My roommate’s loofah is an oracle.
As it sits unassumingly on the bathtub’s rim in all its rough, spongy banality, it communicates with the gods and is our mediator, though I do not presume to call it our friend.
Its strange shape– the mysterious internal chambers, the bizarre woven texture, the evenly regulated rippling of its exterior—is designed to absorb the gods’ will and disperse it throughout the bathroom as if in a fine prophetical mist. How many times have I been in the bathroom when I am visited by intense revelations: insights into my future after I return from Egypt, novel birthday gift ideas, meals I should eat later on in the day, the appropriate length to which I should cut my bangs?
Before I knew the truth, I thought these moments of brilliance were the result of my own cognitions. Now I know they came from the sponge.
The oracle is ancient. Before this apartment building, before the city of Cairo had even been conceived of in thought or deed, the oracle quietly existed. In the time of the ancient Greeks, sandaled men and women would journey on foot for days with baskets and pots on their heads just to seek the oracle’s presence, and if they were lucky, its prophecies. It was revered by all, though they feared to worship it because of the gods’ anger.
The oracle itself did not want their worship; it wanted quiet. It longed to cease answering the absurd petitions of man and meld its consciousness completely with that of the gods. Daily and nightly it was pulled out of its reverie to a brash existence, greedy humans grubbing after what was not theirs to know. Who could ever truly understand the will of the gods?
The Greeks came and went, as did countless other civilizations, the piles of rubble growing and shrinking with the ages, until Cairo came, and the sponge was once again lifted up, into our bathroom, onto the bathtub’s rim where it now sits enigmatically, an endless stream of communication flowing between it and heaven.
I now realize I misspoke. The loofah could not belong to my roommate any more than the Rocky Mountains could belong to the United States. These kinds of things are not simply owned. Indeed, because the loofah oracle did not belong to me, I assumed it was my roommate’s and she likely assumes the same.
This is the wisdom of the oracle. It quietly leads us down paths of assumption, all the while safeguarding its own peace. It does not even pay the price of having to scrub elbows and backs and instead gently perfumes the air with knowledge, leading us to greater insights.
And today is the last day it gets a free ride. As far as I’m concerned, things are about to get exfoliated up in here. Just wait until the weather gets warm enough for everyday sandal wearing—I don’t care much for prophecies but I do need something to sand down the horns that grow on my feet. Thanks oracle!