Why you can't put a dry-erase board in your shower

• ~400 words • 2 minute read

Some of my best thinking tends to happen in the shower. Maybe it's something about the sound of running water, or the fact that there are fewer distractions when you're standing in what basically amounts to a white tube. Regardless, when I found myself sketching out an abstract diagram in the condensation on my shower walls, I thought there had to be a better way.

UPDATE: There is a better way. It will get its own blog post, some day soon.

I love sketching out my ideas when I'm working on projects - client, computer, creative or otherwise. You can waste a lot of paper this way, so I decided to invest in a whiteboard. Actually, I decided to invest in a ten, 9x12-inch whiteboards and hang them up all over my apartment, including one in my shower.

When they arrived, I hung up the first nine strategically around my abode so that I would never be too far from something to write on when inspiration struck. One of the benefits to this setup is that it keeps me walking from board to board as I'm brainstorming. Not only is this a welcome change of pace to sitting in a chair at my desk all day (Actually, I stand, but that's a different blog post), but the act of walking is actually good for the brain and keeps your mind sharp, as does all exercise. If you're unfamiliar with it you should checkout John Medina's site & book Brain Rules for a lot of great tips and insight into how the brain functions.

I saved the shower whiteboard for last. Naturally, after putting it up, I took a shower and tried it out. At first it worked like a charm. Then, after a few minutes, the condensation started the build up on the surface of the board and the pen stopped working.

Why did it stop working exactly? Dry-erase markers use an alcohol-based ink that essentially "rests" on top of non-porous surfaces, like a whiteboard. Because the ink has attached itself to the surface and not absorbed into the board, it's really easy to clean - hence the term dry-erase. This worked fine and dandy until tiny water droplets started forming on it.

In retrospect, I'm pretty sure all pens will stop working once they get wet, and this idea may have been doomed to fail.

Dang. Back to the drawing board, I guess.

Perhaps I'm trying to be too much of an adult here. Maybe I should take a look at these Crayola Bathtub Crayons?