White [ 2005-04-13, 8:47 p.m. ]

I love the smell of laundry. I love walking past an apartment building just as the hot air is venting from the laundry room and I get to walk through a big mess of dryer sheet smell (and chemical and lint and other bad things, I'm sure). And freshly cleaned sheets and towels and socks are just about the coziest, most bestest thing ever! Especially when the socks are still warm and they're kind of tight and when you put them on it is like a hundred little fairy kisses for your feet.

I do not, however, love doing laundry. I have a washer and dryer IN MY APARTMENT (well, down in the basement, which can be accessed through my apartment - and only through my apartment - meaning I do not have to be dressed to go fetch clean underthings from the dryer in the morning) and still I let the laundry build and build and build. And then topple over onto the floor and build some more. And I am miser with the clean towels, because if there is one thing I hate almost as much as doing laundry, it's looking in the linen closet and seeing a nearly-empty shelf where a stack of towels used to be. I am a very (VERY) tidy person, but sometimes, I am a filthy pig. Tidy but dirty, compulisive but lazy. A riddle wrapped in a mystery, tucked inside a light, flaky pastry.

Not only am I compulsive about making sure that everything is its proper place, but I have a thing with white: I only want white dishes, serving pieces, linens, etc. White, white, white. Clean and crisp and lovely and STACKED IN PERFECT ORDER PLEASE, unless you want me to get twitchy by putting hand towels UNDER the bath towels in the linen closet or something crazy like that.

In my dreams I live in a laundry detergent commercial, or better yet, a tampon commercial, and my clothes are never wrinkled and the windows (so many windows!) are always open to a cool breeze, the curtains (lovely white curtains!) are always billowing, and everything is WHITE and CLEAN and UNCLUTTERED. I do not, however, live in a tampon commercial. Which is too bad, because if I did, I think I would take more picnics and go for more bike rides. I would pick flowers and LAUGH and LAUGH as my husband grabbed me from behind and spun me in circles. My crisp, white pants would not have a coffee stain on them from where I dripped after knocking my coffee over in an effort to click and enlarge the pictures of Fat And Really, Truly Pregnant Britney.

I love me some fluffy white towels, but lawsy, a homemaker I am not. This morning I stood in the shower and noted that the drain is backed up. This happens frequently because ICK THE HAIR! HAIR IN THE DRAIN THAT MAKES ME GAG, and also because our building is Old. So I stood in the shower and noted the water pooling over my feet (which is such a squicky feeling, no? Submerged feet IN the shower?) and lifted one leg to get a better angle for the alterna-day leg shave. Which is when I noticed that the tub itself could use a good scrubbing. I noticed this because as I lifted one leg to get a better angle with my razor, the other SLIPPED and I FELL FORWARD and thought, OH DEAR GOD NO THIS IS NOT HOW I WANT TO GO I HAVEN'T EVEN SHAVED MY LEGS YET TO SPEAK NOTHING OF THE OTHER BITS, then reached out and grabbed an arm on the oddly-placed slanty railing thingy bolted into the wall, saved myself from possible [naked] death, and simultaneously realized what a good idea that weird oddly-placed slanty railing-handle was. I stabilized myself (I thought) and re-lifted the leg for the shaving, lost my balance again, this time grappling with the shower curtain, causing one of the holes to tear, the stupid duck-shaped ring it was in to fall on me, and me to notice how fucking filthy the shower curtain was as the flap of unattached bit at the end hung near my face. I soldiered on, shaved the legs and other bits, stepped out of the shower and reached for a towel, which as I dried off I noted had pairs of black smudges all over it. From mascara. SEVERAL nights worth of mascara. So, to recap:

1) Drain is backed up with nasty filthy hair and much
2) Tub is slick with soap scum
3) Shower curtain is both broken and mucky
5) I am a filthy pig

Tidy, but filthy.

Which is why I love - OH HOW I LOVE - hotels.

Hotels are awesome. Because hotels, even small, cheap ones, are both TIDY and CLEAN, something my own apartment rarely is (in fact, my own apartment is both TIDY and CLEAN for approximately 7 hours before houseguests arrive and 4 days after houseguests leave, and if you have not heard me talk about houseguests then it is a safe bet that the kitchen floor is filthier than Britney's hoo-ha). I know that not all hotel rooms are tidy and clean, but life is too short to stay in those places and even your basic Holiday Inn Express offers freshly made beds with sheets pulled so tight that I have to work at getting my body under the covers. Not too hard, though, because I like the envelope effect. I love slipping into a giant hotel bed and waking up eight hours later to a bed that looks virtually the same as when I got in. Monkey sex is hot and all, but give me a king size bed with totally undisturbed sheets and I am psyched. More than that, I am soothed, because oh how I love clean sheets and a neatly made bed. Please do not email me telling me about a report you saw on 20/20 about what is really on hotel sheets. I do not have a black light and I do not watch CSI so I do not care. What I care about is how clean it all appears when I step into a hotel room.

The towels are in neat stack - and they are all white! The floor does not have lint and dog hair and the plastic thingy that comes sealed around contact lens solution on it. The bed is made, and the sheets do not have marks on them that look dangerously like grease blobs in the shape of my face.

