I haven’t been my best self this 2016, and last week was particularly bad. I had lots of plans, but I went from two days in bed with a cold, to a partial recovery, to a day of throwing up, which meant another two days in bed. By Friday, when I was off to Galway for work, I was definitely ready to be normal again.

I arrived in the lovely hotel that my work provides in Galway with literally one thought in my mind: Jacuzzi!

When I checked in, the pool was open for two more hours. I wasn’t going to spend two whole hours there, was I? (Obviously, I was)

I’ve written too often about how much I love saunas and steam rooms and hot tubs and swimming pools. Water relaxes me. Being so close to being naked makes me feel less self-conscious about my body. And it’s the only thing that soothes my joint pains. It is about the only experience I can do that’s guaranteed to make me happy, without any hangovers. Until now.

I had been relaxing, soaking, splashing, sweating, cooling, heating and bathing for an hour when I was joined in the hot tub by four young men. Four happy young men. Friendly, athletic and American. Full of questions and bonhomie and big white American teeth.

Were they fratboys? A hot tub full of frat boys? Does pornography come true?

As it turns out, they were not fratboys.  They were band nerds. They were from the University of Virginia Marching Band and were in Ireland because they’d been playing in the Dublin Patrick’s Day Parade. We chatted for a while. They’d never seen swimming caps before and were amazed by them, saying American girls would never wear them. They also told me that they preferred Galway to Dublin, as Dublin seemed a bit too geared towards tourists. I assured them that Irish people do live in Dublin, but they didn’t seem to believe me. They asked me about my job and when I tried to explain the course I was teaching in Galway, they just didn’t understand. I wish I’d said I was the CEO of a major multinational. The truth is almost never the right option.

This may not sound like a very sexy conversation to you. But you are not me.

I ended up staying in the hot tub well past the point where it was comfortable.

Eventually, I made my way back to my hotel room. I felt all warm and cosy inside, all my joints were relaxed and my heart was happy. I felt better than I’d felt in weeks. I did an hour or two of prep for my teaching the next morning and I went to bed.

I woke up at 5:00 am, in the middle of a nightmare and quickly posted on Facebook.

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Not only was I having nightmares, I was sweating like a maniac. I had hung my swimming togs on the radiator to dry. The room was so hot, I was sure that my togs were minutes away from catching on fire. I staggered out of bed to rescue my togs (and the whole hotel from burning down). As it turns out, the radiator wasn’t even on. My togs were still dripping wet. And both of the hotel room windows were open. It was two degrees outside. And I was overheating.

The marching band boys had charmed me into staying too long in the hot tub with their flirtatious talk of swimming caps and Dublin tourism. I think I might have boiled my insides a bit, and I was experiencing heat stroke, with nightmares and a fever.

But it was worth it. Totally worth it.


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