Make Every Day Towel Day

Don't Forget The Towel! Photo from flick user puuikibeach under CC.
Don’t Forget The Towel! Photo from flick user puuikibeach under CC.

In honor of Towel Day, I could tell you about my love for Douglas Adams and how much The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy means to me. Instead, I want to tell you about my little life experiment with towels and encourage you to take my unofficial Towel Day pledge with me!

It all started one December day many years ago. I was bouncing around ideas for a New Year’s resolution the way people do around that time of the year. The recurring theme of my New Year’s resolutions for most of my adult life has been about changing my habits to become more environmentally friendly. One of the wasteful habits that had been bothering me the most was the use of paper towels around the office. I’m in the office for nine hours a day where I use the bathroom probably an average of four times (four paper towels), clean my tea mug and water bottle every morning (two paper towels), and clean my lunch containers and silverware every lunch (two paper towels). That adds up to an average of eight paper towels per day, 40 per week, and over 2,000 paper towels per year. At home, I had kicked the paper towel habit a couple of years prior (also a New Year’s resolution), so the situation at work was really bothering me.

The resolution
Bring my own towels to work! I brought with me a hand towel for bathroom use, a dishtowel for kitchen use, and two hooks to hang my towels in my cubicle.

The result
In two short words: spectacular failure.

First of all, I found carrying the hand towel with me to the bathroom utterly embarrassing. Most likely no one noticed, but when I grabbed that hand towel and walked to the bathroom, I felt like I might as well have a giant sign on my forehead that read “HEY Y’ALL! I’M GOING TO GO EMPTY MY BLADDER NOW! LET’S ALL THINK ABOUT ARIANE’S BATHROOM HABITS! OK THANKS BYE!” Total number of days used: 3.

The dishtowel lasted a little bit longer. I was too forgetful to bring it home to wash it, so I used it a probably unsanitary number of days. One day it fell off the hook unto the floor, then I had no choice to stop using it until I washed it. Unfortunately, I could never fully wrap my brain around remembering to bring it home for washing. That ended my short-lived experiment. Total number of days used: 15.

The pledge
To this day, every time I take a paper towel to dry my dishes in the kitchen, I think about my failed towel resolution and how I should try it again. My towel experiment happened some six years ago; I was a different person then. A 20-something with few cares or responsibilities. Now I’m older, a homeowner, and a mom. I’m more likely to get things done even if they are trivial boring tasks like taking a dishtowel home to wash it once a week. I feel like I might do better the second time around.

So in honor of Towel Day, I hereby take a pledge to give Every Day Towel Day another try. Starting today. Because a wise guide once said:

A towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitchhiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitchhiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitchhiker might accidentally have “lost”. What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

I know where my towel is. Do you?

Ariane is a programmer married to another programmer. Together they have two little girls who don't stand a chance against their nerdy lineage. Ariane can also be found writing about STEM travel at Geekling's Guide to the Galaxy.