Today is my ex-husband’s birthday. I wouldn’t remark on this, but I was thinking of him the other day because… well, because despite his faults (please note my heroic effort not to make a snarky comment here. YAY ME!) he also had a super power. This one amazing, inexplicable ability.
He could … and I’m not even kidding here … fold a fitted sheet.
He’s the only person I’ve ever known with this ability. He claimed he learned it while in the Marines, which is funny to me.
“YES DRILL SARGEANT!”
“ARE YOUR WHITES WHITER THAN WHITE?”
“SIR YES SIR!”
“IS YOUR FITTED SHEET FOLDED INTO A PERFECT FLAT SQUARE?”
“SIR YES SIR!”
“I CAN’T HEAR YOU!”
“YES SIR, DRILL SARGEANT SIR!”
“CARRY ON THEN, BALENTINE!”
Marines, schmarines, I say. It was an innate super power, like Superman’s ability to fly. Here’s how I know: I couldn’t learn to do it. I worked retail for years and am a CHAMPION folder. (Sad, sad, fact: sometimes I board-fold my t-shirts in the privacy of my own home, just because they look so flat and perfect that way. Yes, I know I have issues.) However, every time I try to fold a fitted sheet, it looks like I wadded it up into a ball. It’s like a fabric origami project gone horribly, horribly wrong.
I’ve tried to learn. I’ve watched the Martha Stewart “fold a flatted sheet” tutorial many times. Oh, so many times. Martha and my ex are apparently from the same planet that causes its inhabitants to be born with this gift (or it may be a genetic mutation. I haven’t ruled that out) because they both make it look so easy, so SIMPLE. Grab this corner, fold in that direction, snap out, refold. Flat, perfectly folded fitted sheet.
Sometimes I don’t even try. I fold the flat sheet, I fold the pillowcases, and then I just jam the wadded up fitted sheet on top of them in a lump of defeat. It offends my sensibility (did I mention the board folding?) but what’s a girl to do? THEY DON’T FOLD NEATLY.
At least, not for me. They did for the sheet whisperer.
It’s nice, though, to remember that everyone has one redeeming quality. Maybe especially when a relationship goes so bad that it resembles Dante’s seventh circle of hell, it can be worthwhile to try to find that little nugget of something that is nice to remember. “Yeah, it ended badly, but MAN could he fold a fitted sheet. It was MAGICAL.”
(I still think he might be an alien, though. Him and Martha. You just never know.)