Every Once in a While

February 28, 2019

Dear diary,

Mom has many winter gloves. These gloves come in various colors and are at all levels of dirtiness. These gloves live all over the place. In her car: one on the passenger side seat, another on the back seat, one on the floor, and a few more in the trunk. These gloves live in her sock drawer, in her miscellaneous drawer, in a grocery bag tucked behind the coat hanger and under the sink with their tags still secure.

Most of these gloves were from Savers or the Dollar Store where mom buys them in bulk for a dollar per pair. All of this is to say that mom loses her gloves frequently. Mom has given up on her capacity to hold on to her gloves with love and care.

This is because mom has a strong need to touch things with her fingers. She doesn’t use gardening gloves when she weeds. She doesn’t use gloves when she washes dishes. She doesn’t wear gloves in the winter unless it is a very cold day. So mom’s hands are rough and weathered. They have scratch marks and old scars from various adventures such as building chicken coops, and an outdoor bed.

Mom can hear the tiny voice in her head that says “a lady doesn’t have rough hands. Soft hands are a sign that you are well taken care of.” Hrumph.

Every once in a while, mom will try putting on hand lotion. But inevitably mom will get her hands wet and/or dirty within five minutes. So mom gives up. But not in a bad way. More in a “oh, well, shrug” kind of way. And when she remembers, she will put on lotion. Every once in a while.

Kind of like when mom remembers to wash her face and put on lotion. Every once in a while. Maybe twice a week? Weird. Mom loves water, but for mom, washing daily isn’t in her paradigm. Old habits die hard. When mom was growing up in Seoul in the early 70s with her grandma, mom went to the public bath houses maybe once a month. Mom didn’t have hot water in the house so mom and her grandma would go for a deep clean every once in a while. It could have been once a month or it could have been every three or four months.

Even though most of her peers and contemporaries have adapted to the US custom of bathing every day, mom is still living in the 20th century. Curious, as mom is very adaptable to most other changes and situations. So why not adapt to washing every day? It’s probably because being clean and smelling nice just doesn’t make the list of priorities. I wonder what is on her list of priorities.

It’s a good thing that mom doesn’t stink too much.

Love, Bob

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