Thursday, November 15, 2007

lather, rinse, rreah-peat ...

i come from a land that knew no sugar cereals. cocoa crispies were out, but boxes of plain old rice krispies were piled high in the pantry. we were, however, allowed to ladel two, three mounds of pure sugar -- or nestle quick chocolate milk mix -- onto the healthier cereal.

if anything, college gave me the opportunity to ingest as much sugar as i wanted. i could, in theory, sand away at my stomach lining with the stuff. i opted to drink my sugar from domed canisters of tang and presweeted mountain berry punch kool-ade.

in the dorms, i was never far from a 24 ounce translucent blue non-microwaveable glass, which i kept filled with sugar drink. i developed a very obsessive compulsive routine: fill the cap of the canister with mix, pour into the bottom of my glass, hold under dorm's bathroom faucet, fill with water while swirling my glass to eliminate the added step of stirring with an actual spoon, consume.

it wasn't necessary to wash the glass that often, as it was always filled with one color of sugar or another. but once in a great while, when neglected in favor of a coke-cola frenzy, that cup would become caked an inch thick with a hard crystal sediment.

i cleaned the glass the same way i made my drink: squirt a spit of dish soap into the glass, hold under the faucet and swirl. literally lathering, rinsing and repeating. when i was sure that most of the soap was gone, i'd make more tang.

"you didn't rinse all of the soap off," my roommate burge noticed from a sink away, where, odds are she was coloring her hair, as she was wont to do.

i shrugged. soap is a taste easily diluted by tang.
"if you don't get all of the soap off your dishes, you will get diarrhea," she said.
"oh," i said. yet another neglected chapter in my schooling.

what burge didn't know is that she had just planted a seed of soap paranoia that will probably last three times longer than even the shelf life of a canister of tang. from then on, every time i did dishes -- especially if i volunteered to do some of her's -- i attributed a phantom soap taste to the dish and waited for her to clutch her stomach and sprint to the bathroom.

i think of this everytime i wash dishes, even though i haven't washed dishes in a dorm's bathroom sink in 11 years. and everytime i eat off a dish that i've washed, i prepare for the taste of lemon fresh joy. sometimes it doesn't happen. sometimes it does, and then nothing kills my appetite like the sound of burge's voice in my head: diarrhea, diarrhea, diarrhea ...

today i made a big pasta feast for dinner and packed it into tupperware until i was ready for it. the first bite tasted soapy. by the fifth bite it seemed like it would taste better if i had actually stored it in an old bottle of dish soap and squirted the tiny bubbles of red sauce into my mouth.

i tossed the meal aside, disgusted, and waited for burge's warning to come to rumble to fruition. the moment where instead of being full, my stomach would feel like i ate thunder.

***

"my pasta tasted like soap," i told chuck later.
"ugh," he said. "that has happened to me. it will give you diarrhea."
"so i've heard," i said.

***

later, at chuck's house, i heated up a pan of refried beans for a snack.
"refried beans and soap, huh?" he said, shaking his head.
it could be a long night. or it could be brief. and sudden.

8 comments:

diatribes and dish said...

I've had the same paranoia ever since I was told about the soap-diarrhea correlation on a Boundary Waters trip in 10th grade.

Let me tell you, the last place you want to be when hit with a spasm of diarrhea is in a canoe with your 10th grade boyfriend in the middle of a lake.

Speaking of diarrhea, did you watch nip/tuck this week? Ugh, NASTY.

Kristabella said...

I have never heard that.

I must be a good rinser then.

And I'll be an even better rinser from here on out.

Forget the wasting water and the environment. We're talking about diarrhea here people.

christina said...

excellent. i look forward to my viewing of this week's nip/tuck.

some guy said...

best post label ever!

L Sass said...

WHAT?? I'm a terrible rinser!! I hereby resolve to be more thorough.

chuck said...

I think the only way you're really going to run into trouble with the trots is if you use that "ultra" soap that promises to last twice as long. Yeah, twice as long ... in your colon.

Flenker said...

I have a similar kind of deal, except I ALWAYS smell the glass/cup that I'm going to use before filling it with any liquid. Even if it's right out of the dishwasher. Both for cleanliness and soapiness.

Anonymous said...

nip/tuck. for sure. gross.