And then I'll go into the bathroom and I'll take a paper towel and fold it over once so that she can put it over her forehead and eyes, but so it will stop short of her nose. We do this so that water from the shower spray doesn't splash in her eyes while I rinse out all the shampoo from her so-very-thick hair. With so much hair she needs a little help getting all the shampoo out. We call this folded paper towel "the eye protector." The eye protector always gets soaking wet, but it succeeds in keeping water from splashing into her eyes.
Last night as I was rinsing out her hair, looking at this drenched paper towel draped over her precious forehead, the image of someone being waterboarded flashed through my mind. In that case a wet towel would be draped over someone's face with a very different set of intentions. The image of someone being forced into feelings of drowning by having a wet towel held over their face as water is poured over them again and again just wouldn't leave me. Perhaps this bleakest of images had something to do with the decision of President George W. Bush to veto the bill banning waterboarding and other forms of detainee abuse. In fact I'm sure that is why I thought of it.
I have been so underwater myself with my workload that only the most egregious of news headlines make it into my consciousness. Waterboarding veto. Thickest, oldest Arctic ice is melting. 14,000 employees of Bear Stearns lose their life savings as the Feds subsidize JPMorgan to bail out a company with assets valued at many billions of dollars for the bargain basement price of $236 million dollars, or $2 per share.
These days it seems that everywhere people are underwater, and there is nothing so sweet and simple as a paper towel folded over our eyes that can spare us from the backwash of this regime.
I find it hard to think about this. Hard to think about living in a world where some of us are fashioning eye protectors to shield our loved ones from the smallest discomfort of shampoo and water spray while others among us are devising techniques with the same simple household elements for quite the opposite purpose.