This post will contain mild spoilers about “Gosford Park,” which came out fifty thousand years ago and so there is no need to get huffy about it.
Still here? Splendid.
OK, so there is a scene toward the end of that film wherein we learn who bumped off Sir William McCordle. Kelly Macdonald approaches Helen Mirren as she is doing something with napkins (remember the napkins), and in the conversation that follows various poisonings and betrayals and sorrows are revealed.
I love “Gosford Park.” (Despite our mutual love for “Downton Abbey,” the televisual equivalent of the film and a product of the same writer, my beloved co-blogging best friend and I have different opinions of the movie.) It has a fabulous cast who uniformly deliver impeccable performances (Mirren in particular), with top-notch writing and Altman at his directorial best.
Among the very best scenes is the one I mention above. It opens with Mirren’s character going through the estate’s napkins and mentioning in a casually irritated aside that, were it left up to the maids the household would use the same ones over and over. This small, lapidary detail fits into the whole thrust of the scene, how this woman is such a flawlessly competent housekeeper, that that identity has consumed everything else about her. She is the perfect servant, to the exclusion of her own happiness.
It’s a great scene in a great movie.
But back to the napkins. I watched this model of competence, rotating the table linens so they didn’t keep presenting an increasingly threadbare number of them, and realized “Egads. That’s a good idea.” Now, this might be the sort of thing that everyone intuitively knows to do, but it didn’t actually dawn on me until the first time I watched the movie. As a result, I make sure that all the laundry in the house gets rotated, putting newly folded stuff on the bottom and placing garments or linens that haven’t been recently worn or used on top. Heck, I even rotate plates and glasses.
I have no idea if the Better Half knows I do this. Frankly, I have no idea if this is a routine thing people do, or if it’s some weird OCD-like habit I picked up from watching a movie. But, dammit! If I can squeeze more usability out of towels and my kid’s underpants by paying Mirrenesque attention, so be it.
So this week’s Question is a two-parter, one of which is a follow-up of sorts to last week. First, do other people do the “rotating sheets and T-shirts” thing, or have I picked up a weird tic that I mistook for a good idea? And second, have you ever seen something in a movie, play, TV show or read in a book that made you think “Huh, that’s a good idea!” and altered your behavior in a likewise manner? (Note: “I started taking green coffee supplements because Dr. Oz said so” and changes of that ilk don’t count.)