We spent the day in the Alps. I rode a cable car all the way to the top of Zugespitze — the highest point in Germany — while H skied the glacier below. Have I told you how much H loves skiing? If he had his way, he’d teach skiing year-round, barely scraping by as a ski bum. I tell him he should go for it, but he’s got the whole pastor-of-a-church thing going on right now. Maybe someday…
Skiing is hard work. And so is taking a cable car to the top of the world, where the air is so thin a person might start seeing stars if she’s not careful and decides to take the stairs to the lookout tower instead of the elevator (or so I’ve heard).
We played on the mountain for hours and, as the sun was somewhere in the middle of its downward arc toward Nebraska, H and I met up in the coffee shop on the mountain. We shared pictures we’d taken on our phones, and compared notes about our separate adventures. We agreed a hot meal and maybe even a soak in our hotel’s hottub would be the perfect end to what had been a perfect day for each of us.
A couple of hours later, we found ourselves in hotel bathrobes over our swimsuits, making our way to the spa in our hotel.
I’m the reader in the family. When we visit places like Germany (or Omaha, or the local food co-op), I’m the one who stops to read the bronze plaque (or laminated, college-ruled notebook paper) posted next to the threshold, with all the information about the building, its history, and its significance (or lack thereof) to the town’s citizenry. So, that’s what I did when we walked into the hotel spa. I stood and read the placard telling me to shower before getting in the pool, wear flip-flops when walking on the tile floor, use the spa at my own risk — you know the drill. I thought I did, too.
I peeked around the corner and started toward the door H had gone through and, just as I was about to reach out and open it for myself, the door swung open and H appeared. “Nope,” he said in a hushed voice. He used his hands to make X’s in the air, at his waist. “Don’t go in there,” he told me.
“Why?” I asked. “What’s wrong?”
“Naked,” he answered.
“Huh?” I asked. This was not computing. Naked? What does he mean? my American mind was asking.
“There’s no hottub,” he said. “Just a sauna. And showers.”
“Hunh,” I said. “That’s too bad.” Then, “Well, a sauna’s not my first choice, but I guess it will do.”
“Nope,” he said.
“But you love saunas!” I said.
“They’re naked in there,” H said.
“Naked?” I was shocked. And glad there was no hottub. “Is that normal?” I asked in a daze. I wasn’t quite sure what to do next.
So, here’s what we did: We took our bathrobed, swim suited selves onto the pool deck, and we sat down on lounge chairs next to the pool. And I tried to look cool. The honest truth is that H was not phased. He knows about saunas. I was the one losing it there, poolside in the hotel spa. “I’m going in there,” I said, standing up. I untied the hotel bathrobe.
Not one to disuade me from very much at all, H looked over and said, “In where?”
“The sauna,” I said. “I don’t have to be naked. I’ll wear my swimsuit.”
“You’ll be the only one,” he said.
“In the sauna?” I asked.
“In a swimsuit,” he answered. “And what will you do with your eyes?”
“Yeah. Where will you look?”
I thought about that for a minute. And here’s what I came up with: Good point.
And there I sat. Speechless. (No small feat.)