Italian interior design hurts my brain. You’d think that for a country so well-known for its clothing, the inside of homes and hotels would be more fashionable. Instead, they’re what I imagine people in communist Russia thought the future would look like. The decor is weirdly sparse. Even in homes where people have been for decades, it looks like they just moved in. And most of the furniture I’ve seen, no matter how new, isn’t sleek or modern looking. Instead, it has an inexplicably pastoral look to it. It’s like someone’s grandmother all of a sudden decided to be a minimalist, but didn’t bother redecorating.
Sadly, I don’t have a lot of photos that depict this concept, though this one isn’t terrible (ignore my passed-out husband on the bed):
The room was entirely empty save for the bed and a small nightstand. And despite being brand new (the hotel was only a few years old) the design on the headboard looked like a well-preserved relic from the 1900s.
And it’s not the first time I’ve seen this phenomenon. Rand and I have stood in the lobbies of elegant European hotels and homes with similar decor. Clean lines in the architecture, crisp right angles and new, stainless steel doorknobs, and a single settee sitting in middle of the room with such elaborate upholstery that Scarlett O’Hara could have used it to make one hell of a cocktail dress. And you stare, scratching your head, trying to make sense of it, but can’t really.
It’s damn confusing.
Not as confusing as this shower, though:
Notice, too, how its modernity is, in this case, completely at odds with the rest of the bathroom. But I digress. When I walked into the bathroom, I was at the “F#ck it” point that every traveler eventually reaches: I simply did not care anymore. I wanted a shower, and that was it. And I wasn’t going to let the fear of accidentally being teleported naked into another space and time stop me from it.
“Okay,” I said, looking at the – no hyperbole – 24 different jets from which water could potentially spray, and the digital screen which supposedly controlled them all. “You can do this.”
I don’t know who could. Honestly, if you had gathered Einstein, Spock, and Stephen Hawking and told them to figure out how the thing had worked, they’d had thrown up their arms (well, Stephen wouldn’t have, but you get the idea) and said, “Screw this. Let’s go get a beer.” (At which point I hope they would call me, because I so want an invite to that party.)
I hit a button which, instead of turning on the shower head above me, shot a stream of water from an unspecified location which hit me directly on the groin.
“GAH!” I screamed, and instantly shut off the water. I looked at the several of the two dozen jets, trying to figure out which one was the culprit. Even under my icy gaze, they revealed nothing.
“Okay,” I thought, trying to somehow lean away from the soaking wet crotch of my jeans, “let’s try this again.”
At which point the entire scene repeatedly itself, because I didn’t do anything differently.
“GAH!” I screamed again, still unsure of which jet had hit me.
And suddenly, I was in a Three Stooges sketch. Remember the one with the oyster that keeps squirting Curly in the face? It was like that, except in the crotchal region.
I stared at the hieroglyphics on the shower’s digital screen and tried to decipher them (as an aside, why the hell does a shower need a digital control panel? Italy is thousands of years old. Bathrooms do not need to be this cutting edge.)
Should you ever encounter a device like the one above in your travels, let me spare you much time and frustration: all of the symbols that look remotely like water jets do not, in fact, control any of the jets. Instead, I would suggest frantically pressing all the buttons and whimpering, progressively soaking the crotch of your pants with errant blasts of water, until finally, and seemingly rather randomly, water begins pouring out from the jets near the top of the shower. At that point, hop in (you can keep your clothes on if you want. At this point, they will be soaked anyway, so you might as well give them a wash), and pray that the machine will behave for the next 8 or so minutes, and not begin sporadically spraying you with blasts of water or ultimately teleport your miserable and jet-lagged self to the middle of nowhere.
Seriously. WTF, Italy. Showers do not need to be this complicated. Make them more simple, and I promise, riding public transportation in downtown Naples will be a much more pleasant experience for everyone involved.