Saturday, October 6, 2007

Wise Woman

Yesterday I was wandering through the mall, looking for a shop that sold face lotion (mine was confiscated at the airport in Beijing). I went into the Body Shop and was checking out their lotion when a sales lady approached to my right.

"Bzzzz bzzzz bzzz," she said to me. I turned toward her, cupping my hand over my good ear so I could hear. "That is for dry skin," she informed me.

"Thanks," I smiled, and turned my attention to another product.

"Bzzzz bzzz," I heard again, so I cupped my hand over my ear and turned to face her. She looked puzzled, but repeated "that is for oily skin."

"Thanks," I replied, and turned away.

Then again: "bzzz, bzzz." Again I turned toward her. This time she motioned me to the back corner of the store. She picked up a box, and as I cupped my hand over my ear again, she explained, "This product is for, how you say," and she pointed at the label.

"Wise Woman," proclaimed the label, and underneath, in smaller type, "for mature skin."

"Yes," the saleslady said into my left ear, "this will tighten, firm, the skin."

She smiled.

What? No really, What?

I'm deaf, I wanted to tell her, not old. In the doctor's office, they had said "you're still young, these steroids will probably work." But here, out in the world, where it matters, the saleslady had just said "You're deaf, therefore you're old."

As I stared at her, my life sorta flashed before my eyes. I saw myself sliding down that slippery slope toward pureed food through a straw and Depends. All before I hit forty. I grasped at an imaginary walker, trying to get my balance, as I took all this in.

Then, Dear Reader, I fled the store. I went straight back to my hotel room and checked myself out in that magnifying mirror hotels seem to think you need in your bathroom.

Maybe my face could use some firming, some tightening. I don't know. It could definitely use some lotion, that's for sure, but I won't be showing my saggy ole face in the Body Shop again. I'll have to buy my lotion elsewhere.

And I really have to stop cupping my hand over my ear like that old lady in the Tweety Bird cartoons.

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