Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Conspicuous Consumption

We've been having some discussions recently on our book club board about who does and doesn't "need" a gas guzzler. I made some comment about buying a Hummer is essentially saying "I can afford to waste resources" as a form of conspicuous consumption. And for the most part, I don't know anyone who needs one full time, unless it comes with armor. But I thought about it a little more and decided that I wouldn't turn down a free Aston Martin or Ferrari. I probably would turn down a free Hummer (or resell it fast) but mostly because I'm not fond of them and really don't want to spend that much on gas for something I don't love. I'd rather spend my money at the spa.

This summer I wound up buying a certificate allowing me four 30 minute trial sessions of 4 different therapies at a local spa for next to nothing. Certainly for less than any one "treatment" lasting an hour. They do it to introduce people to their services and hope they come back for full price. And since it worked well last year, they tried it again and I get to reap the benefit. So far I've had a facial, a massage, and now, the water spa.

I'm not sure who thought up the water spa, but it is conspicuous consumption at its finest in the middle of a dessert. You get into a pod with a liftable lid, not unlike a tanning bed, but more round and more wet. They turned on soothing music and put essential oils in a tray for the steam to disperse. There are pads with holes in them to lay on and they can vibrate. The holes allow water jets to come up from the backside. Then there are various nozzles from the top too. There's chromatherapy and whatall. A vent blows mild air on your face which is outside with a little curtain to stop the water. It's ok as these things go, I suppose.

I have to say, being locked in a pod all by myself wasn't great for me. Plus, I was kind of over it in 12 minutes (there was a countdown timer) but I wasn't willing to give up my next 13 minutes even if the shoulder blade jets were just annoying. I suppose for someone who has a houseful of kids, neighbors, or invalids to care for, or works in retail, it would be a very pleasant escape from people. But I don't need any help being away from people. I can get all of the alone time I desire and then some. One reason I like massages and the like is that I don't get a ton of human touch in my regular guy life. While chiropractic almost falls into the "spa" category, it's at least partially medicinal. Massages are a little more luxury than not. So I pay people to touch me and that helps. This water thing? Not as much.

Plus, some designer went through significant trouble to make sure there was no way that any water jet would hit any good parts. (Yes I tried.) I understand that asking a masseuse for a happy ending changes their job description. But for a mechanical device designed for a nekkid body alone in a private room? I think they could have thrown in at least a little extra action, no extra charge. The lack of it felt more conspicuous than if if there had just been a little something-something. Just saying. (Sorry if you read that, dad!) It did get me wondering if they missed because they recycled the water or if it just went down the drain as I sat there sucking water out of the dessert for nearly a half hour. For no real good reason.

It wasn't all bad though as I felt relaxed enough on the way home to feel somewhat indifferent to navigating a couple of corners as sharply as I could have. And then took some leisurely time to put together a "Perfekt" shelf from IKEA. It's the 9" by 39" with 2 drawers and slots for 8 wine bottles. It's together and it looks good and will work for me when I mount it sideways between two other 15 inch horozontal shelves. I do find it ironic that this is now the second of two in the "Perfekt" design line that I've had to return.

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