Saturday, February 12, 2011

How to Fold a Towel

Clearly I was inculcated into some weird cult of How To Fold A Towel as a child. There are rules for towel-folding that are as innate to me as breathing.  And to be clear, there is only one right way, one way that creates clean edges and neatly displays all the wares you have on offer.

At least one childhood friend bears towel-folding scars from an afternoon at our house.  I'll never forget her stunned face in the family bathroom when we were commanded to take down all of the towels from the open shelving area above the toilet and re-fold them correctly.  All of them.  Correctly, god damn it.  I was used to this, but she, coming from a very different kind of household, was clearly having a first-time experience of towel-folding rules.  I know she still remembers it, because we talked about it not so long ago.  And perhaps as a result she now folds towels correctly.

I think about this as I stand in front of the open linen closet this morning, marveling at the technique used by my spouse, marveling at how someone so precise in so many other areas can utterly fail to comprehend, despite repeated (now abandoned) lessons in folding.  Really?  This marveling is similar to what I experience when I find napkins in the dishtowel drawer (Really?  Do you see other napkins in here?) or dishes haphazardly tossed in the dishwasher (Really? Don't you see they fit better this way?).

But since this is my deal, the thing that only I notice, I long ago gave up expecting anyone else to do this the way I would.  Instead, periodically I stand in front of the linen closet, a bit in disbelief, pull it apart and start over.

Periodically my spouse also makes a game of it, literally tossing dishes haphazardly into the dishwasher for me to find while he waits, snickering, for my reaction.  I laugh, too.  Like I said, this is totally my deal so I take care of it.  And my spouse is too fantastic in too many ways for me to really care whether he folds a towel according to the Trelaun rules.

I'm sure the towel-folding is one of those rigid Type A Capricorn Enneagram 8 habits I could probably let go of.  On the other hand, I do derive aesthetic pleasure and satisfaction from a tidy row of towels upon opening the closet.  [OK, maybe it's OCD when this same delight in ordered presentation prompts me to organize the jams and sugars at table in a restaurant.  Whatever.  It amuses me.]

For now, I'm just marveling at how different we are, how differently we can see the things in the rooms we live in, how differently we notice our surroundings.  I know it's not the only way, but it's the way I like things to be so I make myself in charge of making them that way.

For the record, this is the proper way to fold a towel.  As a Trelaun, I approve this message.

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