The holiday season is over. (Big push there for everybody. Nice work.) Thanksgiving and Chanukah and Christmas and all the others in the lineup are in the books for the year. Table linens and dishes have all been restored to their former pristiness and most semi-organized people have dragged their trees to the curb, packed up all their holiday decorations, and removed all signs of holiday cheer from every corner of the house.
They’re a massive undertaking, all these holidays, one after another after another. Especially if you end up as the host. An undertaking that deserves some kind of reward for pulling it all off successfully and giving close friends and family immeasurable joy. (The joy of a beautiful holiday and of not having to host.)
And let’s not forget that while we’re orchestrating all these plans, entertaining, cooking, cleaning, wrapping, and celebrating, our kids are flopped all over the house on winter break from school. And so is all their crap. Not exactly a recipe for relaxation.
Well you know what I realized, now that the madness—I mean the lovely holiday season—has finally wound down? I realized that I needed a bath. Yup, I said bath. A long, hot, and at least semi-bubbly one to wash away any residual stress and reinvigorate my soul.
The funny thing is that I’m really not even a regular bath-taking kind of person. I take maybe two a year and it’s usually because I did something so grubby, like mountain bike in the mud, that necessitated deeper cleaning measures.
Honestly, who has the time to steep in a bath? I can barely pull off a three-minute shower at 5AM every morning just to ensure I don’t smell too offensive during the work day. But I think about baths, pretty much every time I’m standing in the shower, staring down at the tub around me. Of course I’d love to just jam that stopper into the drain and turn the spigot on full and fill that bad boy up until scalding hot water is splashing over the sides. But I can’t. Normal day-to-day life dictates that I have to be at work on time every morning, and I suspect my boss wouldn’t adjust my start time to allow for a daily soak. Not happening.
Seriously, though, I do watch bath scenes in movies with a little bit of drool running down my chin. I have no problem owning that. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be swept away by all those movie bubbles? They’re luxurious and mountainous and so… bubbly. And quite honestly, if I had a tub that big, like the one in Pretty Woman, I’d never leave my bathroom. It’s that simple. And neither would Dave, but that’s waaay off topic.
So today, with absolutely no forethought or planning whatsoever, I finished washing my hair and shaving my legs and then did the unthinkable. I turned the diverter valve from shower to tub and just stood there. Giddy. Waiting for whatever hot water was left in the hot water heater to submerge my feet and head for my calves. And I have to admit, I actually felt a little dirty giving in to the impulse, almost scandalous.
But I deserved it. The way I see it, a bath may not be a three-day trip to a mountainside spa with meditation rooms and massages and cut-up lemon wedges in every glass of spring water, but it’s an escape. An escape that rejuvenates the mind and the body. And the fact that it’s free is the hidden bonus. Because let’s face it, after a season of holidays and gift-giving and entertaining, I barely have the money left for a bottle of cheap bath salts.
Anyway, what I realized by giving in to the urge to treat myself to a long, decadent bath is that the bathtub is a highly underappreciated and totally underutilized fixture. At least in my house. And probably in a lot of other houses, too.
And while I’m well aware that all of this sounds mostly irrelevant and void of any real value, I have to disagree. Because what I’m doing here is pointing out that we all need to take escapes whenever and wherever we can find them. They’re necessary. And that the perfect little escape is oftentimes right under our little nose. Or, in my case, my feet.
Just do yourself a favor, though, if you go the bath route like I did; do a quick family pulse check before you selfishly, impulsively (and absentmindedly) use up all the hot water in the house. Because your livid fifteen-year-old who’s got plans in an hour will have some choice words for you. Words that will significantly impact how long your state of calm and relaxation lasts once you’re out of the bathtub. Otherwise it’s all good.
Lisa Sugarman lives just north of Boston, Massachusetts. Read and discuss all her columns at facebook.com/ItIsWhatItIsColumn. She is also the author of LIFE: It Is What It Is available on Amazon.com and at select Whole Foods Market stores.