Recently, I’ve been feeling a bit sorer than usual, hopefully the result of some tough workouts combined with relatively poor sleep related to a pretty significant schedule earlification this week, related to a freelance gig I’ll be doing this week. So, I figured I’d try it.
Step one: Purchase Epsom salts. This wasn’t difficult, fortunately—while the local CVS is a pretty terrible place where nothing is in a logical place and none of the employees know where anything is—but I managed to find it in the third place I checked. (Between the musical greeting cards and the scented douche, and yes, I’m disturbed that I figured that out.)
I picked the lavender-scented version, not because I particularly like lavender (I’m not sure what lavender smells like, actually) but because the plain version promised that it was good for reducing stiffness and soreness in joints, as a saline laxative, and for gardening. That’s just a bit too disturbing a combination of functions. It’s like buying a weedwhacker that can also play MP3s and babysit.
I got the Epsom salts home to discover a fairly serious problem. I’ve never taken a bath in my apartment, just showers, so I didn’t realize that the tub doesn’t actually have a stopper. But having spent $4.99 or something on magnesium sulfate, I wouldn’t let that deter me.
This plate didn’t successfully prevent the water from flowing down the drain.
But fortunately, several years ago I was at a rehearsal for my then-improv team, which happened to take place in the generally vacant downstairs room of a bar. When rehearsal was over, we climbed the stairs to discover that the bar was hosting a promotional event where several young ladies were distributing samples of Guinness, Harp, and Smithwick’s. They were also giving out small little glasses, slightly too big for a shot but far too small for a pint, and for some reason I kept one of these glasses for several years and a move.
Since it’s unlikely that I’m ever going to drink from this glass, I figured there was little harm to trying to use it as a stopper. And it sort of worked. I mean, I had to hold it in place while filling the tub, because the drain is right underneath the faucet and the flow would knock the glass out of place, so that was a bit stressful, but what is an Epsom salt bath if not stress-inducing?
While the tub was filling, I started hearing some frantic pounding, which made me even more nervous. One of the things the building manager was really bizarrely intense about when I moved in was about all of the horrifying disasters that could occur if you overflow the bathtubs. Black mold, breaking through the floors, China syndrome. Looking back, I have a feeling it’s just that her pa done got shot by an overfilled bathtub when she was just a young ‘un. So upon hearing the pounding, I was concerned that a downstairs neighbor was trying to alert me that the two inches of water in my tub had somehow turned into a tsunami in his bathroom. (Fortunately it was just construction in the apartment upstairs.)
So I continued filling, and holding the glass in place even though doing so meant that I kind of had to have my legs up and akimbo since there wasn’t anyplace else to put them. That’s okay, though. Legs up and akimbo is a good position for a naked man.
Well, for a little while. Eventually I got bored and decided, that’s full enough. The tub didn’t really have that much water in it, but I displace a bit of water, so if I carefully did some really uncomfortable gymnastic contortionism I could have half of my body decently submerged for a little while, at least until the other half started spasming from the unnatural position it was being held in while my arm was still reaching down to hold the glass in place.
Having achieved this position, I set about to the extremely stressful task of relaxing. It went sort of okay. The bathtub isn’t really long enough for me to be in all at once, so I had to keep shifting back and forth, letting my torso soak and then my legs.
You know, soaking in a bathtub really doesn’t make for a riveting story, so let’s spice it up by claiming that right at that point, alien invaders from the alien world Alienalia stormed into my bathroom declaring that I had offended their leader and I should prepare to die. Don’t worry, I didn’t. With incredible bravery and quick thinking, I grabbed the stopper-glass, leapt out of the bathtub and slid on my wet feet across the tile floor, slammed the glass along the toilet lid on the way, and in one quick motion used the sharp shard to decapitate my attackers.
Of course, with only an alien-blood-covered fragment of glass left to block my drain, that pretty much meant the Epsom salt bath recovery experiment was over. How did it go? It’s hard to say. It certainly didn’t hurt anything, but I’m not really good at detecting minor soothings, which is what the Epsom salts claim to do. There was no moment where I said “Aha! All of my aches are cured!” I can’t say that I felt any differently in the morning either—but again, I’m pretty bad at telling.
Nevertheless, due to the minimal impact, and the hassle of plugging the drain, and the fundamental problems with trying to Tetris myself into a bathtub that’s smaller than me, I doubt I’m going to try it again.