Cleansing Chronicals, Day 1, Part 2 / by vanessa

When you are cleansing, at least at first, most things bother you. For example, the 30-ish girl who's learning to play Scrabble for the first time, sitting in the common area with her friend, insisting that "yule" is spelled Y-O-U-L-E. (This is after she tried unsuccessfully to spell "bonnet" as B-O-N-E-T. Then, when her friend corrected her, tried to pass it off as, "Well, then bo-nay -- as in Eric Bonet." Her friend reminded her that personal names are prohibited. I wanted to club her.) You see, under normal conditions, I'd probably smirk, maybe think it's kinda sweet. But now, when the effects of a nearly daily habit of wine and coffee and cheese are painfully prying themselves from my cells, all I can think about are things I would LIKE to say to this poor girl:

First, I'd ask her if she could even use "yule" in a sentence. Then, I'd ask her who the f**k cares that they have "many places like this" in the Bay Area. Maybe you should have stayed there. Then I'd ask her how the HELL you get to be her age and have never played Scrabble. Where were you raised? Norman, Oklahoma? And lastly I'd ask if I could play.

In meditation class I became so distracted by the instructor's moustache, I began to wonder if it was intentional. I once read this article about this guy at a Vipassana retreat who spoke about there always being a "plant" in the room -- someone with a quirk placed amongst the sitters whose function it was to annoy everyone else. The CW being that if you could overcome a plant you could reach enlightenment or something. In this guy's case, the plantee had a nasal grunting thing going on. I can't remember the outcome. Anyway, the instructor is nice enough, I like her, but that's just it -- she's a her, and how am I supposed to listen when I'm staring at a lip that shouldn't have hair on it? I am thankful when we have to close our eyes. Which is when I start thinking about what a horrible person I am. (Not really though.) On the bright side, the 30-minute meditation went quickly, and I a) love meditation and b) am 30-minutes closer to bedtime.

It's freezing in my room, btw. I'm convinced they keep the common areas heated up to encourage camaraderie. There is a matriarch here, Francis, who comes to this spa with her husband for TWO WEEKS every year from Columbus, OH. Do you know the price of this place? Judging by the rings on her fingers, she doesn't care. Anyway, Francis has a faint accent that I can't place but am enthralled by nonetheless. She greets everyone who walks into the sitting area and asks them where they're from. She assumes I'm from NY, maybe because I'm wearing all black with my hat pulled low and am reading The New Yorker. I'm not sure why I'm pleased by the mistake. Anyway, Francis swears she's seen me before -- were you here last year? -- and I tell her that it's been three years for me. There is a pride in being an alum. Newbies look at you with an awe that suggests you'll be able to ease their suffering by sharing what's to come. Even if you know what's coming it doesn't make the present any easier. I assure you. I take that back - it does. I know that when I leave on Sunday I'm going to feel way better than I did when I got here, and I'll have long forgot about the cookies for breakfast and the many, unopened bottles of wine at home. I'll go from here to a yoga workshop I've been anticipating for months and feel like I'm starting the new year off right.

Okay I might go rejoin civilization. I need something to scowl at.