When I check into a hotel I look forward to the Getting Organized part most of all. I love to take out my toiletries and arrange them JUST SO, in a perfect configuration of efficiency and economy and aesthetics and mini-face-wash feng shui. Toothbrush and toothpaste IN the clean cup, hairbrush to the left of the sink with other hair accessories, makeup and sundries behind the hair things, face wash and creams to the right of the sink, touch the light switch 11 times and put my pants on then take them off then put them on and take them off...no, not that last bit. But I love a clean bathroom.

Hotels are extremely soothing to me, because they are pretty much all the same, and there is something comforting in the anonymity, and I really REALLY love the movies-in-bed-with-food part. In my apartment I can eat, watch movies and go to bed, but all three cannot be done at the same time. Two at a time, max. And hotel beds are big enough that there can be an eating section, a reading section, and a sleeping section. Just like a studio apartment.

I love that in hotel rooms I do not stub my toes on dog toys or trip over my kind-but-slovenly husband's shoes. Husband, why oh WHY do you need to keep ALL of your shoes in the living room. WHY? WHHHYYYYY? In hotel rooms I can use a fresh towel for every cleaning activity, and I can leave the wet towels on the floor and I do not have to carry them down to the basement and wash them and carry them up and fold them and stack them in the linen closet, even though sometimes I don't fold them and sometimes I just leave them in the dryer for ages and ages and sometimes I eventually bring the laundry upstairs but leave it in the basket and perhaps, but not definitely, if you were to happen by my apartment later today, there might be a basket of laundry sitting in front of my dresser with little holes dug in it, almost as if someone were looking for two matching socks, and perhaps there would be [tidy] stacks of towels and sheets on top of the dogs crate because while I managed to wash AND fold the laundry, I did not manage to put in away.


So I am a fan of the clean white towels and the tidy rooms and the big, firm bed. Which is why I am so excited to check into a hotel room on Friday! I have a hotel room ALL TO MYSELF, because I am flying to Dallas for Pastry's wedding and I am leaving the ball and chain behind to dog sit and order barbeque and take naps while I get THE WHOLE BED TO MYSELF at the Hilton, and I can spread my toiletries out because his messy toothpaste and contact cases and hair gel will not be anywhere in the room! My flat iron can stay out (with the cord wrapped neatly around it) because there will not be competing clutter -- just my stuff, my lovely, organized things! I can hang my bridesmaid dress and not worry about Kent taking the good hangers for his suits, and I can watch Sweet Home Alabama on HBO if I damn well please!

Yes, I am excited for Pastry's wedding, and yes, I am excited to be a bridesmaid because the truth is that I am kind of loving the power-trip part of the job. I have never been a bridesmaid before, but the wedding party is like the celebrity VIP list of the reception, and me, I'm planning on being the Jessica Simpson. That is to say, I plan on wearing high heels and batting my eyelashes when people ask where my spouse is and drinking oodles of champagne and then flying to Louisiana to make out with some crew guy from the set of Dukes of Hazzard. I mean, the wedding will be pretty and so will I and Jessica + Nick = TLA.

(The analogy is bad. I am not anything like Jessica Simpson. Maybe I am Maggie Gyllenhall. Maybe. Stay away from my brother.)

But forgive me for not having the proper reverence for Pastry and Todd's wedding. I am sure it will be lovely. Weddings are fantastic. Pastry will look like the pretty, pretty top of a pretty, pretty cake and she will wear a pretty, pretty dress and her poreless skin will glow and everyone will oooh and aaahhh and I swear that at some point in the wedding planning the words 'raw bar' were uttered and that is where you will find me. I will be the one in the green dress and silver shoes (well, one of the four) sliding oysters down my throat like it's my job. If I get a hotel room, good booze and a raw bar all in the same two days, I will be the happiest misplaced New Yorker in Texas.

Before the wedding is, of course, the rehearsal dinner, and for a group of college-educated women, you would be SHOCKED at how hard it is for four bridesmaids to pick out outfits for one dinky little dinner. Last Saturday I literally carted a bag full of clothes, shoes and makeup to Brit's apartment and proceeded to try on all possible combinations of clothes for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner (TWO events! Separated by two hours, which means TWO OUTFITS). And then I made Brit do the same. We narrowed the field down and went shopping for Statement Jewelry, because we have decided that 2005 is the year of the Fabulous Accessory. We agonized. We spent a lot of money. We realized that we may need to buy more clothes. We talked to the other bridesmaids and realized that all four of us are planning on wearing some variation of the same outfit to the rehearsal dinner. Namely, sassy top with white pants. WHITE PANTS. On me, who finds gum in her bra, and has blown her nose on her sleeve in more than one emergency allergy situation. There is not a tampon commercial on earth that can save me, and the rehearsal dinner is at a Mexican restaurant, otherwise known as A Place Molly Will Be Drinking And Then Standing Near Salsa And Guacamole, Both Of Which Stain. So here�s to white pants, clean sheets and bridal parties, y�all! Thank god I don�t need to worry about catching any bouquet. Am now off to do laundry.

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