Nomological Net

Stray thoughts from here and there. The occasional concern for construct validity. No more logic. Fish.


faults in the clouds of delusion

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Water does not boil at 104 Fahrenheit. However, when a large enough volume of it is placed in an ambient temperature that is closer to 10.4 F, indeed a few degrees below, interesting clouds of steam rise from the surface. That is one of the first things I observed after realising that I hadn't yet frozen to my death. There were three of us in this tub, out in the open on a cold, cold night, on the back patio of a cottage nine thousand feet above sea level in the Rockies. 1/1/2007.

The tub was placed a few feet away from the french windows of the cottage living room. The wooden slats that formed the patio were iced over completely, making them cold, naturally, but also dangerously slippery. The three steps that led to the tub were as icy, and jagged to boot. The balcony that surrounded the tub on two sides was covered with three inches of snow.

We had arrived at the cottage late in the afternoon. The previous day, driving through a twisty mountain road, our car had gone into an extravagant 90 degree spin and ended up perpendicular to the lane, smack bang in the path of any vehicle approaching from either direction. I felt lightheaded after the experience (it was exactly a year to the day that I'd been parasailing at 800 feet, almost exactly a year to the bungee jump). A couple of the others had felt deeply disturbed. Earlier in the afternoon we had had to dig our way through over a foot of snow to someone's house to ensure that her cat - home alone - had enough to eat. The cat liked to watch people and rub noses.

That was the previous day. This day, we drove more slowly. On arrival at our cottage we played Pictionary and drank tall glasses of rum punch that I made. My glass got kicked over by accident. We then went out for sushi. Hot sake went well with the weather. An hour or so later, we were skating barefoot over our frozen patio, mince-stepping our way up into the hot hot glorious tub.

We cleared some snow off the railings and balanced our plastic glasses precariously. Each glass was six inches deep in Baileys. I hadn't realised how big they were -- the bottle finished with that single dose. The next evening, as the glasses emptied, the wind knocked them off their perches. We lay back in the steaming heat. Ten-minute long jets of hot water drilled into our backs and shoulders. We lay back as if in our own separate trances. There may have been conversation -- I do not recall it. (The next night we talked about the Godfather series, and Ozu.) We looked up at the clear sky and the almost-full moon. A frozen river ran soundlessly by. Every few minutes, we changed places, moving anti-clockwise to get the new view. Every so often, we'd stretch an arm into the cold dark night and retrieve our fading glass. Sometimes, we dipped the glasses into the water, watching them bob as they balanced, and the ice warmed its cockles inside.

I lay back and closed my eyes and thought about the year gone by.

We must have been in that tub for over two hours that night. When we got up, it was past midnight. Navigating the three steps and four feet from the tub to the door was an adventure and a trial. Once inside, recovering from the twin shocks of the fierce cold outside and the raging fireside within, I wondered at the state of relaxation that my muscles were in -- all wobby-dobbly from the their two hour long massage. It was only the next morning that I realized that the alcohol may also have played its part.

I wobbled my way to the shower and thence to bed. And slept nearly nine hours that night. Over three more than any night in as long as I could remember.

May the rest of the year be as good.


Goodbye, 2006

Hello, 2007


Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

That was such a perfect recounting of a holiday. It almost made me want to be there, and I do hate the cold, so your words must have been very vivid.

Yes indeed, scotch it is, for whiskey can be Irish, or heavens forbid, Canadian (Crown Royale anyone?)

A very happy new year to you!

1/07/2007 9:44 AM  
Anonymous sudophish said...

sounds too good to be true!
Happy new year

1/07/2007 1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy new year. The one time I took a warm tub bath (alone in my apartment, with a bad back), I could barely walk to bed afterwards. And this was in only-moderately-cold NY. I don't think alcohol played a role either.

1/07/2007 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds perfect.
Should set the tone for a great year ahead.

1/08/2007 11:48 AM  
Blogger km said...

Ah, so you beat that avalanche.

alcohol may also have played its part.

May? :)

1/09/2007 12:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice. Loved the pictures. Let me know if you're free this weekend.

1/09/2007 5:10 AM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

happy new year to all, and --

welcome back! yes, i'm suitably awed by the impression i made on the angeleno. must have been the mention of the 104 F.

it was :-D

you mean you've never taken a hot bath?! it's my no. 1 stress-reducer by far.

hope so but i have my doubts :-|

yes, may. and we beat the blizzard the week before, and the near-crash at the airport the day after as well. charmed.

thanks :-) we just got back from chicago today -- i'll be in touch.

1/10/2007 6:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said... about being negative!
Have shifted to the US from HK?

1/10/2007 12:31 PM  
Blogger sattva said...

sounds like a lovely way to start off a new year! here's to many good times for you.

1/10/2007 5:21 PM  
Blogger Tabula Rasa said...

just a realist :-D
no, the big move will be in summer. am still bouncing around the us right now, though. the payoff for taking vacations is extra work.

thank you :-) i bet you had a happening new year as well...

1/11/2007 3:52 AM  

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