Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Learning again

                “Experiencing Different”

            Over the past six months I’ve been experiencing a boatload of different. Different grocery stores, different pillows, different time zone… Different has become my new normal, and I don’t accept new normals. Normal is what is. Everything else is abnormal. So there.

            For about half a year I’ve been living out of poorly-packed boxes, and suitcases with a opening tension strength of 3.06 jiggawillies. Most of the communication between Kay and me involves a question concerning the location of an item. “Kay, do you know where the scissors are? …my coffee cup? …the box with my underwear? … my itch cream!

            If I don’t spend at least 30 minutes a day looking for something, I’ve had a blessed day. Kay and I call each others phone at least once a day in an effort to find where it's hiding in the house.

            When we left Susan’s house a few weeks back, I had pretty much caught on to where everything was. I remembered where the light switches were located; some inside, some outside the room. Some a few inches from the door frame; some a good foot away. I learned to appreciate the closet full of toilet paper Susan had on hand. Susan purchases better tissue than I do. I knew her brand was not good for septic tanks. But it was HER septic tank. Who am I to dabble in someone’s septic tank? So once we got comfortable with the layout and maintenance of my sister’s house, we left.

            Again, we were on the road heading clear across the west staying in one hotel after the other. Turns out, there is a lot of sameness in hotels. Managers buy low-end toilet paper. The kind of stuff Susan would not allow in her house. It’s the same quality used in National Parks and public schools.

            That’s not the all of it. There is something that has taken this country by storm. It took me selling our house and moving out west to experience the madness of something called “body wash.”  

            When at a hotel/motel, when you climb into the shower, you will notice three bottles, each about the size of  a bottle of eye-drops. The bottles are the same shape and color.  There is just one tiny difference in the labels. Printed in microscopic lettering on the bottom of the bottles is the word “conditioner” or “shampoo” or “body wash.” Occasionally, if you have Superman eyes, you might read “body lotion.” I don’t know what that is. No man knows what that is.

            Zeroing in the "body wash", I've got to tell you that real men don't use liquid soap. When in a hotel, we use the poker chip sized bar of soap. They must buy the stuff from Paris, because it’s very precious to them. I can wash dishes, socks and my car with liquid soap. But, I have not reached the point in my life where I am comfortable washing my armpits, chest and nether regions with body wash. It’s just wrong.
            Every bathtub and shower faucet has an area about the size of a hair’s-width at which point the water temperature goes from scalding to frigid. Plumbers have apparently used quantum physics to design the devices. If you’re staying overnight in a hotel room, you’ll not be there long enough to learn exactly where the freeze/fry point is. It’s best to let your spouse take the first shower. I’m just saying. As soon as the screaming stops, rush in and make note of the faucet position.

            There was a time when I had my own special pillow. It was the right shape, weight and firmness. Anytime I went anywhere overnight I packed my special pillow. Unfortunately, on our trip westward, there was not enough room in the car for my pillow. As much as I tried to mash that thing down, its mass was still too significant.

            It was around Month Four that I managed a good night’s sleep without my special pillow. I can now sleep on a variety of head cushions. I don’t like any of ‘em, but I will eventually conk out. That being said, while unpacking here in our new home, I have located my special pillow, and will tolerate no other. 

            Of course, in our new home, it will take me a good while before I discover light switch locations and faucet freeze/fry points and where we keep the plates, forks, garbage receptacle. The toughest thing to adjust to is our new TV remotes. In our new subdivision we had the choice between Consolidated and rabbit ears. Oh, and a satellite dish. I don't like dishes. Ain't doin' it. 

           That means I must learn the intricacies of a new remote. Cosolidated has improved over the years... and they really needed to. I think they're waiting for me to leave the planet before getting it right. 

            What all of this comes downs to is the fact that Mark Hayter is so spoiled! I picked up on that after the first paragraph. How many people would love to experience my gripes? I have not come close to earning a fraction of all my blessings. I know I deserved each of the scalding moments I experienced in hotel showers. While I’m not likely to ever accept the “body wash” phenomena, I will try not to be so outspoken about its stupidity. -- "Body lotion?" I don't even want to know it is.

            My goal in the remainder of my years is for my last words to be something other than, “What is this? I ordered lime Jello!”   


Mark can be contacted at An archive of Hayter’s articles can be found at

1 comment:

  1. Never mess with another person’s septic tank.....words to live by.