One particularly thirsty day, I drank too much liquid. When I arrived at one of my student's homes, I of course took their offer of an espresso, always with a touch of sugar. Then, during the lesson, I drank from my water bottle when necessary to keep the throat well lubricated. Lesson number one finished and I bid them adeiu except it was in their native language.
Off to the next lessons, back to back appointments for a pair of siblings, and to this day I still blame the coffee bean for its diuretic effects. When I arrived, I asked to use their restroom. It was the first time I'd needed it there and so I entered the room of colorfully tiled floors and walls. I found the toilet, flushed using the short flush button rather than the long flush which still bewilders me why Americans don't adopt this water-saving technology, and then I washed my hands at the sink.
Hands soaking, I looked left and right to find the hand towel. To my great horror, the only collection of soft woven fibers were found above the bidet: the other porcelain thingy in the bulk of European bathrooms. I looked down with insecurity at the half toilet / half sink monstrosity likely born from the godless island laboratories of Dr. Moreau.
|Bidet usage has never been more confusing.|
So again, I stood there with soaking hands looking down at the two towels hanging over the bidet. I assumed a 50% chance of success, which meant my potential for failure was still too high. I needed more assurance that I would be drying my hands with the hands-only towel. So what do I do? I looked behind me to make sure no one walked through the door, one inconveniently designed without a lock so the young kids wouldn't get locked in there.
No sounds of footsteps coming by, I did what any other desperate teacher would do. I hesitantly bent down to sniff the first of two towels. It smelled cottony, not like it was freshly laundered but more of a papery smell, like a stale ream of printer paper sitting idly in the tray for months. Beneath those earthy layers were nuances of slight mildew. My sleuthing techniques didn't narrow it down but it certainly told me this towel was used frequently. Maybe it was the hand towel, but maybe not.
I turned my head once again for safety. Every private teacher knows how terrible it would be to be caught in the act of sniffing your clients towels. I didn't hear anything so I approached towel number two.
Hunched over the bidet, getting my nose nice and close to the turquoise linen and almost touching it, I sniffed long, deeply. Then the bathroom door opened.
The mom's jaw hit the floor and her eyes popped wide open. She was like a child who just walked in on her parents doing adult things and I was the forbidden, eye-melting sight. So I smiled sheepishly and said, "You have beautiful towels."
Okay, not really. I just let my hands air dry because there's no way I'm touching mystery towels. Nor did I sniff them, just to clarify. But I totally had you there for a moment, didn't I?