Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Isn’t it funny how we obsess over the little things?
Example: My SUV has two tiny dings, one on the right bumper, one on the left fender. They are A) The result of parking in a public lot every day, and B) So shallow as to be almost invisible. To me they aren’t important. To my husband, they are raw, gaping scars that tear at his soul.
Widdle is a reasonable man, but those dings drive him berserk. “They look awful. You’ve got to go to the dealership and have them hammered out,” he says, about twice a day. Which I’d be glad to do, if the dealership could do it in less than say, six hours and if I weren’t busy cleaning house, doing laundry, washing dishes, feeding and medicating animals, paying bills, running errands all over the tri-county, exercising and working a part-time job. So, no, it’s not a priority. But I’ll have to make it one soon, before Widdle blows a valve or piston rod.
(Note: There’s also a dent on the lid of our washing machine, which doesn’t seem to bother him nearly as much. In fact, I’d bet $20 he’s never noticed it.)
I have a few quirks myself—surprise, surprise! For instance, I wear disposable gloves to pump gas. (This may be more of a compulsion than an obsession.) My brother, T-Bob, insists that the filthiest item on earth is paper money, but the handle of a gas pump can’t be far behind. Aside from the vapors and fumes that are crusted all over it, imagine how many hundreds of unwashed hands have gripped it. So, yes, I’m the crazy woman wearing blue medical-type gloves.
Then there’s gray hair. I know women who pluck them fiercely. For me, that ship has sailed; I’m WAY more salt than pepper. It’s highlighted, in a not-so-subtle camouflage attempt, but silver still peeks through, especially at the crown and hairline. And by “peeks through” I mean the strands stand straight up, all sparkly and defiant. I miss my young, shiny locks (although I complained about its oiliness, which just proves I am never satisfied.) Most days, I remind myself that gray hair comes only to those lucky enough to live so long.
My friend, Floozy, has a nail polish phobia. If she gets a chip in her manicure, no matter how small, she immediately removes the polish on each finger for a total re-do. “Chipped nails look so cheap,” she says, which I agree with. But I type so much, my polish chips off at a brisk rate. If I re-did my nails every time, I’d do my nails every day, and that’s not gonna happen. So I just wear clear polish, which Floozy would not be caught dead in. Give her Revlon Racy Red or nothing.
I know a man who obsesses over the interior of his car. (What is it with men and cars?) He can’t bear a speck of trash or debris to mar the interior. His kids wipe off their shoes before putting their feet on the floorboards. He probably drives with a Dustbuster in his hand. In every other way he’s a generous, decent person. That’s just his thing, and Lord knows we all have a thing.
But truthfully, people don’t notice what you think they do. If you stroll down the street naked, eyes will pop. But graying temples and tiny dents? Not so much. So let’s all relax and spend our time on important things… like cleaning the handles of gas pumps. Thank you.
Julie R. Smith, who’s also obsessed with Colin Firth, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.