Sunday, September 30, 2007

Old Soap


I threw away my bars of soap from Bath and Body Works off of principle. I've grown so sick of the scent of cucumber melon that two showers ago I could no longer stand it. They all had to go. Pretentious soaps that I purchased at a dollar a piece, marked down from 3 dollars each, almost as expensive as a 12-count pack of Dial soap…have collected in my bathroom cabinets for more than 3 years now. Where I once enjoyed the smell of sweet pea and mango mandarin glycerin soaps I now find them devastatingly annoying.

My shower, as for many others serves as a bit of a sanctuary, a meditation room, an imagination emporium. This is where I am at the most peace (while still being somewhat productive as compared to my bed.) My shower is where I craft my comebacks to snide comments, rehearse for job interviews and prepare days in advance for first dates. In the shower I sound like Mariah Carey, look like Naomi Campbell and have the skin of a baby. In the shower any man that should join me, actual or imaginary, is passionately in love…with me. Soap plays an important role in my shower experience. Besides the obvious role of a cleaning agent, the scent from my selected soap can influence my morning or soothe me at night. It can encourage me to reflect on happier times but in the instance of these soaps, unhappy times.

What the soaps reminded me of is not as important as the fact that I endured these memories because throwing away a bag of soaps from Bath and Body Works would be a waste of money. A waste of a time that was so painful and confusing that I had managed to measure its meaning in my life by the monetary value of a shopping bag of individually wrapped glycerin soaps. Perhaps I thought that after using all 20-something soaps I would have been able to wash away a really painful memory, or perhaps just clean enough for it to be benign. I'm sure that I believed had I thrown them away, it all would have been for nothing.

So I held onto them. Despite my preference for shower gels and body scrubs the glycerin soap was ever present in my shower, whether it was used or not. Until one day I repeat, I found them devastatingly annoying. Devastating because something I had held onto didn't have a place in my life anymore. Annoying because well, cucumber melon and sweet pea? Was I serious? In time even the most painful memories fade, the most elaborate plans and deepest desires can be washed away. And sometimes this is the most devastating of all.

So I trashed them on the principle that it is useless holding onto old soaps, no matter how much you paid for them, when your slate has long been washed clean.

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