Although some claim they like big butts and cannot lie, the world isn’t made for those with the “southend spread. “ Over the course of my childhood, mom regaled us with many self-deprecating stories about her weight.
They once took a trip to London. Mom called home and told me about the quaint little room with rose covered wallpaper which overlooked the overgrown garden. She gushed about the afternoon tea served by the charming lady with the lovely British accent and spoke of their plans to take a stroll through Hyde Park that evening.
Things went awry when she decided to take a nice hot bubble bath before bed. She was excited as she had never bathed in a claw foot tub before. It seemed delightfully old-fashioned and she thought this was probably the way Virginia Woolf had bathed in her time. She loved Virginia Woolf.
She started filling the tub, adding some bubble bath as the water flowed. She got undressed while the tub filled and the room quickly became humid and steamy. She stood there, naked and confused. In order to get into the tub she would have to lift her leg up over the side of the tub which now seemed impossibly high. She had not considered getting into this tub would be different than getting into the tub back home. Determined not to miss out on a Virginia Woolf bath, she carefully lifted one foot over the side of the tub, braced herself against the side of the tub, stood up carefully and brought her other leg over. Standing there, she put one hand on each side and slid into the water slowly.
Ahhhhh. Perfect. She lay in the warm tub thinking about English poets and writers.
She shifted and she heard a suctioning sound as she felt a seal form around her body. Her heart sank as she realized she could no longer move.
“Walt!” She called to my dad. He came into the bathroom. “I think I”m stuck.” He knew better than to laugh and proceeded to reach into the tub remove the plug. After the water drained she still couldn’t move. She found herself in a tight spot and even dad couldn’t help. He tried. And tried again. Oh how he tried, but she was stuck.
They called the fire department and soon several firemen showed up to pry her out of the tub. This is the part of the story where her embarrassment becomes palpable and as you hear it you vow never to let your southend spread.
But it does spread, and I thought of my mom on a recent trip to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. “Let’s ride this coaster,” they said. As I sat, squished into the seat with the bar unable to come down and the door unable to close I remembered the bathtub and not wanting a fire department moment of my own, removed myself promptly. I’m sure Virginia Woolf never rode a coaster either.