One or two times a week, I take an Epsom salt bath. I don’t get massages or facials for manicures or pedicures, so this is the one body indulgence that I partake in, usually in tandem with a trashy book. I am a big believer in the restorative power of Epsom salts and trashy books. But of course, just plain Epsom salts are not enough. I am an Epsom salt connoisseur, and I have very refined taste. My latest favorite, which I will go ahead and buzz-market here, is Dr. Teal’s Pink Himalayan Mineral Soak. It has a lovely, soft, orangy scent and I associate it with the blessed silence of Being in the Tub, which is my sacred time during which no one can reach me and demand things of me. Even Mr. Typist seems to recognize bath time as sacrosanct, and will only approach to respectfully knock on the door and ask if there is anything I am need of. But somehow, recently my local drugstore ran out of Dr. Teal’s Pink Himalayan Mineral Soak, so instead I decided to try the good doctor’s Activated Charcoal & Black Lava Salt Soak instead. It wasn’t nearly as good and it left sooty, muddy streaks in the tub, but I took it philosophically-- after all, a bath is a bath.
However, shortly after getting out of the tub, I started to feel burny and itchy, and when I looked down at my arms, I noticed that there was a hot, red rash forming in the crook of both of my elbows. After a panicked mirror check, I saw the same rash forming on my stomach, too. Mr. Typist then confirmed that it was also present around the back of my knees. I kept telling myself to remain calm and that it was probably temporary, but I had a restless night of waking up and panicking that I was going to be covered head-to-toe in some sort of terrible, disfiguring skin disorder that would take years to get rid of and that would cause me to be shunned by society, dismissed from my job, and thrust into homeless—because I am a very rational person that way. It turned out to be nothing. The redness disappeared on it’s own and was just a minor, temporary reaction. However, I will never trust “Activated Charcoal,” whatever that is, again.
I was minding my own business the other day reading a book on the couch, when Mr. Typist walked into the living room and snorted derisively me. At first I thought it was because I was reading a novel, an activity which he disapproves of, but instead he was sneering at the holes in my socks. “My own wife,” he said scornfully, “is a hobo! Why there is a hobo in my living room? Woman, stop wearing your socks out!” Well, it’s not that simple. I can’t stop wearing my socks out, because I have Terrible Feet. Terrible, Frankenstein's monster, troll, Hobbit feet. Huge, unwieldy, misshapen feet with bones that stick out on the medial side that I think are known as “bunions.” I don’t want anyone looking at my feet, hence the “no-pedicure” rule. My trainer casually asked me about my shoes a few sessions ago, and while I answered calmly, inside I was fighting a body-dysmorphic battle to the death. Why did he have to mention my feet? Did he know all along how terrible they are and this was his way of mocking me? I calmed down eventually, but I still hate my feet. And now I have to go buy new socks so Mr. Typist will stop calling me a hobo. I feel guilty about hating my feet, because they do a lot for me and they are strong and sturdy, if not elegant. I should be more grateful.
Luckily, I can sublimate my foot dysmorphia by bingeing on a fantastically god-awful new Netflix show called “Spinning Out.” It’s really bad, in the best way possible. It has all of the pot-boiler ice-skating drama characters: The psychotic, ex-skater champion mom who is now trying to live through her daughters, the cruel, ambitious Russian coach, the smirking, good-looking rich guy, the spoiled rising star, the bitter older sister whose ambitions have been thwarted. It’s high-pitched and over-the-top and it takes itself very seriously. And there is lots of ice-skating. I love it. I plan to sit in the living room in my holey socks, clutching my bindle and watching “Spinning Out” until Mr. Typist leaves the house and returns with a bag full of brand-new socks for me. In the meantime, here’s a romantic ice-skate: