One of my favourite things in the whole world is sitting in the heat of a sauna after a workout.
But this Wednesday, I sat there with my eyes closed in pure and utter relaxation, when an unwelcome white light placed itself on the other side of my eyelids. I couldn’t think what it could be but it began to strain my eyes and I was forced to open them to find out.
Really? There sat a 20-something-girl, fully clothed from top to toe (seriously, she was wearing sneakers in the sauna), wearing oversized purple headphones and staring into the glaring light of her smartphone screen.
Okay, it’s 2016 – I get it. I’m used to seeing every single person on the bus glued to their phones and tablets, with the exception of maybe the odd senior. I’ve even become used to seeing couples sitting across from each other in restaurants (on what vaguely resemble dates), staring intently into their gadgets with their fingers frantically tapping away at their messages.
But bringing your phone into the sanctuary of a sauna? That I can’t get down with.
I like to think of myself as a reasonably laid back person who lets other people live their lives without judgement – but I ain’t gonna lie, I felt completely imposed upon by the experience of sharing a sauna with this girl and her device.
Some of you may know that I resisted getting a smartphone for a really long time – partly because I wasn’t convinced it would add value to my life, and partly because it seemed to be transforming people around me in a way I didn’t really like. I do have a smartphone now (though it doesn’t always live up to its name), and I do recognize its ability to make my life simpler and easier at times, particularly in terms of my professional life, and my ability to stay connected with my beloved sisters who don’t live locally to me. But I don’t welcome it at the dinner table, and I’m infamous for leaving it lying around in mysterious crevices of my house (on silent no less), while I enjoy living my actual life. I understand this is not how many people live. In fact, my husband goes as far as placing his smartphone in a sandwich bag so he can take it into the bathtub with him (sorry Seydou). And that’s fine, that’s his business.
But to bring artificial light into the sanctity of a sauna, and force other people’s eyes to go quickly from their sheer restful state to being squeezed shut in worldly stress and confusion – that’s just not on.
So to the girl in the fluorescent sneakers, learn to enjoy a tech-free moment in the sauna – it really is bliss. And if you simply don’t think you can, then let me enjoy mine!