Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Stressful Relaxation hr583

After I completed recording the main vocals for my new song in August, I came down with a cold. I got over most of it within a week, but a throat condition remained bad. It has been persistent ever since and I still can’t shake off this nagging condition. My throat hasn’t reverted to normal yet, which inclines me to anxiety. I try to return to health by relaxing and warming myself at the communal gym and spa inside my apartment complex every day. Those facilities are free to the residents while there is a catch. Their operating hours are limited and they close early in the evening. By the time I finished working and eating dinner, I usually run out of time for going there. I end up doing the dishes and changing into a gym suit in a mad rush and dash toward them. It’s like I go through a time trial before relaxation. Then, after I’m successfully in time for the operating hours, most of the time what awaits me there is something annoying. For example, a man comes into the gym while I’m on an exercise bike and turns on the TV that he makes blare right in front of me. His girlfriend joins him later and they lie down on the exercise mat while watching rubbish before my bike. “This is the gym, not your living room! And not the place for TV!” That’s what I gulp down with effort instead of utter. I’m forced to curtail my exercise and go into the communal spa. There, the residents take their babies and infants with them. They shriek, cry and go on a rampage. The mothers let them relieve themselves in the spa not in the toilet although the toilet is right there at the locker room, and poop is often lying on the floor. “This is the spa, not the toilet! And not the place for infants!” That’s what I gulp down with effort instead of utter, again. I submerge myself in the jacuzzi with the babies who may urinate next to me at this moment. While I’m taking a shower, the announcement that tells the spa is now closing comes from the speaker with a melody of Auld Lang Syne. Now I have to finish up quickly. I rush out to the locker room, hurried to put on my clothes and make barely in time before all the lights are shut down automatically as the operating hours are over. I’m the last one left there when the spa is in the complete darkness. I’m so accustomed to it that I always bring a small LED lamp with me. “10 p.m. for a closing time is too early! Lights should be kept on at least!” That’s what I gulp down, but sometimes utter for this once, as I’m alone in the dark. I dry my hair with a dim light from my small LED and leave. My brutally hectic time of the day finally ends like this. Thus, relaxation is so hard to get. I wonder when my throat returns to a good condition…

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Hidemi’s Rambling No.544

Every major holiday, my apartment building in the rural mountains is packed with families and groups from the city who want to spend some time in nature. They use this apartment as a vacation home and the regular residents, one of whom is me, call them ‘Visitors’. Most apartments in the building are used by Visitors and usually vacant. Since only few apartments are occupied by permanent residents, we have a quiet living environment. But once a holiday comes, Visitors that are four times as many as the residents rush in and destroy serenity. They are exceedingly in high spirits on the day of arrival, talking and laughing loudly, and their children are running tirelessly at the hallway. Both the communal spa and gym are full. The jacuzzi is crammed with shrieking kids. My usual heavenly jacuzzi turns into hell. When I once heard a mother who was soaking in that hell cry out ecstatically “Oh my, I am so happy!”, I felt pity wondering how disastrous her daily life was. Visitors, especially families from the city, wouldn’t obey the rules here. They often have a barbecue or light hand-held fireworks at the parking lot and are stopped by the caretaker. They let their kids use machines at the gym although a notice tells machines are adult use only. At the spa, they let their kids swim under big no-swimming stickers. They let them dive headfirst in a shallow stone tub over and over again. Needless to say, they let them pee on the floor inside the spa like animals instead of leaving for the bathroom at the locker room. A group of young women drink cans of beer in the jacuzzi. Visitors also take their pets here although this building is no-pets-allowed. They unleash a dog at the nearby park. They even dump cardboard trash beside the street. There is no end to their lawlessness and it’s hard to tell they break rules intentionally or they just can’t obey them. It seems to me that they come here to enjoy breaking rules. They annoy me so much in so many ways that I always wait for a holiday to end and for Visitors to return to the city. The closer the end of a holiday comes, the quieter Visitors become. In the end, they go back to their city life dejectedly with their head drooping. They pay an upkeep fee of this building every month to use it merely for several days in a couple of times a year. The total amount of money they spend for what they don’t use regularly is huge. And with their money, this apartment building is well maintained and the communal facilities are operated, which I use every day. Since I’m an accustomed giveaway-taker, I have no right to complain their bad manners. After they’re gone, I monopolize the whole spa and have the gigantic tub to myself again. I spread my limbs in the jacuzzi alone and say out loud “This is the life!” On my face is a malicious smile like a villain…

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