chan, what the frick. Who the heck designs a room without electric outlets!?” I mutter, completely oblivious to the blinding stupidity of what I’m saying. I stand up and step outside the shower room.

Right next to the shower room is the laundry room, and in every laundry room there is a washing machine. And every washing machine obviously needs a power outlet and I realise all of this as I lean against the wall fuming in frustration, thinking I wouldn’t get to electrically mix my bath bubbles after all.

“That’s it!” I shout, as I understand what I have to do. Reaching over, I yank out the power cord for the washing machine and plug in the electric mixer.

“Now it’s on…”

panda vs. the bathtub

Pretty much the most dramatic shot of an electrical plug possible.

As I step back over the elevated ledge that separates the laundry room from the shower room and lean over the edge of the bathtub, my mind starts spinning with glee in anticipation of the vesuvian mounds of frothy bubbles about to pour forth from the center of the piping hot water. I flick my thumb and feel the pink plastic shake with a satisfying whir in my hands (we’re talking about a mixer people…) I reach in to stick it into the water.

With a slight tug and then a yank, the mixer jerks up and then stops spinning.

“What the…!?” I mutter in frustration. Looking over my shoulder, I realise I have yanked the mixer out of the wall.


panda vs. the bathtub

Mere moments away from DOOM!

I head over and plug it back in, then head back tubside. I duck, twist, turn and crawl, but no matter what I do, I can’t seem to get the cord to reach all the way from the laundry room room to the bathtub. It’s just not long enough.

“Frick it all…”

I run to my room and grab an extension cord, then return to the laundry room and plug it in. With a self-satisfied “Ha!” I flick the switch and lean back over the tub, whirring blades just millimeters above the frothy surface.

panda vs. the bathtub

Vanity shot!

“You know, Onsenkuma-chan,” I begin, addressing my bath time ursine companion – “this extension cord business is a pain in the ass. I don’t know why they don’t just put an outlet in the shower room. I mean, it’s like they don’t WANT you to use electrical appliances in the bathtub..!

Onsenkuma-chan just stares at me sadly from his place on the shower ledge.

“Oh wait….”

panda vs. the bathtub

Ummm, my bathroom shelf?

And in that moment, gentle readers, I realise the full and staggeringly stupifying magnitude of my imminent folly, the shocking realisation that I, mistar michael panda, college graduate and supposedly mature 27 year old adult human being, was about to plunge an electric mixer connected to a wall socket directly into a bathtub filled with soapy hot water.

Have you ever had one of those “holy shit WTF am I doing moments?” Like if you’ve ever had your arm fully inserted in a cow’s anus like I have (I used to work for the USDA, that’s all I’m going to say about that) and you just stop and am like “dude, has my life come this?” kind of out-of-body instants? Well that’s how I was, sitting there, half soaked, electric appliance whirring with 110 Volts of AC current flowing through it, about to immerse it in a bathtub full of water and instantly electrocute myself. Wow.

panda vs. the bathtub

My room, where I returned to after my near-death experience, to huddle and shake in my futon.

They say every living creature has a natural instinct for survival, but I’ve gotta tell you, true to my panda namesake, I think mine is broken.

Truly a new low of staggering stupidity for me. *shakes head sadly*

So yeah. I’m dumb. Thank you for letting me share this depressive low point in my intellectual history with you.

Now listening to: “Black Lab – See the Sun”

black lab

From Bumrushthecharts:

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We want and deserve more. On March 22, 2007, we’re going to change that with your help.

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If you believe in the power of new media, on March 22nd, 2007, take 99 cents and 2 minutes of your time to join the revolution and make iTunes “Mine Again”. If you’re a content producer (blogger, podcaster, etc.), we’re asking you to join up with us and help spread the word to your audience. Nothing would prove the power of new media more than showing corporate media that not only can we exceed their reach and match their purchasing power, but that we can also do it AND make a positive difference in the world. If we can succeed with this small example, then there’s no telling what can do next.


13 Reactions

  1. Lorelei

    So hilarious,
    I just had to write about this post on my own blog (oooh, metablogging!)
    I love Onsenkuma-chan!

  2. Ben

    Placing an electrical device into a bathtub sure is the smartest thing to do! And for the driving on the wrong side of the road your mention at the beginning of the post, my mom did that too. You see, in Hong Kong, people drive on the left (same as Japan) and Canada is on the right. I never make these kind of mistakes therefore I’m a way better driver than her.
    Nice room by the way, and you do look like an frickin emo in those pics.

  3. MatchaMonkey

    The best part of the story is the fact that you were so concerned about the quality of the bubbles in your bath. Such attention to detail…

  4. moritheil

    That dreaded word, “emo,” rears its head again in your comments section! I’m very glad to read that you stopped short of rediscovering the conductivity of water.
    I think I owe you an apology regarding my word choice, or perhaps my phrasing. I don’t mean to say that writing should never use everyday life as a setting – just that it ideally should be about something a little unusual. (Such as the activities of a panda in Japan!)

  5. andrew

    Hmmm..well at least you figured it out before it was too late.
    Of course now I wonder about it…It seems to me that a blender such as you were using would be designed to work with wet substances since it is used to mix ingredients together.
    My guess (not that I am encouraging dangerous behaviors) is that blenders are specially insulated to prevent electrocution while cooking. But that is just my guess without a shred of evidence.
    > But that, dear readers, would be what is
    >referred to as “common sense”
    As my boss would say, “if sense were common lawn mowers wouldn’t need warning labels.”

  6. kc

    i read this whole entry with gusto but mostly in silence, until halfway through, when i suddenly began muttering “no no no” under my breath. the effect you have on my from halfway across the planet.
    p.s. sounds very much like something i would do.

  7. lizb

    hahahahhaha OH NO!
    you crack me up so much work for a bubble bath! i bet your water was even cold by the time you were done :P oh panda

  8. momo

    I don’t know, Panda, despite the blatant yellow warning symbol and the inconvenience of the outlet locations, I would have gone for it anyway! It’s not like you’re putting the ENTIRE mixer into the tub…
    But hey, who’s dumb! You’re the one who helped me raise my physics grade from Failing Times Infinity to Not That Bad.

  9. Monique

    hey sweetie! my email addresses were deleted and so were all my messages. so please email me again with all your info cause id love to email you and talk with you soon! xo.

  10. ashan

    I… I fear for you, Panda.
    But, oh well, haven’t we all had our *moments*? ^^ Ahahhah, I recall that one time — uhh, actually let’s not go there.

  11. ashan

    ps: I do like your room! How neat it is! I especially love how everything seems centered about your futon as I practically live in my bed. ^^;

  12. emiree

    only recently someone was telling me about how this boy who instead of putting soap on a slippery slide, put gasoline on it, lit it then slide thru it….
    at least you knew before it was too late that it wasnt worth the effort. :)