February 1st, 2005.

Bubble trouble.

Last night while having a late-night soak in the tub I decided to use a suspiciously named bath product that I received as a part of a birthday gift. The name of the product was ‘Explosive Shower Power' and perhaps that was a warning that I should have taken more seriously. The small plastic bottle even had a bright circle with large letters proclaiming that the strawberry and melon scented gel now had 'extra reactive bubbles.’

I prefer a bath to a shower, and besides the water pressure of my shower feels as invigorating as a rainy Thursday morning commute. For me, showering is reserved as a post-workout activity at my gym. There the hot showers fire water at you so fast your skin tingles in a way that a true man would never admit to enjoying. So, being a ‘true man’ (at least at the gym) I elected to avoid taking the bottle of ‘Explosive Shower Power’ there just in case I ended up in a swathe of strawberry and melon scented bubbles that made me look like some kind of naked scary fairy.

The little plastic bottle sat neglected and alone in the corner of my bathroom next to a fake plant and a scented candle that was there for decoration rather than its promise of soft light and smell of honey. I had essentially forgotten about it, allowing it to remain there in peace like a sleeping ballistic missile standing by ready to wreak havoc should havoc ever be called for.

Now, usually in the privacy of my own home, a bath is almost ceremonial in preparation and meditative in its execution. It involves candlelight, a drink of something cold and refreshing, perhaps a book or magazine, and always some kind of bubble bath. I'm well aware that this isn't a typical 'manly' activity, but in this increasingly screen-addicted world, there seems to be a shrinking number of places one can retreat to and unwind.

Usually, I'll settle into the steaming hot bath in my bathroom that has been metamorphosized into a space of pure indulgence rather than it's usual daytime utility. I then sit back and relax, allowing my heart rate to slow and my muscles to breathe a long sigh of relief.

However, last night, as I began to run the bath I realized my usual bottle of bubbles was empty! I looked for something to substitute it and decided to empty a bottle of shampoo into the bath. Very quickly a mountain of bubbles began to form like the first few moments of Genesis. Within no time, there was before me and impressive Himalayan like bubbescape reaching dizzying heights never seen before in my bathroom. I was pleased and considered changing all future soakings from the usual bottle of bubbles to this cheap brand of shampoo.

Because the bath is usually too hot to get into for the first few minutes I leave the room and do something else while it cools and fills the air with steam and scents that make my inner lady twirl. However, when I returned I found that the mountains had fallen, and where there were once valleys and hills, there was just water and the occasional island of small bubbles resembling a satellite picture of the earth from space.

With no more bubbles to hand, I sank into my bath feeling like someone had burst my bubble – all of them in fact! But then, from the corner of my eye, I spied the long-forgotten bottle of ‘Exploding Shower Power’.

I read the label and nowhere did it mention that it was exclusively for showers and not suitable for baths. So, like a child at Christmas, I opened the bottle and squeezed some of the reactive bubble goo into my hand. I watched for a few moments but the goo did nothing. No explosion, no bubbles, nothing.

I was puzzled and re-read the label. It definitely said that there would be bubbles aplenty, so as I looked at my green goo’ed hand I wondered where my bubbles were.

Maybe more bubble goo was required, I thought, so I squished out some more, then more again, then more after that. Nothing happened, no explosions, no reaction, no bubbles, just lots of goo that didn’t look like it would or could evolve into anything more than what it was.

Then I wondered maybe it needed some encouragement, so I applied the goo to my upper body in long sweeping motions against my slippery wet skin like Pamela Anderson night on the Playboy channel. At first, nothing happened but then, like the first signs of life, small bubbles started to appear.

It felt like a poor reward for such an effort on my part, but within a short time, I had more bubbles than I expected. With each passing moment, more bubbles appeared, and the bubbles were growing exponentially. I began frantically trying to bury the bubbles in the bathwater in the hope that drowned bubbles couldn't reproduce, but it wasn't helping. Pretty quickly I was surrounded by bubbles and having to make little tunnels for air. I read the label again. “Apply sparingly,” it said, but it didn't warn the user it was serious, or that anything other than sparingly would quickly turn into despairingly! My relaxing soak in the tub had now become a full-scale B.B.I (Bubble Bath Incident).

Things had spiraled out of control so I stood to my feet thinking my head would rise from the bubbles like Phoenix from the ashes, but the bubbles simply stood with me. I stepped from the bath and grabbed for my robe while trying to shake off the bubbles, my arms flailing like someone being attacked by a swarm of bees.

For a second I imagined the scene of my landlady discovering my dead naked body under a huge pile of suffocating killer bubbles and the laughter from people who heard about the man who died after being overcome by soap!

Bubbles were now stuck to the ceiling, the wall, the showerhead, the bath, and pretty much everywhere around the tub. The situation had quickly gotten out of control and I felt the best, and safest option was to retreat, so I left the bathroom wrapped in my robe while swatting away the last few bubbles clinging to me.

I didn’t venture back into the bathroom until this morning whereupon the scene looked much the same as it does every day. Not a rogue bubble in sight. Just a bathtub full of cold water and a bottle of ‘Exploding Shower Power’ innocently sitting by the tap waiting to explode like the wrath of a jealous God. From now on I’ll stick to my usual brand of girly bubble-bath if it’s all the same to you.