The Type of Luxury Even I Can Get Behind

I have been struggling with how to approach this subject. Truly I have. And my apologies in advance to the more fragile readers out there. But my life has been raised to such a high level of satisfaction of late that I just had to share it with you, dear reader.

I don’t know why luxury makes me so uncomfortable. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never had the opportunity to get used to it. It feels like something out of my reach that I don’t deserve. I’ve never been to a spa. I’ve never had a manicure or a pedicure. I just recently had my first professional massage, and I loved it, but I haven’t had one since. (Thanks, COVID.)

What I’m about to tell you has never even been on my radar. I’ll just put it right out there: I bought a bidet. Specifically, a Luxury Class USPA 6800 Bidet Seat for my already existing toilet. I was able to justify this purchase in my mind because using less toilet paper is good for the environment, and also I got a screamin’ deal at Costco, which never hurts. I’m telling you, it has changed my world.

All things toilet seem to be taboo, so I never thought I’d say this out loud, but I have never used a bidet before this. Therefore I had no clue what I was missing. I didn’t realize how deprived I have always been.

The toilet is an excellent place to think, and here lately I’m thinking that I must be experiencing what every human who has been present for a bathroom improvement must have experienced. It’s like unspoken heaven.

Imagine what it must have been like to go from squatting in the woods to using an outhouse. Imagine tearing down your outhouse because now you have indoor plumbing and don’t have to venture out in the snow to do your business. You get the idea.

But this bidet is like experiencing interstellar travel for the first time after having trundled around in a broken down jalopy for your entire life. This bidet does everything but digest your food for you.

I mean, it has a night light. A pretty blue night light. It has a heated seat. It has a dual nozzle system for front and back. The water is temperature adjustable, and it oscillates. I mean, who is expecting oscillation? I certainly was not. It still makes me giggle.

It has a remote control. A fan. It self-cleans. And it comes with a warranty, for cryin’ out loud!

And speaking of clean, I have never felt so clean in my entire life. Clean as a whistle. Squeaky clean. So clean, in fact, that now when I use a primitive public toilet, I can’t wait to get back home to my own.

And most of the time I remember that TP is no longer required at home. But sometimes I forget. There’s a lot that one does in the bathroom without thinking, it seems.

So yeah, there you have it. I got a bidet. Blush. Life is good.

Uspa+Toilet+Elongated+Bidet+Seat

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Traveling with Tab

I once went camping in Europe and the people setting up the tent next to me pulled out of their van, I swear to God, a TV, a wooden fixed-leg table with matching upholstered chairs, an electric stove and oven combo, a rotating fan, and a futon.

Seriously? What’s the point of tent camping if you’re going to bring your whole house with you? I think we as a species have gotten very soft.

I am imagining rich people from the Elizabethan era packing all the comforts of home in gigantic trunks and piling them onto the roof of their coaches as they flitted from one mansion to the next.

Nowadays that’s all of us (except for the part about the mansions).

Don’t agree with me? Come on. Who among us hasn’t seen someone go into a full-blown panic if he or she doesn’t have access to a smart phone? Lest we forget, for the better part of human history, those things weren’t a necessity.

Years ago I was traveling overseas with someone who had never been out of the country before. He insisted he was going to bring eight 6-packs of Tab with him, because that was all he would drink. It took a lot to convince him that the hassle of lugging all that soda from pillar to post would not be worth the thirst it might quench. I finally got him to see reason, but he did insist on eating at McDonalds in foreign countries for as long as I knew him. I was appalled.

We all have our gadgets and tchotchkes. We love our satin neck pillows and our squatty potties and our hair straighteners and all manner of technology. We insist upon different shoes for every occasion and Little Mermaid DVDs to appease our children. We are awash in lotions and unguents and supplements and sprays. We pack 14 shirts for a 3 day trip, because you just never know.

We no longer know how to rough it. We want what we want when we want it. Is it any wonder that airlines now charge a premium if you exceed your luggage weight limit? Otherwise some of us would want to bring our favorite recliners.

