As I was running for the bus one day last week (well, shuffling a bit faster would better describe it), I was aware that my eyes were beginning to run. I’ve never had any signs of hay fever, but just recently my eyes have become sensitive to wind and sun.
I knew I had a packet of tissues somewhere in my bag, but not to waste time I scrabbled in my pocket for the piece of loo roll which I had grabbed on my way out of the house, and quickly dabbed my eyes. I patted my face carefully so as not to smear my mascara and thought no more about it. I was a little puzzled that the bus driver gave me an unusually broad smile but I thought he was just amused at my huffing and puffing.
The first shop I went into was a jewellers where earlier I had left a watch to have a new battery fitted. Apparently it needed a complete overhaul and I objected to the cost, saying the watch was not worth it. The shop keeper would not look me in the eye and I felt this must be because he felt guilty at trying to hoodwink this old biddy, so I swept out of the shop taking my unmended watch with me. Next I nipped into a coffee shop and while sipping my coffee smiled absently at a toddler, prattling in its push chair, at the table nearby. When the child began shrieking I was sure it had nothing to do with me, but I drank up quickly and left anyway.
Deciding to treat myself to a new watch I found another jewellers where I chose a new one. While the young girl assistant was adjusting the strap, I picked up some earrings and turned towards a mirror to see how they might look on me. I shrieked and stepped away. Staring back at me was this frightened face with two big blobs of white paper stuck to the cheekbones.
“Do loads of elderly ladies come into the shop looking as though they’ve cut themselves shaving?”
“I never know whether to say anything,” the girl said. She glanced at me shyly and I felt like asking her if loads of elderly ladies came into her shop looking as though they had cut themselves shaving. But I can see her point. In Brighton, where anything goes, I would never dream of pointing out any peculiarities in a person’s attire or makeup. But I have learnt a lesson. I now always carry a little mirror with the loo paper.