Sartre’s Dish Towel

It’s hard to know where a napkin ends and a dish towel begins, Sartre noted. Simone was unsympathetic and gave him grief over this—shaving with a napkin and putting a dish towel in his lap during lunch.

She hated this even more than the socks and underwear randomly strewn about the floor. Jean-Paul listened silently as Simone scrambled the eggs and verbalized her daily list of grievances.

“All that armchair philosophizing!” she said. “And there’s so much that needs to be done around here.”

After breakfast, Simone washed the dishes and made the bed. She glared as Jean-Paul dried the dishes with a napkin—again. The pair then went out to separate cafés.

“Simone just doesn’t understand,” Jean-Paul complained to his companion as he took another long hit from his unfiltered cigarette. “I deal with things in themselves!”

His companion, lost in thought, contemplated whether or not the pipe he was smoking was actually a pipe or merely an artistic rendering of one.

“Reneé, are you listening?” groused Sartre. He gulped down another coffee and crushed a cigarette butt. Then he sat silently, feeling depressed. He blew his nose on a napkin and mopped his forehead with a handkerchief, finally getting one right.

Meanwhile, Simone was enjoying an animated conversation at another café. Her companion, Olga, was one of her favorites, both in café society and the bedroom. She was attentive and she picked up her socks.

The problem was, Olga was sympathetic to Jean-Paul.

“His socks?! You are lambasting him for failing to put his socks in the hamper? You’ve gone crazy!” opined Olga.

That night, Olga went to stay with her sister Wanda. Simone returned to Sartre. Sartre and Simone slept soundly beneath a bedspread. Who the hell cares?