A Week at the Spa

So how did I end up at doing a holistic detox for body, mind and spirit for a week?  My favourite (and only) daughter-in-law, Betty Boop, talked me into it.  Here’s the pitch I got from her:  Hubby (my son, a.k.a. Big Billy) just started a new job and can’t take any vacation, I have overtime coming to me, I haven’t had a vacation in ages, COME WITH ME WE’LL HAVE FUN!!

I should have been suspicious of the mind and spirit part of the sales pitch.  I’d been to a spa many many years ago, in Miami Beach, a place called Harbor Island Spa.

My friend Mrs. Smith found it in a book listing the best spa deals in North America.  Oh it was cheap alright, and for good reason.  Harbor Island Spa had been around for several decades … and so had the clientele.  At the time Mrs. Smith and I were 40, and we were the youngest guests at the spa by at least 40 years.

There was a huge portrait of Larry Paskow, the original owner of the spa, complete with a light over it, in the lobby where all the old yentas would stop to cluck.  ”Oy, Larry was such a good-looking man.  Wasn’t he handsome?  Such a good-looking man.”

Harbor Island Spa was a Catskills resort with palm trees and low cal food.  Every night there was some kind of entertainment.  Like the has-been washed-up comic that arrived by taxi, stooped over, smoking a cigarette and hacking up a lung.  Or Angel, the ballroom dancer and her husband.  I’d never seen longer false eyelashes. 

At 8 am every morning, they offered arm-chair aerobics.  Having never heard of arm-chair aerobics, we decided to check it out one morning.  Five minutes in, one of the old men (and there were damn few of those, most of the guests were widows) passed out and fell sideways off his chair.  He hit his head on the cement and 911 had to be called.  So much for arm-chair aerobics.

The owner had a couple of sons that were in the business plus one of the daughter-in-laws and a grandson.  The daughter-in-law was a general manager of sorts and the grandson, who was around 15 years old, handed out towels by the pool.  I forgot to mention that we were at this spa in August.  That’s right, we ventured to Miami Beach in the summer.  Who does that??  This made the spa deal exceptionally cheap, of course, which was of paramount importance to Mrs. Smith and me.   I felt sorry for that kid, having to hand out towels to a bunch of geriatrics for his summer job.  Not something The Beach Boys would have written a song about. 

Suffice it to say that there was damn little holistic detox for the mind and spirit going on at Larry’s joint.  Not so at the spa where BB and I are staying.  Talk about baggage, oy.  No shortage of needy fucked-up losers here!    

BB and I are the only ones here for a relaxing time, tasty vegetarian fare and some pampering (mud bath, seaweed scrub, etc.).   Everyone else is here to ‘heal’ themselves.  There are only two couples, the rest are single women. 

Of the two couples, one is from San Francisco.  The wife is on the 7-day juice fast, the husband is just along for the ride.  He’s not juicing and he doesn’t go to any of the treatments.  He wears the same pair of decrepid torn shorts every. single. day.  Keep in mind that a week at this spa costs $3,000 per person.  The husband isn’t into re-aligning his chakras, but he’s supportive of his wife’s desire to be here.  He gets full marks for that. 

The other couple is hard to miss.  He talks loudly to everyone in the dining room.  I overhear him talking to one of the divorcees: He and his gal pal are both coming out of bad marriages although neither is officially divorced yet.  He has two teenagers, so does she.  They’ve taken one vacation together with all the kids, he claims that everyone got along.  He’s here to quit smoking and I assume she came along for moral support.  They start off the week lovey-dovey, sitting in the same overstuffed armchair for the evening lecture.  By the end of the week, he is barely speaking to her.  And when he does, he’s sarcastic and crabby.  One night, he shows up alone.  I feel sorry for her, she seems like a normal person.


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