You strip down and peel back the flimsy white curtain to size up the challenger and you find it staring back at you — a clump of shiny dials and spouts with made-up marketing names like Temprol, Relaxashower, or Aquasomething.
Sometimes that shower faucet goes clockwise, sometimes it goes counterclockwise, sometimes you have to turn it past cold to get hot, sometimes you pull it toward you to get it going.
And once you eventually get it flowing, you face another challenge: getting it to stop coming out of the bathtub tap and start shooting out of the shower faucet. Your reward for solving this mystery a few minutes later is an ice-cold spray down your naked, shivering body.
Finally figuring out how your hotel shower works is like jumping into the cockpit during an emergency and landing the plane with no lessons. You were just woken up and thrown into a tough situation with no instructions, but you managed to figure it out and save the day.