Human Highlights: Indulgences
Last week, we posted a brief writing prompt on indulgences: gifts we give ourselves with no one’s permission but our own. Here are some of our favorite responses — on solitude, surfboards, and more.
Table for one
“Hello, ma’am, can I ask how many will be dining with you this afternoon?”
“Just the one!” I reply cheerily, a tone that seems to rearrange the features on the waitress’s face to convey confusion. In a split second, she corrects herself, now smiling she nods and escorts me to my table.
As I sit she looks over as if to ask, “are you sure?” Before removing the second set of cutlery. — ZUVA
When we were married, he never wanted me to be too bright or noticeable, in anyone’s line of vision… When I left him, I dyed my hair the color of a new penny and reminted myself a fire-engine-haired siren queen. — Becca Bycott
No microwave popcorn here. On top, I put butter, salt, and parmesan. Indulgent. Oh, and I eat my popcorn with a spoon. Try it, you’ll like it. — Linda Horton
I carve a curve like a skate on ice as I spin around in the road, knock the shifter into drive, and press my foot to the pedal. The car gallops as I grasp the steering wheel like reins: I am piloting, but I am also hanging on for dear life. — Jenny Hicks Furner
My first time, I thought I might go insane. Sensory deprivation seemed like something out of a sci-fi novel I hadn’t yet discovered. A silly, bougie fad for bored housewives, I assumed.
Now, I swear my sanity hinges upon my hours in the float pod. The dark, dreamy, weightless world beckons me from the chaos of life. The quiet comfort surrounds and supports me, as the tension melts from my muscles.
— Renee Dubeau
I’m in a baby pile. It’s like a dog pile but sweeter and with more elbows. — Jamie Lou Moniz
My secret indulgence, the thing that is just for me, is an elephant. She’s soft and floppy; her fur worn because I hug her tight each night, or lay my head on her, or let her catch my tears. I bought her for my baby daughter, and then I stole her. Now I call her “my elephant.” — Lauren Harkawik
We don’t do relationship, we don’t do co-dependence, we don’t do expectations. — Zita Fontaine
Notes on buying a ring
Many could claim I just fell prey of the consumerist oppression of an industry that forces women to don themselves in meaningless baubles to pretend relevance. I will let them say any words that humor them. I won’t even try to argue otherwise. At some point, we all enjoy having a tangible token on significance in our lives.
I will just embrace that vintage advertising campaign (because 20 years is already considered vintage, isn’t it?) that urged, “Women of the world, raise your right hand,” of wearing a ring on the “other” hand to celebrate oneself. I will let this token of zirconia and fake colored sterling silver, as frugal as it is, be a shining beacon of celebration of my achievements and independence, as any other symbol ever was. — Sierra DeCarmen
The alien scrunchy texture under my fingers thrills me. I don’t have to ration how I grab it. I can poke it all I want… When I was a girl, I was never allowed to squeeze the Florist Blocks — crumbly green foam that normal people stick flowers stems into. Mama kept them for flower arrangements, naturally, not for toys. But oh how I craved that strange feeling and sound of crunching the forbidden stuff. — Tantra Bensko
On a whim, I purchased this pretty tissue paper because I was curious just how good the fancy TP might be. So, I coughed up $44 for a case of 24 rolls and I have thoughts. — Shannon Ashley
I dip one finger in, just past the nail bed and lift it slowly allowing the yellow paint to drip back into its receptacle. I gingerly aim my finger at the canvas and flick. The acrylic lands with a satisfying sound like the first sprinkles of rain and I dip my fingers in again. — Kayla Douglas
We both paddled and caught the incoming head high wave. I popped up and glided easily down the smooth face. It was the first wave I rode on Big Red.
Big Red has since been retired and replaced by Mable and Palapalai. Even though I don’t ride my old surfboards, I can’t bear to part with them. Big Red is cut into pieces and her logo, measurements, and personal note left by the shaper are framed and hanging on my wall.
Most of my surfboards these days only vary slightly in measurements, but their differences are felt in the ocean. To my parents, it’s an expensive indulgence to spend money on nine feet of epoxy or fiberglass. For me, it’s a necessary indulgence, so I can ride the waves of the ocean, instead of the waves of emotions life on shore can bring. — Natasha Hughes
Owning a car may cost me more time and money than I can reasonably afford right now, but it gives me so much in return. How could I give up the ability to escape, on a long drive or in the brief moments before I roll up the windows, extract my keys, and rejoin the world? — Christina Passarella
“Aren’t you glad it’s fall?” the barista asks me after I pay, even though it’s 97 degrees outside, and I’m going to have to turn up the air conditioner in my car to enjoy this hot beverage. — Tara Blair Ball
Meeting a friend for tea. No agenda. Town gossip and fashion. Hanging out is the mortar between the bricks of friendship. — Jane Trombley