Loitering in the shower and waiting for the deep conditioning treatment to finish conditioning deeply, I’m enjoying the warm water on a sore knot in my back. As I wait for both my back muscles and hair to relax, boredom looms and I begin sorting and rearranging our various bottles on the tiny shower shelf.
The family-sized bottle of Poison Ivy Wash catches my eye. If you work outside and are as allergic as I am, you have a bottle of this in your shower. Of course you do. No one has time for agonizing itching, calamine lotion, and oatmeal soaks. Don’t forget the embarrassment of constantly weeping…blisters.
There’s a system for be able to come into contact with the unwelcome weed and still avoid the rash. As soon as you’re finished working outside, you drop all your clothes in the washing machine and hustle to the shower. Cross your fingers and hope that the runway between laundry and shower is clear of obstacles like pets or children. The first is a tripping hazard and the second could be traumatized. Once safely in the shower stall, use this concoction and you should be safe.
One side of the poison ivy wash bottle catches my eye. It shows a column of handy green picture icons showing the myriad uses of this wash. The green squares are helpfully captioned in case one has trouble deciphering the simple pictures.
From top to bottom they read: SKIN, this seems obvious and not really necessary on this bottle. This instruction must be intended for the user who isn’t sure what exactly a poison ivy outbreak is or where it happens but is equally certain it’s NOT for them.
The Skin icon is followed by: TOOLS, CLOTHES, and PETS. Of course, wandering pets and gardening tools can come into contact with the urushiol in the leaves. Then, sneakily carry the misery to an innocent victim. I was unaware that my pets and tools were conspiring against me. However, crowding dogs and shovels into the shower with a fully clothed human and bottles of ivy wash doesn’t seem practical.
The fifth icon is bewildering.
Skunk, is the image and obvious caption. It would seem that enough people have skunks contaminated with poison ivy that this is a thing. The underground exotic pet market must include skunks for those with the urge for danger and social isolation.
Wait a minute, the fourth icon already says PETS. This catagory covers exotic pets even if the picture is of a dog and cat. These particular poison ivy spreading skunks must be wild creatures not traitorous pets at all. Wild animals lurking, skulking and spreading poison ivy to the unwary. I vow to be more vigilant.
I wonder, as you often do, how one washes a wild, contaminated skunk. It seems like initiating any wash at all makes a second bath almost instantly necessary. A third bath seems equally likely. The Ivy Wash marketing people are Brilliant. They’ve created a huge market of underground skunk victims needing a constant supply of their product.
The sixth icon indicates Sap. I had no idea that washing sap was necessary. All this time, my little farm has had filthy sap. I wonder what else needs doing while I’m just hanging around the shower reading and rearranging soap bottles. This instruction seems just weird and also a little cruel. Enabling and taking advantage of the obsessive-compulsive homeowner whose local skunk population is never thoroughly clean.
By now, the warm water has finished un-kinking my back, my hair ought to be conditioned or at least somewhat obedient. I realize, that lunch is overdue. A sandwich and cup of tea while paging through seed catalogs sounds just about right. Then, maybe I’ll stock up on a few more bottles of ivy wash and adopt a skunk, or two.