SAD and Chuck’s happy place
The leaves turned and fell, and my spirits followed.
Why did I have to trade midday sun for a bank of fluorescent lights, and drive home mocked by the waning light of the real thing? Where were the women with skin the color of mocha? Where was their skin? And why did mine become so dry and scaly?
It was time for my morning cappuccino. One of my coffee mates said, ‘Why the long face, John Kerry?’
Charlotte Bell suggested I write a story on Seasonal Affective Disorder and how shopping at The Christmas Goose in Corydon could help alleviate the symptoms. Then she left to take inventory.
‘Seasonal Affective Disorder,’ I said.
‘That’s every season around here,’ said Keith Gibson, while drawing steam from his sparkling cappuccino machine surrounded by biscottis, syrups and wisps of various caffeinated aromas.
‘[Expletive],’ he added, as a chuckle originated from somewhere behind his ‘Do I look like a people person?’ T-shirt and rattled across the counter.
SAD was first documented before 1845, but it was only named about 20 years ago. It is believed to be an effect of seasonal light variation in humans. Symptoms include oversleeping and eating ice cream straight from the container when the days grow short and hips grow wide.
My eyes wandered among the palms and golden sands of sunny Bethlehem as I sipped my stimulants. Then I was kicked out for bringing a drink in The Christmas Goose. She was right. I did know better.
Minutes later I reclined in a cushioned chair at Nancy McKellar’s Arts and Artisans shop on Chestnut Street. The tea was green, the tie was dyed, and incense was in the air. We were vibing to some tracks by Modest Mouse when I was introduced to another alternative to SAD.
McKellar offers knitting classes, called ‘Cabin Fever’ classes, through March 5. She told me to call 738-2523 before throwing a Donner Party for any overweight neighbors whom I merely described as super-sized.
The door chime chimed, and it was Linda Runden, founder of Corydon’s Counsel House, in a fortuitous stroke of coincidence. Runden has more than 40 years experience with seasonal depression.
‘Do something for a shut-in or impoverished individual,’ she counseled.
‘So I’ll see that I’ve got it pretty good compared to them?’ I asked.
‘No. The very act of giving gives back to you,’ she said, noticing that I was writing down every word she was saying.
Runden also suggested I bake some bread. She said the kneading and aroma would make me feel better, and then I should give it away.
I don’t know how to bake. The aroma was awful. But I did feel better when I gave it to my grandma. I don’t think she can smell anymore.
She also suggested full-spectrum lighting from Eckart Supply, a facial and a new haircut. But I’m not sure all that was SAD related.
At The Natural Touch Spa and Salon, massage therapist Dencil Brown took me on a tour during which we used our library voices. Brown’s massage room was dimly lit and filled with the relaxing sound of trickling water.
‘How long does a massage last?’ I asked.
‘A typical session last an hour. We also do half-hour partial bodies and 90-minute full bodies,’ Brown said.
‘Does the water make people have to, you know, go?’ I asked.
‘When we first opened this place up, I think I was peeing every five minutes,’ Brown said, but he has apparently built up a tolerance since.
He showed me a steam shower, sauna, yoga studio and hot tub, as well as the relaxation room, which featured a gigantic mural of trickling water as well as a fountain filled with the real thing. Cappuccino is a diuretic.
‘Are you relaxed?’ I asked Brown.
‘Yes, I’m very relaxed,’ he replied, and I perceived that he was, in fact, quite relaxed.
Though I didn’t use any of the services offered by the spa, I was already feeling my chakras aligning when I entered the salon.
Licensed cosmetologist Bob Lee recommended a complete overhaul in the interest of taking me to my happy place. He echoed Linda Runden’s sentiments concerning my need for a haircut and facial. He even informed me that he uses cold stones instead of cucumbers. Whereas cucumbers make you smell like a salad, he said, stones do not make you smell stoned.
Nature touched me with its call, and I answered, but the weight of deep winter was lifted. I had found my happy place, and it locked from the inside.