It is not that I hadn't noticed the water in the shower draining slower than it should, I simply decided to ignore it. But once the soapy standing water started interfering with the "toweling off" process, I knew it was time to put on the handyman hat.
Armed with a Phillips head screw driver, plumber's helper and an unbent clothes hanger, I removed the drain gate. The noxious smell was overwhelming, but I steadied myself and peered into the hole. Because my view was obscured by the remaining soap suds, I recklessly plunged my fingers into the drain to clear the residue. What I brought back was the largest clump of hair I had ever seen. Fighting a retching sensation, I fished the remaining follicles with the coat hanger, depositing my catch into the bucket. The water was still standing, indicating more blockage, but I could not clear the obstruction with the improvised snake. I went to work using my trusty plumber's helper. What the helper brought up from the pipes shall not be described, but suffice it to say, I wept for five minutes, while my wife retrieved the big gun: Liquid Draino.
Typically, I do not read instructions: uncap the product and pour it in, pray that the chemist know more than I (most likely they do). But not tonight. I had to be assured of some victory. Two cups, fifteen minutes, then flush with warm water. Repeat if necessary. Oh yes, it was necessary.
The hair was removed, and water drainage was restored, and I slept the deep sleep that only plumbers know.