The wet washcloth

I walk into the bathroom. My husband’s soaking wet washcloth is flopped over the faucet of my sink. I pick it up with disgust and fling it back over onto his. I do this about seven times a week. Annoyance prickled with anger begins to simmer inside. But this morning I catch myself before I really start brewing. I see the washrag and move it without any mental commentary. It’s already sopping, do I really want to inundate it even more with my own negativity?

Wait. What? You aren’t going to let him get away with murder just because you are on some sort of spiritual quest,’ says Egor, incredulous.

And yes, it’s true, I’m trying to teach myself to steer clear of that inner voice which is constantly on the warpath. Crabby thoughts, no matter how loud or virulent, have never squeezed a single drop of water out of anything, let alone a washcloth. My husband doesn’t race to the bathroom every morning with a diabolical plan to ruin my day. Like most of us, he goes through his morning on autopilot. (Just ask him the color of the washcloth he uses every day, I’m sure he hasn’t got a clue.) Of course, I’ve told him I don’t like it. But maybe he wasn’t listening then. Maybe he just forgot again… 

‘Well, my bet is he was doing it On Purpose… Again,’ snaps Egor.

I walk into the bathroom. His washcloth is there drooping. I move it back where it belongs. I make a mental note to remind him I’d rather he not use my sink as his wet washrag dripping ground.  There is no need for anger nor accusations. Life can be so easy! Why didn’t I realize this years ago?

An annoying incident comes to my attention. This automatically turns up the volume of the radio inside my head. Usually it just diffuses background noise and static, but now it is suddenly blaring with a breaking news broadcast. The commentator’s voice escalates from panicked, to frantic, to hysterical. It doesn’t really matter what actually happened to turn up the radio. Any irritation will do, like the offensive washcloth, for example. The commentator’s case against it is long and well-documented with historical references. It is fiery and feverish. I’m sucked into the radio’s drama, my ear glued to its speaker.

Then, from out of nowhere, a quiet query is brought to mind. Doesn’t that sound very similar to the argumentation used in the jacket on the back of the dining room chair crisis and the lorn sock next to the laundry basket emergency? I stop and actually listen (for once) to the voice’s choice of words. Could this be fake news?

‘Wait! What? No, it’s always all true,’ Egor swears. ‘Cross my heart and hope to die.’

I’m learning to be a more vigilant listener, to not let myself get swept away by a peewee problem the newscaster has decided to label as a personal thus national disaster.

I call it the wet washrag rule. Whenever the radio begins to blare I ask myself a few questions before taking any retaliatory action. Can the commentator’s constant complaining dry the washcloth or make whatever the problem is disappear? Does his argumentation make the guilty party bow to me in appropriate recognition of worm versus wonderful hierarchy? Does his harsh language make me happy? Does this chronicle make the world a better place?

If there is a no to any of these questions, I simply turn off the radio. Life can be so easy! I wish I’d know this years ago.

(Here’s the scoop, the commentator isn’t real.)

‘Wait! What?’

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