Thursday, 24 January 2008

The woman who swears by the tissue

When I was a teenager, my nose was a constantly streaming article. Allergic rhinitis was not a lovely condition for a girl with fresh hormones; the accessorizing of every outfit with a lump of tissue stuffed up the left sleeve was not guaranteed to get the boys interested.
I remember going to girlfriends' houses and gawking disbelievingly at their small cube boxes of peach coloured paper hankies, decorated with swirls and flowers that matched the décor of their rooms. First, I thought anything that girly was truly yuck in the taste stakes (snobbery was always at the fore, although I have no idea why as I'm sure I had nothing to be superior about), and secondly, what were you actually going to do with anything as physically challenged as those tiny squares of stuff? Mansize was the only thing that did it for me.
As a child we had cotton hankies. My mother would get out the Burco Boiler and boil those babies for an age, swirling them through the snot infested water with a wooden paddle. The dry hankies would be folded and put in the airing cupboard from where you could help yourself. In Goldilocks fashion I avoided the huge ones that were my father's domain, and the lacey jobs that my mother favoured, and the recollection of peeling the freshly laundered hankies apart where some lump of mucous had maintained its grip is horribly real even now.
Life eventually became too short for the Burco boiler, and at the same time as I was sent off to the launderette, pulling the overstuffed shopping trolley of dirty clothes behind me and desperate not to bump into anyone I knew, my mother started to buy paper tissues. Being a family of snufflers with a serious bronchitis sufferer in the mix, there was a box in practically every room in the house.
These days there is always a tissue in reach, if not jammed up my sleeve. I have wads in my handbag, a box in the car, my suitcase is kept well supplied and so on.
In my house there is a theory that if there was a nuclear explosion, I would reach for a tissue to wipe up the spillage. That might be a step too far (or perhaps not), but I regularly dust with one. No, reword that. On the very few occasions that I dust, I'm more likely to be found waving a tissue, possibly unused, possibly not, over the item being tackled.
I scoop up cobwebs with them, even though a new crop appears overnight. I swab my desk with them as they are at hand and I have no idea where a duster might be, or even if there is one. I wipe the eye bogies from the dogs and their earwax with said tissue. I'll remove a tapeworm from the cat's tail, mop up spilled liquid (cold) and pick up anything a bit yuckety with one. If I can't find a scrap of paper I'll use a tissue as a bookmark. A tissue gets swiped over the tv and pc screens to remove the woodfire film of dust that collects on every surface, and I have been seen using one to dab at the milk slurp marks on the kitchen window (the cat sits on the windowsill to munch and drink out of dogs reach).
So, although I declined to do the full Lady Thinker tag, I have at least written about my slatternly household ways. My tip? Never be without a 3-ply mansize tissue.


KAZ said...

For a few years I suffered from almost permanent rhinitis - I sneezed incessantly and my nose just streamed!
I won't share with you where and on what as I fear the lawsuit.
One day it just went away.

mountainear said...

Did we need to know all that?

I shall return when you address something less, erm, yucky.

Mopsa said...

Kaz - I meant rhinitis! Duh! And moving to the country and out of the ghastly London pollution has helped no end.

M'ear - I thought I was being fairly low key about it - the truth was even worse. If you want disgusting (and no, I know you don't) go and have a look at Yorkshire Pudding's current posting. Bleurgh.

GeraniumCat said...

Oh, all that washing stuff sounds so horribly familiar - I married a man with rhinitis (him, not me) and had to wash his handkies for years (he doesn't like tissues). Now he washes them himself, thank goodness. I do the odd bit of dusting with tissues, too. One you missed, they make good paper napkins when you are eating squelchy sandwiches in your hotel because you're too broke/tired to go out for a meal on your own.

Expatmum said...

Hi there. This made me laugh and heave at the same time. Given the alternatives, the tissue is obviously THE greatest modern invention. However, over here, (USA) it's not considered at all healthy to keep one stuffed up your sleeve; you're meant to use it once and chuck it out. Makes for a rather large carbon footprint.

Mopsa said...

G'cat - yes, I've been in that hotel too.

Expatmum - I stick a clean tissue up the sleeve first of course, so it's handy. It might not stay that way tho....and then I use them to light the wood fire.

mutterings and meanderings said...

Proper hankies - the only person I see with them now is my dad.

I well the remember the opening of one where the snot had not been fully removed ...

Bretwalda Edwin-Higham said...

I have an allergy of this nature. It's not so good.

Mopsa said...

M&M - it's reassuring that this is not just a "my family" thing.

Bretwalda - I sympathise, I really do, but leaving the city has almost cured me. Just the odd drip now, and in the country you can wipe that on your sleeve.... I intend to grow old ungracefully, you see.

paula said...

So much to catch up on! I have that drippy nose thing - I thought it was because they forgot to put any washers in when they built me! It's a darn pesky thing too