I just got out of the bath. I have to go to work really early today -- I mean, I have to be there by 6:30 a.m., which was my reality Monday through Friday for five years in a row; but just a few months out of the cycle, I feel like I'm being tortured. If you see a teacher on the street sometime, seriously, hug them or something. They really need it.
I took a bath because I was in my warm, electric blanketed bed, and the only thing that could get me out of it was the idea that I could be immersed in warm water. Now I am grumpy because outside of the warm bed and the warm water, life is miserable and not worth living.
This house is charmingly quirky. It is especially charming when it's not 20 degrees outside (because to say we have no heat and no insulation is absolutely an understatement). One of the fun, charming quirks about the house is that it does not have a shower. It has a bathtub that looks like it came from an Urban Outfitters catalogue, except that it's authentically old and vintage and claw-footed and designed in an era where man was clearly a bit shorter and thinner than the 21st century model. Some days you might want to take a shower. Our house says, "That's too bad. Here, dump water over your head using this oversized vase instead. That'll be so twee!"
But I'm not complaining. Actually, if I had to pick between having only a bath and having only a shower, the bath would win every time. This is because I am too lazy to tolerate really any kind of physical exertion, including (but not limited to) standing up. I am writing this now in supine position. I wish I was kidding.
And also, as a kid, I escaped to the bath like I was eloping. In case that simile was a little too convoluted (it was), I mean that taking a bath meant running away from everything dysfunctional and weird and broken about my life; taking a false refuge and making irrational decisions (HOT WATER, BUBBLE BATH, DRAIN THE BUBBLE BATH, MORE HOT WATER, MORE BUBBLES, DRAIN THE BUBBLES, WHERE'S THE HOT WATER!?, wait, wait, wait, HOT WATER, BUBBLES). Eventually I'd have to go back to whatever was horrible about being nine (EVERYTHING), and drain the tub. It was always worth it. The bath was holy.
And in college, while everyone I knew was succeeding at doing exactly what you are supposed to do at college (keg stands), I skipped every party, waited for all my housemates to leave on Friday nights, turned up the Fiona Apple, and slipped in the bath to read feminist magazines. Actually, reading that back to myself, I'm realizing that I was more of a college cliche than literally any of my keg-standing friends. Slap on a cutting habit and a Sylvia Plath poster, and I was basically a punchline.
Speaking of Sylvia Plath, she's got my favorite quote about baths. It's in The Bell Jar.
There must be quite a few things a hot bath won’t cure, but I don’t know many of them. Whenever I’m sad I’m going to die, or so nervous I can’t sleep, or in love with somebody I won’t be seeing for a week, I slump down just so far and then I say: “I’ll go take a hot bath.”
Sometimes it frightens me how much everything Sylvia Plath writes resonates for me. Maybe I should stay away from ovens, just in case. In any case, the truth is, I secretly take altogether too many baths in our quirky green bath tub in our quirky un-insulated house. I might say things like, "I'm dirty!" or "My hair is a greasy mess!" But what I mean is, "I either want a plate of nachos, a pack of cigarettes, or a hot bath. And since two of those would require I leave the house, I'll go with the bath." This happens at least once a day. Sometimes it happens three times. Once it happened five.