This is a real thing, I'm about to tell you. I didn't make it up. It's real. They have a business license and everything. We were headed to the Wimington Serpentarium (don't ever go there), and they are cash-only, so we went to the shop that is essentially next door, although you have to round the corner and go in from the other street, to use the ATM inside. And this shop? The one I didn't believe? It's an oxygen bar.
Perhaps you've heard of it.
Perhaps it is I who is so naive to the ways of the world--or the ways of
people who have money to spend on such frivolity--but myself, I had no
idea such a thing existed.
So here's the scoop. They have a
lovely and restful space--like what you find at a spa or massage
place--and over on the left is a tall, wide table, with a row of bottles
filled with liquid. They are flavored? Or are they scented? With
things like "springtime breeze" and "watermelon kiwi." The plastic
tubing runs into the bottle, pushes O2 through the springtime breeze,
and out the other tube, which ended in a coupler. Presumably, when you
purchase your minutes, you get a clean cannula for your own nose to
attach to the scent/flavor of your choice.
Nearby is a flyer
with "O2 facts," and it is probably this that bothered me the most. I
mean, hey, if you want to hang out, breathing oxygen when it's not
medically prescribed, and you think it helps with something, go for it.
After all, Michael Jackson, that bastion of sanity and health, used to
walk around with an oxygen thingy. You're not weird. (And seriously, I
feel a little guilty even writing this, because, honestly, if you like
it, and you feel better, go for it. I mean, I am a fan of Reiki, energy
work, crystal therapy, and all that. So yeah, this really isn't that
weird.). But it's the fake science that wigs me out. The fact sheet had
incorrect facts on it, but also led you to believe, in that passive
aggressive way of setting up incorrect conclusions from spurious data,
that we were all slowly dying of oxygen deprivation, and a few minutes
at an (pay-by-the-minute) oxygen bar would save our lives.
remembered pages from the Bill Bryson book I just read where he
describes the advent of refined sugar--people ate it till it blackened
their teeth, and then having blackened teeth became a sign of wealth and
So in some future book about life in the 21st
century, an author will describe these oxygen bars as an example of how
the rich showed off their wealth--they preferred their air watermelon
kiwi scented. To breathe unscented air was just so gauche.
Unfortunately, I imagine we will HAVE TO breathe special air soon enough, and then I will feel extra bad about this blog.
more importantly, we went to lunch with our friend Dave, and he took us
all around Wilmington, filling us in on the history of the area. I love
love LOVE the architecture of Wilmington. The houses are so beautiful,
and we promised ourselves we would return to Wilmington for a weekend
and make it a photographic journey. It is just so beautiful there.
watched the paddle wheel river cruise boat go by, saw the horse-drawn
carriages in town, walked by the old slave market, and I was drawn, as I
always am, to the history and Americana of these river towns. I love
to imagine the lives spent here when the water was the access to the
I like to think of the absolutely vital supplies being
delivered, how people counted on the shipments coming in time. And I
like to compare that to the richest of the people, who had more
frivolous deliveries, like fine silks or expensive furnishings. The
equivalent, I suppose, of the oxygen bar up the street.
write this, NASA is moving its next Mars mission toward the launch pad
for deployment this fall. It has a cross-country journey ahead of it,
in the belly of an Air Force cargo jet, before its big journey to Mars.
And I am thinking of how we will one day have "ports" on other planets,
and how the lives there will turn on the supplies delivered. For me,
it will be the chocolate, and perhaps the eggplant, and maybe sweet
potatoes. The way certain things taste a certain way, and they are
surely not going to be able to replicate the American sweet potato on
Martian soil. Clothes, furnishings, and other non-edible stuff--I can
adapt. But the flavors of home--that's what I would miss.
here in Cape Carteret, we just purchased our annual Bogue Sound
watermelon. They are truly special. I don't really like
watermelon--never have (unless you're talking jolly rancher, in which
case watermelon was da bomb)--but the Bogue Sound watermelon is a thing
all its own. It's on ice right now as I sit on the porch of Bill and
Frances, feeling the ocean-past-the-island-and-over-the-sound breeze
brush past my sandy toes. Now, this is air I would pay for.