Flowers in California

Flowers in California

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Towel of Imperfection

While folding laundry recently, I noticed that one towel had holes in it.  Immediately I started to consider what to do with it.  I still folded it (I like folding laundry.  I'm pretty good at it too and there's usually lots of evidence to see my work as I 'm not as good at putting it away) but its future had become very uncertain.

I wondered whether my rabbits would enjoy playing with it.  They might.  They're kind of like kids with new toys though - the fascination with things wears off quickly.  And there might never be a lot of fascination with a towel.  Maybe it could go in the rag container.  We have a lot of rags though.  And we don't use that many as we also have micro-fibre cloths that work better.  I could start a bag of towels to go to the Humane Society.  I've done that before.  I even made it out of there without adopting a new rabbit one time but I can't guarantee I could do that again.  At some point, I started to consider if this towel had to stop being a towel.  Really, why can't we use a towel with a few holes?

As this is a hand towel and it can still hang in a bathroom and be used to dry hands, it can still serve its primary purpose.  And this morning when I spilled coffee on the newsaper, myself and the floor as I sat in the living room (and how did your day start?) and called to my husband to bring a towel, it would have served another purpose.  The holes wouldn't have bothered me at all.

Because the towel is still in good shape except for the holes, I could arrange it so that no one would even know.   Does that matter?  Should it?  Would it be terrible for people to see a towel with holes?  Would people think differently of me because I put such an item out for use?  Is it bordering on the really weird to do this?  If we do consider this really weird, should we?

I like attractive things for my house and buying them can be fun.  I don't like waste though.  Recently we had to dispose of a five year old washing machine.  People who work with appliances didn't seem too surprised.  Aside from the cost, it's horrible that such a large, relatively new piece of equipment is now scrap.

When things don't work or when they've become unsafe, they have to go.  When something only has aesthetic imperfections but is still useful, I'm not sure that we should immediately toss it away.  Our new washing machine has scratches and, because of them, it was sold in the clearance section of the store at a significantly reduced price.  I don't notice the scratches; I'm really glad to have a machine that washes clothes again.

I'm not sure what I'll do with the towel.  I think I'll keep it for a while at least to remind myself that imperfect items can still be perfectly useful.  And they can even make us stop and think.


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