I’ve soaked in a bathtub every single night of my adult life. And I’ve used enough Avon bubble bath to fill the Dead Sea. If anyone deserves to own a hot tub, it’s me. I’d be in it every day, sometimes twice. I’d invite you over. I’d let you use it when I wasn’t home. I’m nice that way. But no. Life’s not like that.
As I stare out my living room window overlooking my neighbor’s yard I see their deluxe hot tub, installed over two years ago. I can count the number of times they’ve used it on the fingers of one hand. That’s because I am always staring at it longingly through my picture window.
Whenever they do use it I hear laughter, splashing and clinking glasses. I imagine walking over with my swimsuit and towel, begging to be let in. “I’m quiet, I’ve showered,” I’d say, “you won’t even notice me.” Or I try out, “If I pay you five dollars can I sit in it for 30 minutes? If you aren’t using it. Which you never are.”
I have a friend who just landscaped her yard, complete with hot tub. She keeps saying “You should come over.” Yes, please, I am dying to come over. She dangles the invitation in space with no date or time attached. She torments me with the details of whether we should go naked or wear swimsuits. With our husbands or without? Day or night? But does it matter since I will never actually stick a toe into this tub?
Another tub owner echoes the “Come over anytime” slogan. An empty phrase that makes them feel generous. For those of us hungry for hot water it’s a cruel tease. One time my mate and I called their bluff and invited ourselves over. We assured them we needed no dancing girls or free buffet. But they insisted on offering champagne and a cheese platter making us pruny and drunk. And them thinking, “Didn’t they know we were actually lying about the come over anytime thing? Just to be nice.”
I’ve decided to make lemonade. You know, from the lemons representing me not having a hot tub. I’ve decided I don’t need a tub. Maybe the reason all those steaming tubs sit there, unused, is because it’s more fun to soak on special occasions. Say a trip to Calistoga, California’s hot springs area, at a “Jacuzzi-in-room” hotel at the coast , at the Detroit, Oregon hippie retreat Breitenbush, or at Sol Duk hot springs in the Olympic National Forest.
But hey, don’t get me wrong. If anyone spontaneously extends an invitation I’ll be there with bells on and swimsuit off.