I am a people person. I thrive on making small talk, delving into deep conversations. From this, you can assume that I am not a quiet person. I, in turn, cannot refute your assumption, not even to make the perhaps overused retort that “to assume is to make a you-know-what of you and me.” In actuality, my belief has little to do with my extrovert personality. Instead, it beautifully contradicts it.
Baths balance my life. No, that was not an obscure reference to the social “baths” the Roman men took part in years ago. No, I mean the so-hot-it-makes-your-feet-hurt-at-first, rejuvenating, Thoreau-inspired bath in solitude. I have filled my life with so many activities it would bore the normal person to hear of them. Piano lessons, track, Spanish Club, working twenty-hour weeks at the Target, professional ballet training, and more “impressive” tasks have crowded my life since the tender age of three, my first gymnastics class. Certainly, I am not alone in having this tiring lifestyle; teenagers (and adults alike) share the pressure with me.
However, I have cheated since I had the knowledge that I could. If my day has been particularly trying, I always conclude it in a mind-clearing bath. Sometimes a fluffy romance novel accompanies me, sometimes bubbles, and on occasion, nothing tags along except thoughts. In a bath, your annoying twelve-year-old brother cannot bother you with questions about Social Studies: you are in the bathroom, a place humans have unknowingly deemed “holy.” A bath allows me to mull over the events of the day or completely disregard them.
I have the distinct memory, at the age of thirteen, of beseeching my mother to remove herself from her bathtub in order to approve of my “cool” outfit for the next day. To my childish horror, she replied along the lines of, “Carli, dear, I need twenty minutes, and I’ll be ready to answer any questions.” I clearly remember wondering what in God’s name she could be doing that was more important than my outfit. And, now, in my seventeen-year-old wisdom, I understand. She was debriefing, then allowing the debriefing to fade into whispers, and slowly slipping into an interlude of relaxation, a time almost entirely for herself.
Unconsciously, I have mimicked her actions, since in my eyes she seems to have it all (and by all, I mean the triumphs and tribulations of life) under control. I, too, take my day, and, no matter the time, mull over them soaking for just a while in my plain bathtub. It is a luxury I have apportioned to myself, which some would call frivolous. Those who call it frivolous, or even selfish, I fear, are destined for lives of tension and worries. Please do not fall into this trap of self-righteousness; really, it is okay to be human, to need to unwind. My only hope is that in this world of craziness, of money being more important than time, that the magic of baths is not lost.