You enter the bathroom at 1:13 a.m. on a Tuesday night (Wednesday morning?). You’d rather not be up at such a late time this early in the week, but at least the bathroom is empty and you have the showers to yourself. You enter the farthest shower cubicle from the door and get to work.
You set your things down and turn on the faucet. The bathroom door swings open and the curtain of the shower next to yours is yanked closed. Suddenly you hear a tenor voice with a southern twang coming out of a muddled phone speaker. Even as the water droplets rain down upon you, you know it’s Rednex’s 1995 hit song “Cotton-Eyed Joe.”
Well, you could say “CEJ” has undeniable party value, in the confines of a bathing facility, it offers very little. As the song plays you almost think you can hear light, wet clapping from the adjacent shower. After three minutes and thirteen seconds, the song completes. You never learn where Joe came from or where he went. And then it’s just the sounds of shower water once again.
But then you hear a soft guitar play from that crackly phone speaker. It’s an Ed Sheeran song, but you can’t quite place the title. The lyrics sound so personal you consider ending your shower prematurely and leaving. Is this person okay? One second your shower neighbor is feeling the highs of “Cotton-Eyed Joe” and the next, they’re stewing over a failed relationship with a high school sweetheart. But you do not hear the end of Sheeran’s lament.
Suddenly a blare of horns hits you. It’s so loud you slip a little on the tile. Is that the “Star Wars” theme? In a dorm bathroom shower? At 1:21 a.m.? What is going on? Did someone add lyrics to it? Is that harmonica? The phone speaker is working as hard as it possibly can. You’ve had enough.
“THIS MUSIC SUCKS!” Your anger echoes off the bathroom walls.
The “Star Wars” theme pauses. The neighboring shower stream stops.
You breathe a sigh of relief. You’re showering in peace once again. And then you hear loud sniffling and a creaky voice. “You said that because you wanted to hurt me.” It was true. That was exactly what you wanted to do. You backtrack immediately.
“It’s not that bad. It’s just a little bad.” You wait. You don’t get a response. You start to feel guilty. “It’s actually perfectly fine music. I’m sorry, okay?” You hear another sniffle. You didn’t plan on making anybody cry in the bathroom tonight but here you are. “Play whatever you want. It’s not a big deal.”
“It’s okay. I understand. Hey Siri, play ‘Who Let the Dogs Out.’” You have failed. This isn’t what you wanted at all. In a perfect world, you would be listening to nothing but the sounds of shower water, with the exception of maybe Dionne Warwick & Friends’ timeless and sensitive single, “That’s What Friends Are For.”
At the very least, you’re made someone else’s shower experience marginally better, but you have made yours exponentially worse. You’ve realized it may simply be impossible to stop someone else’s bad shower playlist.