Tuesday, March 20, 2007

cotton ball from hell

You know sticky rice. You know how it manages to stick to any and every thing? How it glues itself stealthily onto the backside of your black trousers? How it hides like limp lice between tendrils of your hair? And how when you try to pick it off, it sticks to your fingers? Well, I've got something worse.

Cotton balls. Yup, that's right: cotton balls. I like to buy the organic, flat, quilted kind. The kind that come stacked like white Pringles in a long cylindrical bag. I like the flat ones because they're easier to hold than the classic puffs and they cover more surface when I'm applying my toner in the morning. Hey, every second counts.

One recent day from hell, however, I went to the store and they were sold out. So I bought the generic kind. Cotton balls are cotton balls. No big deal, right?

The next morning I pulled one out of the bag and watched it shred like cotton candy before my eyes. One side had stuck to the pad beneath it, so what actually came out was just half of a pad--one side clean and quilted (just how I like it) and one side a dangerous white forest of cotton fibers. Like a dandelion gone to seed. When the wind blows, watch out.

Now, I don't like to waste, so I held my breath and used it. I rubbed my toner on and as I did, the loose fibers on the other side started attaching themselves like magnets--or black magic--to my face and my fingers.

This wouldn't be such a huge problem, except for this: the next step in my daily routine is to put my contacts in. Fuzz balls on my eyeballs. Ouch. I made sure to wash my hands extra carefully. And they looked clean. But as I rinsed, inserted, and blinked, I felt a stab of pain in my vision. One of those wet, stringy cotton hairs had made its way under my lens.

Most of the drama in my life these days seems to occur in the loo. Is it me? Am I a product freak? I had to consult my sister Emi, who I know has some of the same toilette tendencies that I do.

"Oh man, I bought those stupid cotton balls too!" she concurred after I told her my story over the phone. She continued with her testimony. "You know," she said, "the other day, I turned to say something to Kev with the cotton pad in my hand. It brushed against him and totally disintegrated on his shirt. He was so freaked out. Thank God I used up the last one this morning."

I rolled my eyes to heaven as I pictured my full bag of cotton pads in the bathroom drawer. I can't just throw them out. What a waste. But maybe if I just leave them there long enough and forget about them, they'll turn into, I don't know, a cotton ball Chia pet. Or better yet, disintegrate altogether. I hope so.

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