Thursday, December 5, 2019

On Brushing Teeth

My dentist convinced me that he wouldn't have to fill my cavities so often if I would just brush my teeth after eating.

So I bought a toothbrush and Crest 3D White toothpaste which promised BRILLIANCE. I asked my dentist if such cleansers actually whitened teeth. "Yes," he said, "but the paste must be ground in." Not much fun. 

Since I eat on the main floor, I thought I'd put my new brush and paste in the main bathroom, next to Paco's bedroom, but when I looked, I burst out laughing.

I use this bathroom, of course, but I had only three things in it: a hand sanitizer plus soap in the soap dish and a hand towel for guests. Every other available space—on the sink, on the back of the toilet, and all over the four shelves of a cabinet—was cluttered with hairspray, hair gel and beard oil, shaving kit, extra razors, scissors, nail clippers, tweezers, deodorant, prescription medicine, toothbrushes, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, hair brushes, combs, shampoo and conditioner, sunscreen and face lotion, wipes and q-tips, and other personal hygiene articles.

Where could I put my new items in this jam-packed bathroom? Nowhere. Instead, I placed them over the kitchen sink on the window sill.

Then one day, Paco asked, "Why don't you put your toothbrush in the bathroom?"

I laughed. "Because I'd never find it again."

The next time I entered the bathroom, Paco had transformed it. A handful of items remained on the sink and toilet back. The rest he had shoved into the cabinet shelves.

A few days later, Paco caught me still brushing at the sink.

"You didn't put your toothbrush in the bathroom."

"What's the matter, you don't like it if I spit in the sink?"

"No, no. It's not that."

I relented. "If I put my toothbrush in the bathroom, I have to recall to brush my teeth. But with it here at the sink, I remember as soon as I bring my dishes into the kitchen."

We never discussed the matter again, but I noticed that personal hygiene articles did not trek out of their tight new homes in the cabinet. Instead, my toothbrush had swept clean an orderly new world in the bathroom.

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