Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

I’m sorry, I don’t get this one. I mean, I understand all the words. I know what they mean in English. I fully comprehend the sentence. But the meaning escapes me. “Laver séparement 3 fois.” “Wash separately three times.” What?

Does that mean to wash it separately from everything else the first three times, then wash it normally with the other whites after that? Or does that mean wash it separately, with the other whites but run the load three times? Every time? Or do I only have to wash it separately the first three times, after which I can throw it in with anything I want? Even colors? That would be a good trick. I may try that last one just to see what happens.

I don’t get it. And I don’t get why this particular item would need special washing instructions in the first place. It’s just a hand towel, for God’s sake. And not even one of the fancy show-towels. Just an everyday, plain, white, cotton towel. Help me out, here. Am I missing something?

Please tell me if I am, I mean, I do miss things from time to time. Not too long ago, a man I know said to me, “How can you sleep when there are dishes next to the sink?” I was profoundly confused, even though I understood every word in that sentence, too. What do dishes and sleeping have to do with one another? The sink is nowhere near my bed. The dishes aren’t loud or anything.

It took several moments for the paradigm to shift, then I realized that because the man posing the question was a maniacal neat freak, it was incomprehensible to him that a person could be relaxed enough to actually fall asleep knowing that there were household chores unattended to in another room. And as a person whose cleaning products have been known to collect dust, the whole premise just didn’t make any sense to me. No wonder I was lost.

You see, Anais Nin was right: “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”

So I am trying to see this towel as it is, not as I am. Unlike me, is it unconcerned about the effects of reckless water consumption on our planet’s dwindling natural resources? Does it suffer from a debilitating compulsion to wash itself excessively? Is it an isolationist? Does magical thinking cause it to repeat everyday activities three times in the belief that this will influence the results of the Superbowl? Or does it just crave attention?

I am trying my best to understand you, white towel! But I think I am going to need some help analyzing your special needs. So I put the question to all of you: how do I care for this towel? While I eagerly await your responses, I think it would be best to soak the towel in its very own basin of warm water, next to a copy of John Cowper Powys’s A Philosophy of Solitude. Wait, make that three copies.


2 thoughts on “Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

  1. [this is good] I think what you have there, missy, is a magic hand towel. Either that, or a racist towel that cannot abide to be with others.
    Regardless, I would follow the instructions exactly. But after you do that, feel free to wipe the floor with it.

  2. Three cheers for Todd Kahle, who e-mailed me this very logical explanation (leave it to an engineer).
    Maybe this hand towel mfgr has one label to cover all colors. In the event that this had been a brightly colored towel there may have been a risk of the color bleeding and damaging other garments.

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