Disclaimer: In the course of reading, some might perhaps get the impression that I have OCD…
I don’t. 🙂
~. ~. ~.
It’s a few minutes past the hour of seven on Tuesday morning. I’ve just stepped into the bathroom to get myself freshened up for the day. I feel good – I didn’t sleep in, didn’t skip my quiet time, drank at least two cups of plain tea, and I murdered every last one of the flies dumb enough to venture into the hallowed territory that is my room. In fact, on stepping into the bathroom I kill another for good measure (apologizing before the attack because in all fairness, it had just been minding its own business. Still, I am on a roll here…). I stand there getting plaque off my teeth, thinking how pleasant the day is going to have to be – considering it’s started off so nicely.
I begin bathing; half-humming, half-singing, thinking to myself how pleased my choir leader would be if she could hear me sounding less male with my tone smoothening out and everything (if you’re reading this ma’am, it’s true!), and then I glance at my bucket. A smile spreads on my face and I mentally laud myself for my skills in resource management (if you were privy to my current living conditions, you would find this laudable too, trust me) – here I am, just about finished with my bath and I have a little less than half a bucket left.
Well done Kwiksie.
As I make to rinse the soap and dirt from my ankles and feet, I freeze…
Let’s pause the narration here. How many of you can testify to having experienced the premium irritation of rubbing – say the inner part of your arm for instance – dry with a towel, after a nice squeaky bath, only for small particles of what looks unmistakably like dirt to begin appearing? As in, where did they…how? Why?! I cannot begin to describe how annoying I find that occurrence, especially when I’m low-key feeling like the queen of hygiene after some unnecessarily long, steam saturated rendez-vous with my sponge and Dudu Osun in the land of wash up. It makes it seem like all your effort at being “next to godliness” (refer to Bible to get the joke) was nothing but an exercise in futility doesn’t it? I find it painful really.
Anyway, back to the story.
So I’m standing in freeze mode, wondering why my ankle region appears to me like I’d just carelessly flung soapy water in its general direction – right after trudging through a large basin of a fairer cousin of engine oil’s. Accepted, the weather is usually hot, dry and dusty in these parts, and I’m a fan of shea butter and Vaseline (both greasy dirt attracters) so I wouldn’t be too perturbed if they looked like this after a long trek or something. But here are some of the issues:
- I walked only for a very brief period of time the day before.
- I cleaned my feet with a damp cloth as soon as I got back.
- I didn’t go out again for the rest of the day (I.e., was in mostly concrete/terrazzo floored arenas)
- I hadn’t even applied much petroleum jelly because it is always hot, and I had experienced a ‘sample app’ version of this problem before. (In fact, the habit of creaming was partly made, simply to avoid my sister making a sudden appearance to remind me that I’ll be looking like a scaly fish with leathery skin in the near future if I didn’t change my ways).
So in all fairness, this really should not be happening to me.
Needless to say at this time, I am not at all pleased. As though this development isn’t ample bad for me, I begin to find similar trails of grease on my calves and arms. Am I under attack? What is going on? I look to my bar of soap, ready to lay the blame on thick but then I think better of it – this bar of soap is my only ally at this point, along with the remaining water. I attack the streaks and trails viciously; scrub, rinse, notice something I miss, REPEAT. This happens nothing less than six times (might have been more), until my bar of soap is close to miniature, and my bucket of water totally spent.
I still find a few marks in spite of all my scrubbing and vehemence. However, they are almost imperceptible (almost) and a lot fewer than what I earlier detected. I only notice them because by now, I am closely inspecting my skin with narrowed eyes – daring any more dirt to remain in plain sight. I confess, I now leave the bathroom at the end of the struggle feeling mildly frustrated and upset. As I walk back to my room, thoughts are competing for attention;
So much for a nice refreshing bath. Why was there so much grease? Is it the soap bringing out dirt all the way from my dermis? The water looks clear enough…but is it somehow dirtying me instead of cleaning me? Will I ever use shea butter again at this rate? Why is Nigeria so hot though? If bathing won’t work, what will? Maybe I need a stronger sponge….
By the time I’d toweled down and applied a sparing amount of water-based cream, I felt better. My skin wasn’t streaked and sickly looking – just plain melanin. Glory. I drank more tea and began resurrecting some of the earlier buzz my bath encounter had attempted to kill. I decided before leaving for work that I was going to share my experience with you; partly to remind you that though Vaseline and S.B can be great, water based creams are also handy when your world is like mine now. But also because even as I struggled on the 3rd wash/rinse to un-dirt myself, the thought kept coming to me:
Is this not how people must feel when they live their whole lives working to make themselves ‘clean enough’ for God? Spent, frustrated, and oh-so-irritated?
The thought came to me repeatedly, and it made me sad. If I felt so drained after a not-so-successful bath in my opinion, imagine what such persons are putting themselves through.
To be continued…