So... lately I was thinking about this notion that things which seem like a big deal to me, are not so to others. Not that this is a new thought--quite the contrary--but recent events have been rolling it over in my head more than usual. So what has always been a part of this muddied painting of my life is now jumping off the canvas a bit.
Much like my recent posting
about going to a local market, or even something like Target
, those things, by all accounts, should not
be a big deal. At all. And I still vaguely remember a time in my life when they weren't. Of course, that was when I was.... 15. Life would've been different then anyhow, for a lot of reasons. But still... the memories are still there, like will-o'-wisps flitting behind giant oak trees in a foggy, ancient forest.
Anyhow, the absurdity of the contrasts was starting to eat at me a bit.
Take, for example, hygiene. I would imagine this is something darned near everyone is familiar with in some fashion or another!
Watching television, seeing advertisements for X, Y or Z hygiene product... or maybe a segment in a show or movie showing people "going about their business," and I see the ... how to put this... casual abandon? with which the people do these things. For example (oooh, an example IN an example... shades of Inception
again!): teeth brushing.
I'm bombarded by images of people vigorously scrubbing at their mouths in front of their mirrors, scrubbing at their mouths while showering, scrubbing at their mouths while on the phone, dressing and walking around... and my personal favorite, scrubbing at their mouths while dancing to MC Hammer's Can't Touch This
in their pajamas and socks on their newly-polished hardwood floors.
Now. I realize (or at least, I sort of hope
) that most people don't do these things. That would imply a baseline insanity in the general populace that I wouldn't dare consider. However, even the most mundane of those options... standing in the bathroom at the sink. Scrub, scrub, scrub. I can use my imagination to see how this would be simple. Heck, I can just about still remember when it was for me, as a teen. Double heck, I can almost see how the absurd versions are also no big deal, to "well" individuals (though I would caution anyone about running around with a toothbrush in your mouth... that's just asking for a really hard-to-explain trip to the emergency room).
But for me, brushing my teeth is an ordeal. Is it complicated? No. Though flossing comes close. Is brushing confusing? No.
And yet, somehow... it's hard. Hard enough that sometimes, I just need to skip it. And that's horrifying (to me, as if I need more reasons to dislike my physical state of being, a feeling of uncleanliness isn't a welcome addition). Anything other than sitting still has a kind of "exhaustion index" attached to it (and even then sitting still can have its issues!). It seems like any given day, we have an allowance. Each thing we do bumps the little indicator up on the exhaustion index, until we are Done with a Capital D.
Get up? Bump. Go to the bathroom? Bump. Hygiene routine? Bumpbump. Get dressed? Bump. Get food? Bump.
And so it goes.
And with the example of brushing your teeth, here's what's bouncing around in my head...
How I Think Others Must be Doing It:
Baha Men's Who Let the Dogs Out
blares thumpingly, bedroom furniture vibrating across the floor as they dance around their immaculate (and huge) attached bathroom, half dressed, scrubbing their foamy mouths to the meaty, obnoxious beat. Bonus points for a small pet joining in on the dance. Double bonus points if they're doing it with a loved one; some otherworldly, morning rain dance which would surely result in Buick-sized clumps of white froth falling from the sky like as if burped out from a cosmic laundry mishap of Brady-Bunch-proportions.
Water + toothbrush + toothpaste + a few minutes of elbow grease + quick rinse = brushed teeth.
How It Feels to Me:
Drag myself to the bathroom and pick up the glass which is actually a metal bucket. Fill with water. Approximately four gallons. Grab toothbrush, which is made from a log. Grab tube of toothpaste and squeeze paste onto brush. This takes about an hour. Squeeze giant brush into my mouth, making sure to abuse my gums and shake my head for maximum dizziness. Brush with log until arm is dead. Switch to good arm, and repeat until similarly deadened. Spit toothpaste out and ignore the bucket of water, knowing I can't really lift it for a proper rinse anyway. One of the many elephants in the room will gladly drink from it when I leave.
It's like brain magic!
Only with more elephants.