“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it”—Sidney Harris
Is there such a thing as being “too relaxed”? Recently I had the pleasure of partaking in an ultimate Spa Day at a local resort. The day ended, however, with me sobbing uncontrollably in the reception area.
My morning consisted of lazing in the comfort of a beautiful lounge. I sprawled onto a comfy couch in front of the glow of the fireplace. Classical music filled the air. I was enveloped in delicious warmth. I sipped hot tea. I read, I dozed, and I chatted quietly with my friend.
Eventually, an attendant ushered me into a lavish treatment room. For the next few hours, I enjoyed a manicure, a pedicure and a luxurious treatment called Indian Head Massage. Aromatic oils were dripped onto my forehead and massaged into my temples, hair, neck and shoulders. Soft flute music floated magically. The aroma of scented candles filled the room. Total bliss!
Afterwards, I spent the afternoon poolside, wearing a decadent fluffy robe, and sipping a glass of cold Chardonnay. The view of the Hockley Hills was a like a spectacular utopian paradise. My friend and I were enjoying some delicious “girl talk.” We compared nail polish colours. We giggled and laughed like teenagers.
Ultimately, it was time for our day of luxury to end. We had to head back to the real world of chores and family obligations, grocery shopping and laundry. We sighed and glanced over our shoulders at the stunning Hockley Valley panorama. We traded our soft fluffy robes for our civilian clothing, paid our dues, and retreated to the parking lot. Once we arrived at our cars, we lingered for a last hug, a few more laughs, and some remaining tidbits of gossip.
Once we’d said our final goodbyes, I climbed into my car, tooted my horn and waved farewell. As I reversed from my parking spot, I thought I heard a very subtle thump. I shrugged and hit the open road. I marvelled at the fact that my shoulders felt two inches lower. My breathing was slow and shallow. I was completely at peace with the world. I loved my life and everyone in it.
I glanced at myself in my rear-view mirror and laughed at my image. Each strand of my oily hair was sticking out randomly on end, above my makeup-free face. I was quite the sight to behold. Did I care? No, I did not. The only plans that I had for the rest of the day were to read and nap on my favourite chair.
I pulled into the driveway and reached over to get my purse. I patted the passenger seat and it was not there!? I looked into the backseat and there was no purse to be found!? My heart started to race as I raised the hatch of my car and searched the trunk. Nothing at all! Zilch!
My mood changed dramatically. I went from Queen of Zen to raving lunatic. I suddenly recalled the soft thump I’d heard as I had pulled away from my parking spot. Could I have set my purse down beside the car? Would I have been so irresponsible as to have driven over it and continued on my merry way?
The drive back contrasted sharply with my drive home from the spa. I was a mad woman. How much cash had been in my purse? How would I replace my credit cards? …my writing journal? …my favourite lipstick? …my new hairbrush? I hated my life and everyone in it.
I squealed into the parking lot and bolted to the place where I had originally parked. There was no purse – nothing – empty tarmac all around! I was crestfallen. Where did it go? Could someone have taken it? Of course someone had taken it. It was gone.
I took a deep breath – a Good Samaritan had likely found my wayward handbag and taken it to the front desk. I assured myself I would find it there. I scrambled for the front door and ran inside. I sprinted to the desk and breathlessly implored the uniformed young woman, “My purse – has anyone seen my purse? I put it down in the parking lot and drove my car over it. Has anyone seen it?”
The desk attendant gave me a sympathetic glance and whispered to another staff member who assured me she would check in the back. I was positive I heard giggling. How could they find this funny? This was not a laughing matter! Finally, they returned and informed me that nothing had been turned in. At this moment, I “lost it.” I went into a full-blown frenzy – what Oprah refers to as the “ugly cry.” I stammered and staggered and hyper-ventilated.
Mid-tantrum, I happened to see myself reflected in a large mirror. I was shocked at what I saw! My hair was wild and greasy, flailing in every direction. No wonder the staff had been snickering! I looked like a mutant Ronald McDonald or a crazed circus clown. My no-makeup face was tear-stained and full of self-pity. Snot bubbles had collected below my nostrils. I was clad in my yoga pants and an over-sized t-shirt, ironically emblazoned with “Stay Calm and Carry On.”
I ignored the judgemental gazes from the other guests. I ran from the building, frantic and inconsolable. I drove back home sobbing and hitting my head against the steering wheel. How could I have been so foolish?
When I arrived home, I was surprised and very relieved to see my purse sitting on my front porch. There was a note beside it that read:
I watched you as you drove over your purse and then proceeded to drive away. It was kind of funny. I guess you were so relaxed after our Spa Day that you didn’t even notice. I tried to catch up with you, but you’d gotten ahead of me and I had to stop for gas. Anyway – thanks for the great day. I feel so tranquil and calm right now and I hope you do too. Let’s get together and have another Spa Day soon.
Love, Your Spa Buddy xoxo
Needless to say, once I recovered from the shock of the entire experience, I was filled with relief and gratitude. I am looking forward to another Spa Day, but next time I will keep my purse firmly on my shoulder.
Epilogue: By the way, the contents of my purse were relatively unscathed. My phone survived, as did my wallet and all of my credit cards. Unfortunately, my favourite lipstick and my new hairbrush were crushed beyond recognition. My ego took a bit of a bruising as well – but I eventually recovered.