The departure toward my traveling destination was emotionally and nearly physically hampered when I discovered to my discontent that all my duffel bags are belong to us. That is to say, they have all disappeared. Somebody set us up the bomb. * See 'EDIT'
Luckily, my friend Ashley had a spare bag. She brought it with her when she came to pick me up. I packed quickly and was on my way. My sister has kindly given me a tote bag--for my return trip I'm bringing a few more items back than I left with: little gifts for friends and co-workers, a knitted scarf my sister made for me, a fantastic book (Mapping the West) and a sinfully expensive and rather ugly watch my late father bought for himself, lying to everyone by saying it was a gift from Goroslav Keller. My sister doesn't want it and I may either keep it or sell it. It's quite nasty looking but it does have a date feature and I'm lost without one. For the sake of clarification: my father's watch can't get me a date, but it can tell me what day it is.
Now, on to the musings:
I'm always fascinated by what personal care items people buy generics for. My sister spends more than the average bear on organics (in all things). From food to detergent, to cleansers, to makeup, to clothing--if there's an alternative and healthier way of doing something--she's got it. And yet she buys cheap, disposable razors to shave with. Disposable razors and also toothbrushes account for an insane amount of landfill waste. It's just a curiosity in an otherwise blamelessly stocked house. Yet most interesting.
On the topic of hygiene: I don't smell like myself and it's making me unhappy. I don't smell unclean, because I'm not. I'm as clean as I can be amidst all these all-natural, all-organic unguents. I want a nice, simple white bar of soap. I don't want a marbleized blue and green wonder that smells of mint and roses and creates no lather and leaves one's hand towel a vaguely sea-foam color. The resulting mess is a vaguely sea-foam smelling me. It is unkind.
I wish also not to be using shampoo that burps slowly from the bottle, the consistency of baby food, the color of a sinus infection. Worse yet, it smells like paint stripper. For a few wild moments of indecision, I wondered if Nic had perhaps replaced the shampoo with some sort of solvent: Nair, turpentine, acetone... But then I realized that a natural gal such as herself would have some alternative cleaning solution by Dr. Bronner's or whatever for that also...so I felt better about using the shampoo, though not necessarily safer... The conditioner was equally horrid, though not snot-colored. Praise Him.
I cannot bring myself to speak about the laundry detergent. It was unlike anything I've ever encountered. It may have been a portal to another dimension, it may have been a container for lost souls. I never want to go there again.
On dressing: I would also enjoy a full-length mirror. Anyone who knows me knows I spend as little time as possible looking at myself. Having said that, I like to be kempt. I like to be able to see the entire presentation prior to setting forth upon the world. I like to be certain all belt loops are looped, the trousers hang adequately, the shirt is correctly tucked in and then pulled out just so. I like to see how unruly the hair is in relation to the breadth of my shoulders, and if it exceeds shoulder width, is there a way to wrangle it more efficiently? I like one long pull at the mirror to check for blunders, errors, gaffs and visual hiccups. There is no such mirror here. I have felt a mess since arriving. Between the new smells, odd solvents, lack of visibility and strange diet...I am undone. Still polite.
On thieving cats: I had the good sense to bundle my watch, ring and necklace together in a large and heavy mass. Thus, when the banditos arrived later that night to carry them away, they were thwarted. I appreciate and understand their desire for my jewelry. I, too, am a beast for shiny things: they always catch my eye and distract me. Pure instinct said 'lock up your gems or cats shall claim them.' I'm glad I listened.
A Continuation of Cats: I have discovered that I'm more fastidious about a litter box than my sister. When I had my old cat, I cleaned her box multiple times a day. I can't stand the sight or smell of cat excretions, few odors are half as noxious, and my nose works supremely well. I'd forgotten how unpleasant it is to clean a cat box, and she has two of them: boxes and cats. The boxes reside in the bathroom. The cats reside wherever they please. When one showers, one must dry one's foot, slip on a sock, step one foot out, dry remaining foot, apply second sock--exit shower fully. Or else one's feet will be encrusted by clumping cat litter. Few things so foul.
These animals reign supreme. They go wither they pleasest. Counters, sinks, tables, chairs, tables with food, counters with food, you name it, they are there. I don't like a cat upon a counter. I prefer my feline fecal matter confined to ground level. One shudders when one spies bits of clumping kitty litter next to one's cereal bowl. And shudders again, when one notices a small furry shape hunched over the rug, worrying some hapless creature. That one soon discovers is merely a piece of one's cereal that said Bad Cat has stolen from one's bowl, silently, moments before...the effrontery.
Finally, somewhere between Georgia and Kansas I've lost the ability to produce moisture for my epidermis. I feel like old parchment paper. I fairly crackle when I walk. I dare not turn to quickly for fear of tearing...
It will be good to come home.
* EDIT: it has come to my attention that not everyone is familiar with "somebody set us up the bomb." Pop culture, where art thou? All your base are belong to us.