It’s taken me 54 years, but I’ve finally learned how to chill. How to really, properly, chill. And it’s in the hot tub.
When I set it up, about four weeks ago, I knew I was going to get good use out of it. It was never going to be one of those things that gets used for a fortnight then becomes an expensive white elephant banished to the loft or the garage with the exercise bike, the foot massager and the leaf-blower. I’ve used a hot tub regularly, and it’s always been a favourite sociable activity with friends, chatting and sharing drinks, maybe with music.
The first few nights, I experimented with what drinks to take up there (a long glass of semi-frozen horchata was surprisingly successful), and sat there in the bubbles sipping and gazing at the stars over the Axarquía mountains.
In the second week I experimented with ways to wedge a magazine on the control panel, played about with some solar lights, and wondered about plugging in some music.
At the start of the third week I got home one night much later than expected, and leapt into the tub without a drink and without a magazine. For a moment I considered getting out and going down two flights of stairs to the fridge. Instead, I leaned back in the hot bubbles, and felt them massaging my tired back muscles and stiff neck. I shut my eyes and sank lower into the water. As the tension left my body, my mind too began to relax. With my ears below the waterline, the sound of the 120 bubble-jets rushed around my head, chasing out the busy-ness and the imagined problems.
It’s the 40 minutes of my day when nothing intrudes. Sometimes a smile flits across my face as odd thoughts and images float unbidden through my mind. A Skype catch-up with a friend overseas, a cartoon on that day’s Facebook feed, a good memory of the day, a photo or a stimulating IM chat.
A chuckle, tonight, remembering a conversation with Alberto and Arturo in the bar in San Pedro. Switching to English I managed get Arturo to say that he enjoys “getting into hot water” before I gave in and explained to him that in English it has two meanings. It was revenge, albeit directed at the wrong person, for my inter-cambio session when Jose had almost manipulated me into the classic English mistake of saying “Estoy caliente” until I spotted his mischievous eyes and caught the half-grin on his face before falling into his trap.
But mostly, very few thoughts. The odd smile, the odd memory, then nothing. Gaze at the stars, or eyes closed and listen to the bubbles. I’m getting better at thinking less and less in the hot tub. Instead, I’m just chillin’. Just chillin’ in the hot tub.
© Tamara Essex 2013
THIS WEEK’S LANGUAGE POINT:
We’re taught that adjectives go after the noun in Spanish, and of course that’s usually true – except when it doesn’t! Adjectives that describe size or quantity often go before the noun, as in gran hermano (big brother) and so do “first /second” as in la primera planta or el segundo plato. But the other time the adjectives goes first is for emphasis or when there’s a strong emotion, such as esta aislada ciudad (this isolated city), or un resonante exito (a resounding success) or in an epithet such as malditos Yanquis (damn Yankees!).