I thought I was going to break down and turn on the heat last night, but I didn't.
I figured Dec. 16 was too early in the season to do so.
While sitting in the futon all wrapped in blankets yet not quite warm enough, I decided on the bath route instead of the heater route.
I crumbled granules of salt from the blocky clump inside the bag of Epsom salt, massaging the plastic covering to coax them out into the water pouring hot from the spout.
I grabbed my recently organized candles and made a selection of a handful of them, which I placed in a line on the tub's edge. I enjoyed striking the match that lit them, down the line.
After peeling off my work clothes and fleece jacket, I stepped into the water. I rustled the salt grains sitting on the bottom of the tub with my hand, and they dissolved as more water plunged into my sitting chamber.
I noticed that the water was actually steaming, and that the candles I had selected were each a different color, a rainbow of sweaty wax. Thing I buy rarely match; I just like all the colors.
I turned the handle to stop the waterfall and, well, remained sitting. I immediately felt a little too warm, and reflected on our never-satisfied existence as grumpy, spoiled humans.
Eventually I leaned back, and as the water level adjusted the water started to drain, through an emergency chamber that keeps the bathtub from overflowing. I was mildly annoyed, but mostly just sitting.
Sometimes the cat visits me while I bathe, and I have terrifying visions of his tail catching ablaze from the candles and setting the apartment on fire, the fuzzy fuze doing its work.
He didn't visit me last night.
I alternated between sitting and lying back.
I shaved my legs.
I thought about the thing I'm trying not to think about.
I watched the flames of the candles and marveled at that which is fire. Marveled at how I struck a match and lit five separate wicks, then extinguished the match, then five separate flumes remained independent yet came from the same source. Thought about how fire was discovered. Thought about the sun, a boiling ball of fire that keeps me warm and fends off depression.
Thought, thought, thought. Though about that thing I'm trying not to think about.
I got into the bath to get me into a hands-off mode. The tub is a great place to tear one's fingers from the keyboard, from all our cycling habits, pacing repetitions that we do when given some free time. Nothing like stripping down and putting yourself in a bunch of water to keep you from doing anything else.
I lifted and lowered my legs from the water. Watched the water slide down the now-exposed thigh, the edges evaporating. Pulled the leg back under and watched the dimples of my knee create a dimple in the water.
Watched the water steam.
Watched the candles flicker and send black smoke upward, mixing with the steam.
Sat up and hugged my knees.
Looked at myself in the closet mirror.
Wondered if the cat would come visit.
Not quite sure if I was ready to get out -- if I had an appropriate enough "experience" of a bathtub experience -- but then pressed the drain plug and stood up to towel off.
Thirstily I poured myself a glass of orange juice -- one of my current almost-obsessions -- and petted the kitten, in the living room, simply sitting on the carpet. I love how soft their fur feels when I get out of the shower or bath. Holding them against your naked chest is the best.
After a little more Internet time, I pulled myself away from the laptop, got myself a glass of water, selected a book from the shelf, and got back in the futon.
I woke up around 3. It was raining. And thundering, which never happens in LA. The cat seemed a little confused.
My shirt was moist with sweat. Guess I didn't need the heater after all.