Wednesday, January 20, 2010

HAITI AFTERMATH A DIRTY SCENE

One week. No soap. Of all the awful scenarios I can imagine - and with MTV's current reality show lineup, there are plenty - this one I can't seem to get over. To live without soap, it would have to be the worst right at the start. You wouldn't want to use your hands to eat or touch others, but eventually you'd have to, and that would undoubtedly bother you, to say nothing of said others. It would have to be maddening, wanting to wash your hands constantly, ready to give up anything for a shower.

After a few days, your chances of contracting a sickness, perhaps even terminal, would increase. Of course, if you've gone this long without soap, it must be because you have bigger problems. Like losing your home. Or not knowing when your next meal is coming.

As time goes on, to distract you from feeling like the inside of a used ashtray, I suspect it would be easier to concentrate on the side effects, like extreme itchiness and a foul stench that follows you like a shadow.But after a while, I really think it wouldn't matter anymore. Soap is something we take for granted in our everyday lives, once we're used to it. I can only assume the absence of soap would work the same way. Right?

In light of recent events in Haiti, you must know where I'm going with this. We're kidding ourselves if we think we're capable of imagining what it must be like to live in that country right now. It's unfathomable, obviously. But out of respect for a tragedy of this magnitude, I made an attempt - poor as it was - to comprehend what these people are enduring. I tried to focus on just one small part of their uncertain reality, thinking it might help me put things in perspective. To think about no water, no food, no home - it's just too much. So I picked soap.

But rather than gain perspective, what happened was I freaked out instead, and took a really long shower. Then I felt guilty for using that much water, so I shut off all the lights. Naturally, that reminded me I have electricity. So I started unplugging everything I could get my hands on. There I sat, in the dark, wet, grasping for electric plugs and yanking them out of the wall. While I'm sure it would have been considered a perfectly acceptable audition for a homeowner safety video, it was not my finest moment.

But I know I'm not the only one feeling a little less than solid after the earthquake hit Haiti. It shook us all. The good thing is, we can help. In less than 30 seconds, you can donate 10 dollars to the Red Cross, just by texting "Haiti" to 90999. That money will pay for things like water, food, medical care and yes, soap. While you're texting, I'll be tending to those electrocution marks on my hands. It's not fun, but you know what? It could be a lot worse.

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