You know how sometimes you’re taking a hot shower, and the shower curtain billows into your tiny pocket of shower space and pushes you against the wall and sticks to your legs, and no matter how much you push it back and try to make the little magnets at the bottom stick to the tub so you can clean yourself without a cold, wet, plastic curtain touching you, you just can’t make it stay?
When this happens, I find myself thinking about why the shower curtain is curving into the shower. When I was in physics class in high school, learning about airplanes and lift and pressure, I was sure it had something to do with pressure differentials.
Later, when I learned more about how sea breezes and afternoon thunderstorms work, I wondered, is the bathroom during a shower like a mini weather system?
When you’re in the shower, using steaming hot water, the air inside the shower — between the shower curtain and the wall — heats up like the hot Florida peninsula when the sun beats down in August. Hot air is less dense than cool air, so the shower air rises and creates an area of lower pressure.
It can’t just rise and leave nothing behind: something has to fill the space the hot air leaves. So like the cooler air off the ocean rushes over afternoon summer land to fill the rising hot air’s void, the cooler air outside the shower curtain pushes in to fill the void the steaming air has left, therefore pushing the curtain in.
What do y’all think?
I’m not sure if this is really what’s going on, because it doesn’t always happen. But it does give me something to think about in the shower.