I urge you to experience the joy of traveling light. If there’s something you require in a foreign country and you can’t obtain it there, you might ask yourself how an entire country has managed to survive without that thing. And the pursuit of that item might even be one of your more memorable travel experiences. Anything that makes you actually interact with the natives can only enrich your trip.

Remember, people survived for centuries without a hair straightener. It’s a nice luxury, but it’s still a luxury.

luggage

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“I’m Bored!!!”

I was just the right age to be tortured by the Watergate hearings. I was 8 years old in 1973 and those hearings pre-empted daytime television for weeks. At that age, it felt like years. I had no idea that a gripping piece of political history was unfolding before my eyes. I thought I would lose my mind, since television was one of my primary forms of after school entertainment back then. I remember wailing, “I’m bored!!!” to my mother, and she’d reply wearily, “Read a book.” Usually I’d just sit on my swing and cry. I was such a brat.

I have no idea where I got the idea that I should be entertained at all times. It’s insane, when you think about it. Saying you’re bored is like saying you are entitled to constant pleasure. I don’t know anyone who enjoys that level of privilege. Even the super-rich have to suffer through board meetings and long flights to Australia. Boredom visits us all.

I suspect that Generation Z will have an even harder time coping with boredom, because they have so many different ways to avoid it. If they’re treated to presidential investigations (fingers crossed, here), well, there’s always Netflix. I would have killed to binge watch something, anything, I Love Lucy, whatever, back in 1973.

Nowadays I’m kind of grateful for boredom. Please, God, give me a routine, predictable day with no surprises. Because the older you get, the more you experience those moments of “un-boredom” that are exciting little tastes of hell. The death of loved ones. Waiting for medical test results. Those times when your kid drops off the radar. Political shenanigans. Work SNAFUs. That strange noise in the back yard when you’re home alone.

You’re not bored at those moments, believe you me! Not even a little bit! That’s when you realize that boredom is actually a luxury.

So boredom can visit me any time it wants. I’m always grateful for an excuse to take a nap. And yeah, okay, my mother was right. You can never read too many books.

Watergate hearings
Zzzzzzzzzzz…

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Darkness Revealed

When I drive to work at night it’s a completely different experience than when I work a day shift. Even the nuclear power plant, normally a blight upon the landscape, looks beautiful. It is all lit up and floating in a sea of blackness like a nighttime cruise heading for the Bahamas.

The traffic flow is different as well. There’s less of it, and although it seems like a more lawless group of drivers, and definitely a more alcohol-soaked one, it feels safer. This is a dangerous illusion that requires one to be on the alert.

Criminals rule the night, or at least that is what Hollywood would have us believe. So there’s also this underlying sense of excitement and danger. Most people who are out at night are there either because they have no choice or they like the thrill and the atmosphere or they don’t have the sense to be vigilant. Or they are predators who are up to no good. And since these people can’t be told apart, you have to assume the worst.

What I like about the dark hours is the sense of isolation. Even though there are still the same number of humans on the planet, somehow at night you can often feel as if you have it all to yourself. What a luxury. I look up at the sky and revel in the quiet and imagine that all those stars are a part of me. We are star stuff, after all. I seem to breathe easier at night. I feel embraced by it. I’m where I’m supposed to be.

It takes a certain amount of faith to feel safe at night. You are, after all, being deprived of one of your senses. Anything could be in the darkness. Anything at all. You can’t really be sure. There’s so much out there that you can’t see. Everything is hidden from you, and there’s quite a lot of it.

Indeed, that feeling of abundance can overtake our senses. At night we become more. More romantic, more fearful, more uninhibited, more exuberant, or more lonely and depressed. People hate to be alone on a Friday night. You never hear them complain about being alone on a Friday afternoon.

The nighttime feels like an grand entity that the daytime can never even hope to become. It takes a special effort to overcome that prehistoric desire to hide, to hibernate, to wait out the darkness. But if you make the effort, you often reap rare and sensual rewards.

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