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Friday, November 16, 2007

routine


I have been thinking a lot about routine. Is it a bad thing to have routines? I have always thought of myself as a very flexible and impulsive person, not bound by routines and habits. Looking at what I've written below, however, makes me wonder.

I have a rather light set of routines in the morning, being a night owl. I haven't had much chance to observe The One's morning routines, as he is usually still asleep when I leave for work. I know he hates having breakfast.

After having pressed the snooze button a few times, I stagger into my slippers and the stagger down the stairs. I fill the kettle. I use the toilet. I rinse my hands. I fill a bowl with too much bran flakes, over which I sprinkle non-nutritive sweetener. I pour too much milk over the flakes. I put a heaped teaspoon of decaf and three sweetener tablets into The One's coffee mug and then I make my own regular coffee. I perch on the edge of the futon, crunching at my bran flakes. I get a toothpick from the drawer and dig all the bran from between my teeth because I hate seeing those little brown fibres when I brush my teeth. They look like worms. I drink my coffee, rinsing my mouth a few times to make sure the fibres are all gone.

I put my dirty dishes on the growing stack and I dispense The One's morning pills into the bowl waiting for him to have breakfast. The bowl which he will most likely not use since I am not there to nag him into having breakfast.

Back upstairs, I change into my work clothes, putting on socks first, then pants, then shirt and ending with shoes. I put on deodorant: once under each arm, along my back, upwards into the front of my shirt and a last tiny spray onto my throat. The new brand I've been using feels as though it freezes the skin under my arms like liquid nitrogen or dry ice. I collect my towel and close the bathroom door behind me, careful not to wake The One.

In the bathroom, I brush my teeth for a minute and a half, rinsing my mouth with warm water. I try not to look at the little brown bran fibres. I wash and dry my hands thoroughly and put in my contact lenses. On every third day, I wash out the container in which the lenses are kept overnight, leaving it to dry during the day. I wet my head with hot water to try and scorch the wild tufts of bed hair into submission, drying my head again with the towel. I open the bathroom door too wide and it creaks loudly. Sometimes The One wakes, sometimes not.

I hang the towel over the balcony railing to dry and collect my satchel on the way downstairs. I switch on both cellphones, putting them under a cushion so that the corny start up music does not disturb The One. I pack whatever lunch I have as well as my cellphone into my satchel. I massage some minoxidil into my scalp to try and stop my receding hairline. Finally, I put The One's cellphone on his bedside table and kiss him goodbye. I leave for work.

Work being what it is, no two days are the same. I have come to realize that I hate surprises.

When I get home, I unpack my satchel, starting a new pile of dirty dishes with my lunchbox. I cook dinner. I put away the dishes that The One has washed and left to dry. The routine differs a bit form here on every evening, depending on the day of the week and whether The One is at home or working.

At bath time the routine becomes very rigid once again. I collect my towel, clean underwear and pyjamas. I undress in the bathroom. I turn on only the hot water in the shower and quickly close the door. I wait to see the steam rising over the top of the shower glass. I step into the shower, turning on the cold water and fiddling until I am satisfied with the water's temperature. I wash my hair. I wash my face. I wash my body, top down. I turn off the water and squeeze all the moisture from my face-cloth, which I drape over the warm water tap to dry. I dry myself, top down. I get out of the shower and wrap the towel around my body. On every second evening, I shave. I put moisturiser on my face and then I put on my pyjamas. I massage minoxidil into my scalp once more. I go upstairs, hanging my towel over the balcony railing and putting my dirty clothes into the dirty clothes hamper. I put on my slippers.

I take out every piece of clothing I will need the next day and hang it over the other balcony railing. In the kitchen, I put out all the crockery and cutlery I will need for breakfast the next morning. I prepare my lunch for the next day. I drink the green tea The One has brewed for us. I switch off both cellphones. I open the front door and check that the car is all right. I lock the door.

I brush my teeth and take out my contact lenses. I read for about half an hour in bed. In summer, I drown myself in mosquito repellent. It burns the skin on my scrubbed face. I ask The One whether he has set the alarm for the next morning. I take a sip of water from the beer mug The One has filled and put next to the bed. I get into bed again and kiss The One goodnight. I start my cycle of sleep on the left side with a pillow clenched between my knees.

Written by I

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