2016 - The Year of the Bath

by Derek Holser, Tastemaker in Residence

2015 has come and gone, and 2016 is already 2% done. Yes, time waits for no one, and finding time to do anything but jump from one hectic event to the next has become commonplace in modern life. Just yesterday, my phone had 11 different alerts/reminders pop up to help me go from one half-finished conversation to three incomplete projects to my daughter’s basketball game to a dinner grown cold. 

Emails flood my six inboxes, and it seems like I spend the first hour of each day unsubscribing from the latest torrent of advertisements and sales for everything from pills to help me lose belly fat to the latest “must-have” handbags and scarfs (handmade by hipster artisans in a locally sourced coffee lounge next door to a completely organic and GMO-free soap and candle maker).

There are plenty of days where I (and likely you, dear reader) want to borrow the iconic words uttered by Howard Beale, the fictional anchor of Union Broadcasting System in the 1976 classic film Network:

Though we may feel like following Howard’s example, we won’t. Because that’s not very civilized. And one of the first rules of participation around our Spirited Table® is to maintain grace and decorum in all that we do. We are called to engage one another with hospitality and joy. So we will, and we do, and we should. But, sometimes there’s still the nagging sense that there’s too much going on, there’s not enough time, there’s not enough money, there’s too many people to please…whew!

What then? What can we do to alleviate the daily pings of our networked life? What will assuage the repeated jolts and knocks against our psyche? Surely there is relief from the perpetual e-interruptions that slit our spirits like a million virtual paper cuts until our joy is gone.

Well, friends, I’m here to tell you there is. And it’s as close as your full bathroom. Full as a realtor describes it, not full as in occupied.

That would be weird.

It’s been years since I occupied a certain space in my bathroom and maybe for you as well. You know the one - that empty oblong container on the floor with the capacity to hold gallons upon gallons of water. This common rectangular fiberglass (or acrylic or even cast iron) vessel can be a repository for stress, anxiety, and fear. Yes, you know the place of which I write. The place in which your child-self spent many hours with plastic toys and bubbles piled high. 

Like everything else in this hectic age, for efficiency’s sake, at some point I transitioned to showers instead of baths. And I no longer played imaginary games with toys. I no longer made a beard out of bubbles. Well, maybe it’s time to breathe a little. I say it’s time to return to the bath. For me, 2016 will be the year of the bath. Slow down. Rest and recover. Close my eyes and slip beneath the suds.

There’s no better time than now, either. You see, January is officially Bath Safety Month, so I encourage you to join me. If enough of us traded baths for showers, I think the serenity and peace that would be ours might grow contagious. We might even begin to change the world! We may even have time to finish a conversation.

So, tonight or this weekend, I challenge you. Turn off the phone. Turn off the TV. Light a few candles. Fill up the tub with steaming hot water and more bubbles than a preschool class at Easter. Soft music is allowed, if necessary, but instrumental only. 

Slide into the sweet respite, close your eyes and picture the glee of making this brief sanctuary a habit. And, while you do so, don’t bring your curling iron or hair dryer into the water. That’s hazardous. Also, be sure to have a non-skid surface upon which to step when you exit. Stay safe, but stay serene. I can think of no better way to restore balance and sanity than to make 2016 the year of the bath!