Yesterday, I decided to accomplish one of those chores that seemed to slip in and out of my mind as time passed. I would, at last, clean out the trap in the bath tub. When taking a shower, the water would puddle in the bottom of the tub, so I knew the trap needed cleaning.
For instructional purposes, I called my younger son in to watch how it was done. I unscrewed the screw holding down the sieve-like drain trap, telling him to be careful not to let the screw get away from him and fall down the pipe, once it was open. Then, setting aside the drain trap and screw, I stuck my finger down the pipe and began extracting the hair and soap scum that had accumulated over time. There was quite a lot of it and I had to reach in and pull out several times, each time with a glob of slimy hair on my finger and each time the glob thrown into a near-at-hand waste basket. Bit by bit, the passageway was cleaned. My son stood silent through it all.
When I had finished and was screwing the drain cap back on, my son finally spoke up.
"That was disgusting. I feel like I want to puke."
His reaction caught me a bit off guard. Of all the dirty chores I had done in my life, cleaning the bath tub trap was pretty far down on the list of things I considered "ick." It was just hair and soap scum after all -- nothing much to write home about. But for him it was worth throwing up over.
Somehow it reminded me of actor Humphrey Bogart's remark in "The African Queen." "I hate leeches!" he said as he slipped into leech-infested waters in order to drag his boat to its destination.
I guess no one really has a choice sometimes -- slimy globs of hair or leeches everywhere, still it's part of the trip and it's a trip no one can avoid making. Maybe that's why someone invented the word "ick" -- it seems to ease the burden a bit.