I usually forget just how much the world is full of words, but once in a while: a morning moment standing in the shower looking at shampoo bottles and then my towel, hung over the top of the glass shower door, a tiny tag sewn in, then the tag sewn into my robe, the scatter of letters all over my tube of toothpaste, and I find I can't stop noticing that there are words everywhere.
wash once before use.
machine wash with like colors.
no bleach. tumble dry.
Everything talks to me. My tweezers say: Trim. My brush says: Goody. The outlet on the wall says: Follow directions. Test monthly.
Oops. OK, I'll try.
Shampoo bottles are bragging all the time like those kids in high school who gush about their popularity just enough that you can hear the desperate inside their words:
"Nature's boredom-banishers, including clarifying Florida Grapefruit and invigorating French Peppermint, give ho-hum hair a refreshing burst of enthusiasm, while mounds of frothy lather sweep away the clingy deposits that drag hair down and leave it lifeless. Limp, lazy, lackluster locks get back into the swing of things, shine again, take on a totally fresh, new attitude."
Walk through the house, past bookshelves and bookshelves, the painting in the hall with Stephen's name on it, into the kitchen where wide, naked spaces like refrigerators have to get crowded with words. A Cinema 21 film schedule (from last December). A magnet that tells what we can recycle and what we can't. A dry-erase board where Stephen wrote "Do good." (And my brother wrote "monkey.")
A yellow sticky still stuck to the door jamb with a quick cartoon portrait of José and a note to my brother, taking care of him while we were away once, years ago: Don't forget my pills.
Make a little something to eat (tiny words on tiny stickers on red and yellow peppers) and go in the back to sit at the computer and look at words and tap words out on fast fingertips. Next to me on the wall is an old map. In big words: View of the center of Paris taken from the air. Smaller words: Seine. Ile de la Cité. Zero in: Boulevard Henri IV. Zero in: Square H. Galli. Zero in: Ruines de la Bastille.
Take a trip out of the city - drive under green freeway sign and green freeway sign and green freeway sign to a place where you can angle yourself to see nothing but sand and sea stretching to forever - and still. Lovely words.
This one says I [heart] U JASON
And right next to it: a love note of a different kind: