Monday, May 28, 2007

On shampoo

Today I realized that I finally finished up the bottles of shampoo and conditioner that I purchased in Hawaii lo those many months ago. Back in late December, as the honeymoon began so promisingly, we bought standard-sized bottles of Suave shampoo and conditioner, and we carried them around with us from Oahu to Hawaii to Oahu again, and then back to New York. They were exotic; they were Hawaiian; they were souvenirs. And now, five months later, I finally finished them (L having her own well-established haircare regime which sadly does not involve Suave products, but somehow involves 14 other bottles in our shower).

Call me crazy, but I feel that five months is a really long time to nurse the same bottle of shampoo. Of course, maybe I'm doing some showering at the gym that would otherwise occur at home, but this is unlikely, since I shower at the gym at nine o'clock at night. Since my hair has been fairly short, maybe I'm applying smaller dollops than usual. But if this is actually the case, then over the course of my lifetime I've only used about 65 bottles of shampoo. As a pampered American who has been on this planet for 27 years, obviously I feel a bit shortchanged by my consumption here. Have I been underwashing? Is 65 bottles even a whole crate or pallet or shipment of shampoo? What the hell?

This is what I think about in the shower every day, mindful of the exotic curves of the Hawaii Suave bottles, and the remnants of the price stickers on the plastic. Years ago I heard that it takes six weeks for all of your skins cells to flake off and be replaced, to leave you with a completely new outer layer, so I would always think that for six weeks after I returned from anyplace, I still wore some of the same skin that had been far away and experienced different breezes or water or sand or light. I guess I can add the five-month shampoo yardstick as another measurement of time and distance. It will be mildly sad to toss out those two bottles -- not many of my toiletries are native Hawaiian.

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