Saturday, May 18, 2013

Little bits of paper...

It happened again.  Twice in one morning is a bit too much, I think to myself as I look at the blizzard of Kleenex fragments falling from the clothes I am taking out of the washer and getting ready to put in the dryer. The floor looks like the snow is sticking and I think to myself that I might be dumb enough once not to check my pockets for Chap Sticks, keys or stray Kleenexes but twice and in the same morning? 

Evidently I'm that dumb because for the second time within an hour I'm sweeping up damp clumps and flakes of whitish goo that have fallen from my jeans, my black t-shirt, my socks and the whole load.  Sheesh!  It's never money that falls out, since neither the boys nor I carry cash. Besides, money would either rattle or just become a nice wad that can be flattened out and dried, ready for use again. Kleenexes don't do that.

Allergies are the pits.  Mine aren't severe but they are persistent. I don't know that they're particularly seasonal because my nose seems to be persistently running no matter what time of the year it is, hence my always tucking a Kleenex or two in my pocket just in case.  Often I use the tissue and then discard it, but I may only use one of the two I stuck in there so one remains to be laundered and then subsequently flutter to the ground when I start to transfer the clothes between appliances. I mentally kick myself but I have a sneaking suspicion that the next time I do laundry the same thing will happen again until and unless I do something to remind me to check the pockets.

Thinking whimsically, I wonder if Jesus had pockets? I know he didn't have Kleenexes but was he human enough to have allergies?  Would he have used his sleeve? The edge of his cloak? I wonder if Mary would have told him it was impolite to snuffle? I don’t think even the most complete records of ancient life ever addressed runny noses and the need for swabbing cloths. No, I'm not going to get any real answers from the tradition sources.

Culture seems divided on things like Kleenexes. There are those who eschew them entirely, preferring to hawk and spit, regardless of how disgusting or unsanitary the practice. There are those who prefer to use cotton or linen handkerchiefs, with or without lace edges depending on the gender of the user, and who either honk mightily or dab daintily on the more environmentally friendly variety. Then there are the Kleenex users who see them as more sanitary and can be seen carrying small packets in their pockets or purses in case of need when a sneeze comes on, the nose begins to run, or even a baby’s face needs mopping. I confess I am of the latter category. I do carry Kleenexes and I do use them, especially early in the morning when I’m outside walking. And that is where my problem begins.

How to resolve the difficulty of forgetting to check my pockets? In theological reflection language this would be called an action statement, what I intend to do as a result of my cogitations on the problem. I could be uncouth and wipe my nose on the edge of my T-shirt as I’m walking but I don’t think that’s much of an answer. I would feel like Mama was going to whack me on the back of head even though she's been gone more than half a century. I could always buy some handkerchiefs although I would probably have to buy them in the men’s department as I don’t remember seeing any more feminine hankies in the stores anymore. Funny, we used to be able to buy them, both plain and fancy; I remember having bought some for Mama on various occasions like birthdays or Mother’s Day. A cotton hankie may be something to consider though. Another option would be but a small sign on the washing machine noting, “Check your pockets” and then all I would have to do is remember to look at it. I tried that on the front door with a small sign saying, “Take your pills.” I usually manage to remember to take them before I get to the door, but there have been days, more than I like to think about, where I go to the door, open it and walk right through the doorway without ever seeing the sign right in front of my eyes. 

I will have to come up with some resolution or else be doomed to continue cleaning the washer, the dryer filter and the floor of little flecks and balls of forgotten Kleenexes. Either that or add another doctor to my stable, this time an allergist who might be able to give me shots or pills to render me free of the Kleenex curse.

The Kleenexes are cheaper, but I wouldn’t have to sweep up the bits of allergist off the floor and the he wouldn't cause a dryer fire either. That's something to consider.

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