Thursday, 17 April 2008

Pillow Talk

I get the basic rationale behind this tag, which is on the pillows in our Oxford rental home:

Don't smoke near the pillow. Yes, it's made of flame-retardant material, but absentmindedly putting out your cigarette on it is a bad idea.

What I don't get is what's printed on the other side of the label:

Shake and refluff daily? What happens if I don't? Will the pillow burst into flames? And how much work should a pillow be anyway?

I love England, but normal domestic life is filled with this sort of maintenance. Our dishwasher has a filter that must be cleaned regularly and a salt reservoir. We have to add special dishwasher rock salt every now and then. (And when I say "we," I mean My Lovely Wife.) Our washing machine stopped working a few weeks ago. It just wouldn't rotate and the lights blinked mutely. The rental agency was called, a workman was summoned, and he gave his diagnosis. We hadn't cleaned the washing machine filter. It was behind a bit of wainscoting at the bottom of the machine. It didn't say anything in the instruction manual but the guy said we should occasionally be prying off the paneling, unscrewing the filter, and rinsing it out. Riiiight.
It's like owning an old Bentley.

We Americans like to push a button, walk away and return 20 minutes later to find our clothes washed, our plates clean, our pillow pre-fluffed. I'm not saying that's a good thing. That kind of mindset is what got us in trouble in Iraq. "You mean we have to add salt? And clean the filter? I thought I'd just push the 'shock and awe' button.

Seen in London
I jotted down the wording on a sign in a Pret a Manger the other day: Over a photo of a "hot wrap" was the legend "Fresh from the oven. Naturally."

Naturally? Is there an unnatural way to take something from the oven? Do other restaurants remove their toasty sandwiches in a perverse manner?


Henry said...


In Britain, "naturism" refers to the nudist lifestyle. So "Naturally" here undoubtedly means that the Pret a Manager employees have to take off all their clothes before pulling the sarnies out of the oven. Hence the phrase "hot wrap"...

Yours cross-culturally

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Oh. I thought it meant naturally as opposed to whatever the oven equivalent of a C-section would be...

Candadai Tirumalai said...

At least the workman pinpointed the problem precisely instead of implementing unnecessary procedures, which some in Britain and elsewhere are known to do.

Akinoluna said...

Is it just me or are fluffy pillows hard to sleep on? I always feel like I'm drowning in fluff. I prefer my pillows squashed.

Anonymous said...

The Pope is in DC and saying Mass at the new Nats stadium. Do you think they are still charging $4.50 for a small soda and $5.50 for a large? Or will a coke be 7 bucks for this special event? I'm with the cat -- I prefer my pillows squashed.

Sarah Laurence Blog said...

John, are you homesick or just nostalgic? Best to join Henry and me at the pub for a pint. That we couldn't do back home. And thanks for reminding me to clean the filter. We do that monthly whether it needs it or not. Or was that bathing?

Anonymous said...

I could do with being shaken and refluffed.

also anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous, since there was pre-Mass entertainment schedule for this "holy" event, I suspect the prices were probably jacked up. We Catholics have big bills to pay...and not just to keep Bernard Law in the style to which he became acustomed while he was being so pastoral in Boston.

Anonymous said...

I just read that the Post just fired Michael Tunison. Better keep this blog sweet and clean! LOL.

John Kelly said...

I'm disturbed by these images: naked Pret a Manger workers cutting through ovens to remove the fetal hot wraps inside.

@Akinoluna: These pillows aren't very fluffy. It's artificial fluff inside, not like those down pillows that collapse to the height of an after-dinner mint. The worst are the ones in hotel rooms. I need to stack them up to sleep on them.

@anonymous I: Were people doing the wave at Nationals Park for Benedict? Or did they shoot T-shirts into the crowd?

@Sarah: Yes, I think I need a pint. And a game of darts. Okay, H, when are we gonna do that?

@anonymous II: Shaken and refluffed? That's either how James Bond takes his martinis or what Eliot Spitzer was having done at the Mayflower.