Sing, ye muses, of the toothbrush that would not be found.
It is a simple tale, and yet, it is one that requires me to admit some embarassing facts about myself that might prevent me from being kissed by any robot reader ever again.
First, let's start with the big one. I brush my teeth on a semi-regular basis. Work week? Yeah, pretty consistently every night, but not every morning. I never quite got the hang of remembering things like that in the morning, even if it is a fairly fundamental part of a day's routine. I got the showering thing, even the shaving thing most days, and other than a couple embarassing occasions in college, I remember to put on pants.
But the weekends? I usually take care of it before I go out in the evening, but I also get into the habit of passing out on the couch, regaining consciousness in the late afternoon, and then puttering around, never eating breakfast or showering or shaving or brushing my teeth until the late afternoon. And by "late afternoon," I mean "Monday evening, after returning from work."
This last weekend was one of those weekends. Debauched in a drunky sense, blurry, generally one of those weekends that my mom warned me about (I, of course, lie about this. My parents never mentioned drinking or drugs or sex to me, even to tell cautionary tales. But I read a lot of Stephen King, which taught me what happened to alcoholic writers with substance abuse problems, and I'm still afraid of clowns, psychics, aliens, things in the closets and under the beds, and fans with hatchets).
So, understandably, I'm not quite sure when my toothbrush went missing. I know it was there in its customary slot on Thursday evening, and I know it was not in its customary slot on Monday night. None of the other toothbrushes (of the three roommates and the extra "guest" brush reserved for J's boyfriend) looked like mine. Granted, I hadn't had anything to drink that evening, so my mind wasn't as clear as it should have been, but I should be able to identify my own toothbrush, right?
I leave a note, propped between the rest of the toothbrushes (toothbrushi?). Simply:
Where is my toothbrush? -Stu
Not too plaintive, really. Just a simple question. Not accusing anyone--just wanting to know that if anyone did something to a toothbrush, it was mine, and they should really tell me what they did and why. I won't be mad--I just don't want gingivitis. Root canals cost extra on my health insurance.
So what could have happened to my toothbrush?
Anal retentive roommate L. could have been disgusted by how dirty it was (that is, how the dried toothpaste hadn't been stripped off of the handle every time it was used) and thrown it away rather than face looking at it another day. She is, after all, the type who keeps shutting the door to my room when I'm around to avoid having to look at the clutter that is my 8x9 foot cell.
Other roommate J. could have broken up with her boyfriend abruptly and decided to get rid of everything remotely related to him in a huff, with my toothbrush being collateral damage of said huff.
Don Gately, fresh out of Infinite Jest, could have been exacting the perverse revenge upon me that he'd exacted upon another character in that novel, involving a toothbrush, an unclean orifice, and a Polaroid camera. For it to be done properly, I would theoretically never know that my toothbrush was missing, but maybe my late-night schedule interrupted him in the act and he fled, toothbrush in, ummm, hand.
I don't typically fear ineffable revenge from fictional characters, but I also don't typically have my toothbrush stolen from me, either.
I might have just accidentally thrown it out in our housewide cleaning on Thursday night. I don't know.
With these suspicions in mind, I went to work. I told everyone about The Toothbrush Incident as emblematic of the weekend I had. And I plotted what I would say when the truth came out--the superior tone I would take when the culprit revealed herself and admitted her horrid deed against my property, going back and forth between "not cool, dude," to "What gives you the right...!"
Home. Returning to the scene of the crime, now strewn with confused but apologetic/sympathetic notes from my roommates. I enter the bathroom, to see if my toothbrush had found it's way back in an effort to avoid confrontation.
A side note here. My current toothbrush--the missing party--was purchased only a couple of months ago. My previous toothbrush had been left in Berkeley on my visit there back in September. It had been a faithful companion for a number of years--I know you're supposed to replace toothbrushi a couple of times a year, but that toothbrush had served me so well, and we were attached.
I only mention this because apparently that was the toothbrush I was looking for when I entered the bathroom on Monday night. Faced with a stranger's toothbrush in my toothbrush slot, I was unable to identify the toothbrush I'd been slumming with, which had been moved one slot over (and, apparently, cleaned a little in the process).
So, for the next couple of weeks, I will be avoiding direct contact with my roommates, until the simple fact that I am what is technically known as "a spazz" blows over.
I also am going to have to get reacquainted with my toothbrush and get to the point where I can pick him out of a line-up.