Bathing with Austen: Saltwater

Bacon sandwiches always taste better after a quasi-swim; they also make me feel meditative, whether I want to or not. This defies the overwhelming claims that processed meats are the cause of “brain fog”. Or maybe not—after all, being in a meditative state is a little like experiencing a brain fog. Virginia Woolf had referred to Jane Austen as the “mistress of a much deeper emotion than appears on the surface.” Those deeper emotions are made intelligible near shallow waters as I enjoy my bacon sandwich.

Sea bathing, or heliotherapy, is still a popular concept today. The relaxing properties of salt water can now be experienced away from the sea—or so a woman at a health store tells me— as she (successfully) sells me a lamp apparently made of rock salt extracted from the Himalayas. I buy a small one for my room: it weighs 2kgs and costs $18. If the air in my room is being ionized I do not feel it. And I would much rather be eating a bacon sandwich by the sea than on my bed, in front of a computer screen watching episodes of Downton Abbey.

Beach visits are a novelty. So should be bacon sandwiches. I cross my heart and swear that I’ll begin my alkaline diet tomorrow. I google what might happen if I were to subsist on a diet of kale, and kale alone—the goal being to acquire a figure just like Lady Mary Crawley’s. I then google what Michelle Dockery eats. Marie Claire tells me sushi, wine, and Nespresso pods. I don’t drink, and I can’t afford a Nespresso machine. I decide that as long as I’m swimming I may as well allow myself some bacon on white bread slathered with butter. This summer, I’ll visit the beach often.

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