Requiem for a Steam Bath (Warning: Autobiographical Snippet)
I like them hot, as hot as they can get--so hot that others sometime leave before I do. Upon occasion, I also enjoy talking to those who remain in the sweaty inferno. I have spoken apologetically and evangelistically to men in the steam bath at Goodson Recreation Center over the years. I have prayed in there, thought about writing projects, imagined kingdom endeavors. I never took the cell phone in.
Now it has become automated. You used to spray water on an opening to generate the steam. But tonight, the hose was gone. It must have broken, I thought. After taking a longer than usual hot tub bath (for obvious reasons), I told someone at the desk that the steam bath was broken. No, it wasn't broken, it was repaired! The old system, you see, taxed the steamer. They went through two in five years. The new system never goes above a certain temperature (too low, of course) and goes on automatically! Well, I was soaking in the hot tub for a long time and it never went on. Supposedly, it comes on when it gets cool enough. Opening the door helps, he said. I'm sure.
A small, infrequent pleasure is gone, thanks to automation and efficiency. What next will get worse?