Saturday, January 28, 2012

Rest Cure

Resort/sanatorium... fine line
Peter and I have occasionally commented to one another that we’d like to take a rest cure – that 19th century confinement usually reserved for hysterical ladies of means. They were sent off to a sanatorium to lounge about listlessly, taking fresh air and other restorative remedies possibly/probably (I haven’t actually done that much research) involving caster oil, colonics, a minimum of exertion, simple foods, and deep breathing. Some ladies were sent off to “rest” against their will, probably so husbands didn’t have to listen to them whine about how awful it was to be a lady of the 19th century (corsets, boredom, lack of voting rights, etc.).  Then there was the heroine of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, The Yellow Wallpaper, which I read in college, who probably wasn’t too bad off when she began her rest cure, but during the course of it and due to the fact that no one would goddamn listen to her, she did in fact go quite mad and kill her doctor. I’m almost certain a rest cure wouldn’t have that effect on me.
Digression: If Peter and I went off (voluntarily, of course) together, he would probably get antsy after the first day of resting and pop off to see any historical or cultural sites in the area of the sanatorium while I stayed back to “rest” (but would end up watching cable TV channels I don’t get at home –A&E for example, which I had in my room in PV; I watched an episode of Hoarders in which one of the hoarders had 13 dead cats in her house [and over 30 live ones]. I’m assuming any sanatorium I found myself at would have premium cable). So I would rest and watch TV and Peter would learn all sort of interesting local historical and cultural facts and tell me of his adventures; he would good-naturedly tell me what I missed, like when I’m too squeamish to see certain movies and too lazy to read certain books which he reads/sees and then tells me what I missed. Now that I think of it though (and I realize this diversion is getting out of hand), Peter would probably love to watch Hoarders with me after returning from any more worthy excursions. He did after all get hooked on Big Brother when we were in London, and he doesn’t even have basic cable at home so Hoarders might be a real treat.

So the four and a half days in PV were as close as I might get to my ideal sanatorium-restorative-vacation. Some might get bored lying around reading all day, dipping in and out of infinity pools, and staring at the Pacific, but I didn’t. I had a great book to read, my every other day excursions into town for tacos, and S_ to chat with now and again. I hardly spoke to anyone else, brief hellos to the other guests and staff and my Espanol taco-ordering comprised most of my verbal interactions. The TV gave me tennis, a few sitcoms, and Hoarders, and the internet connection (pool-side wifi is a wonderful thing) gave me anyone I wanted to say hi to. But the main restorative cure involved the absolutely beautiful weather and the lovely setting. Simply sitting outside in 80-degree weather is a panacea in itself. Sunshine, warm breezes, watching and hearing the waves crashing on the sand… I’m not saying it would make up for having to wear a corset and not being able to vote, but for a 21st century lady, it’s a pretty great way to spend a few days.