Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yes, That Just About Sums It Up

This has certainly been a theme of the last two months: 

W.  H. Auden wrote: “Between the ages of 20 and 40 we are engaged in the process of discovering who we are, which involves learning the difference between accidental limitations which it is our duty to outgrow and the necessary limitations of our nature beyond which we cannot trespass with impunity.”

Via (what else?) The Happiness Project.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

I See...Dirt, Part 3

So far while moving into the warehouse I have employed a traditional cleaning method that the woman in my family have used for generations, or, to put it another much more accurate way, my mother's method, which is to say you go along on your hands and knees on the floor with a wet paper towel, or just your hands if you can't find a paper towel or are way too impatient to wait for the return of the boyfriend you sent off on the errand, and you stuff anything that looks important in your pocket and you mop up all the rest with your damp-and-getting-drier-by-the-second paper towel. It's just as backbreaking and mom-like as it sounds but you get fabulous results in a surprisingly short amount of time, although this method has been known to put you out of commission for the entire next day, but (according to my mother) that only happens to weaklings. I was 22 before I learned that people used vacuums for HARDWOOD FLOORS. For things you could SEE. My mother would have been on her knees picking that clump of dirt up with her bare hands and stuffing in her pocket faster than you could say, "The vacuum is..." (Usually, the end to that sentence, at least living in the sorority house, was: "...clogged." Once we took it to the vacuum place to get it fixed and they swore they'd found a softball in there.)

You'd think things like swiffers and clorox wipes would have been the best invention for my mother and I since sliced bread, but that thought would be wrong. For someone who doesn't really clean much, I have very strong opinions about it, and I've always had much better results with a plain paper towel or just my hands, (following my mother's example) and I've been known to wash my hands 15 times in an hour instead of just finding the damn paper towels because I keep picking up dog hair clumps and then wanting to eat, which also happens about fifteen times a day (again, for both myself AND my mother.) If the paper product industry depended on us, they'd be broke in a matter of months.

And it's even WORSE in the BATHROOM. I don't use even use washcloths, preferring instead to just splash water on my face and then drip dry into a hand towel, and I'll even use my fingers for TONER. The plus side of this method is, if you're using, say, apple cider vinegar for a toner, and you get some on the counter, you can just wipe it up with a paper towel and then keep going for a second or two and then you've cleaned your counters. Marvelous. (My mother bought a packet of cotton balls once in 1985. That packet is still in the cabinet below the sink.)

Along with her electric razor that has a missing chunk out of the razor blade, which hasn't been changed since 1985, so it takes a big chunk out of your leg when you're racing through shaving your legs because you just learned how. NOT THAT I'M STILL BITTER.

Friday, June 01, 2012

I See...Dirt, Part 2.

So, how do *I* shave, because I'm way too self-conscious yet to shave in front of my boyfriend and I'm terrified of making his gigantic shower work without him? Glad you asked. Backing up: how did I do masks before the mirror in the bathroom? (Which, ironically, is one of those little suction-cup mirrors you put in the shower for guys to shave in?)

Well, before this, I was doing it at work.

You read that right. Whenever I thought I needed a mask, I'd bring it to work, carry it into the bathroom, put warm water in a cup and bring a few paper towels, and camp out in a stall. It's only five minutes--the equivalent of a coffee break. Not difficult or fraud-y. (You can use your smartphone for a mirror, at least if it's not broken, or really any vaguely reflective surface will do. Is the top of the toilet well-scrubbed? What about the shiny stall walls? Etc.)

So when I realized I could use the same method to SHAVE...well. You can guess where this is going. I remembered the technique I learned in the slums of Ensanada: you don't need running water to shave if you have lotion. I had a few false starts (things that DON'T work: sunscreen, creamy face wash, olive oil, argan oil) before I realized that those disposable "blade-with-solid-lather-bars" are the absolute best thing ever. The first time I did it I forgot to bring paper towels into the stall, so I just used the toilet seat covers to wipe off the lather. Worked great and almost ZERO stubble rash, which is a miracle in and of itself. Related: I'm generally a natural-ingredient girl, but for some reason the faker and more gel-ier the shave gel, THE BETTER. Damn those silicones. Anyway.

I finally told my boyfriend I was doing it, braving embarrassment at telling him I was too embarrassed to shave in front of him, because I realized he might notice me staying shaved and never actually performing the action and *starting down a rough road*.

Most boyfriends, or men in general, might not notice or think anything of it if they did notice, but my boyfriend is one of the most observant and connected men I have ever met. He has "sensitive female" levels of perception ability. I *love* this about him, of course, because it allows us to have entire conversations in which the subject is never mentioned--essentially starting in the middle of a thought process--leaving the people around us rather confused, which of course is half the fun of having inside jokes in the first place. But we get to create them all the time. Moving on.

There is one thing that he is absolutely male about, however: he is much, MUCH, messier than I am, and everyone that knows me in real life is shaking their head right now and wondering just how messy could someone be? And that answer is: MESSY.

He's a genius, of course. He doesn't SEE dirt, just as I'm sure Einstein didn't see dirt. I am unfortunately either not a genius, or I am too steeped in female culture or social expectations or SOMETHING, because unfortunately, now I see Dirt. (It only took ten years and some very helpful and compassionate sorority sisters. Shoutout to Bergie, who was the nicest and most gentle person to ever approach me about the fact that my room...smelled.)

So, I'm used to filth. I can hang, as the kids say. I slept in the same bed as my DOG for several years, and he was occasionally incontinent. Yes, really. But now? I see Dirt. How do I handle it? Glad you asked! Stay tuned.