Time-consuming Self-care

North Island Robin, Petroica longipes
North Island Robin [Petroica longipes], busy with preening

I hate the time-consuming routine repeated every morning. I may list the most signifant ones with the reasons why I hate them.

  1. Emptying the biological waste that cannot be contained in my gut
    1. Even though I do not have constipation, it always takes at least 10 minutes to complete the operation. I have to be stuck on the loo, I feel like I am a slave working for the biological machine (=my own body).
    2. The activity reminds me of the fact that I constantly have to take another life to sustain mine.
  2. Having a shower
    1. Because it is a repeated procedure, I find it extremely boring. I hate monotounous works and the shower activity is one of them.
    2. I am not comfortable when I use hot water and detergent because they all contribute to the global warming and environmental contamination. Even though I try to simplify the procedure by reducing the number of chemicals I use to two, that is, soap and shampoo, it cannot be done in a second. If it is not done in a thorough way, it is better not to attempt it.
    3. If I were an activist fighting against the global warming, I would resign from everyday shower. But I am already accustomed to the feeling of cleanness and mental comfort the shower brings to my body.
  3. Tooth brushing and flossing
    1. I cannot tolerate the boring time of tooth-brushing, so I often sit in front of my laptop while biting the toothbrush between my teeth.
    2. Only to avoid the dentist visit, everyday I do it at least twice.
    3. I am disgusted by the scene that some hidden food is brought out with flossing activities even after thorous dental brushing.
    4. Probably humans are the only animals practicing this type of dental hygeine. I repeat this activity with bitter feeling, only to abide by the social convention of maintaining fresh breath during the whole life time, which is artificially increased by the human medical care and indoor life-style.
  4. Drying wet hair
    1. It is the most boring and time-consuming part. I hate it most.
    2. I even considered shaving whole hair like a monk in the Buddhism temple.
    3. Still my desire to look like a proper gender under the specific cultural context, which was manipulated by various types of media and education, wins the desire to lead an unbound life in a more ecological way.
  5. Applying moisturizer on the body
    1. This procedure is not essential so most of the times I skip it.

When observing birds, many birds show their own hygienic routines. According to a study analyzing articles of 62 different bird species, mean percentage of daylight time budget of birds for maintenance activities was 9.2%, which equaled 66 minutes per day [1]. Among their maintenance activities, preening was the major component by constituting 92.6% of the time. One more interesting finding or obvious one was that the bird species known to harbour more parasitic louce species spend more time on maintenance than host species with fewer louce.

More than an hour each day birds do spend on maintenance activities! My maintenance activities may take the similar amount of time; nevertheless, I feel like it takes ages. For birds, those activities are essential for their survival whereas for humans, those are not directly related to the survival itself. Maybe that’s why I think that those things just consume my precious time. It may not be easy to survive as a bird, as is not so to survive as a decent human being.


bathing Redwing, Turdus iliacus, bath
Redwing [Turdus iliacus] having a morning bath
Bathing behavior of silver gulls [Chroicocephalus novaehollandiae]

References

[1] Cotgreave P, Clayton DH. Comparative Analysis of Time Spent Grooming by Birds in Relation to Parasite Load. Behaviour 1994;131:171–87.

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