“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”Gilda Radner

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Itchy Energy and Why I Shouldn't Be Alone

Do you ever feel like you shouldn't be left alone? This morning I was shopping at Wegmans and slightly vexed that it seemed to be Bring Your Own Senior Citizen To Shop Day. Normally I find senior citizens delightful, which I think sounds slightly condescending and I don't mean it to. While many people find seniors to be grumpy or irritable, I find that if you give them a smile they're just lonely and really appreciate the friendliness. But today at Wegmans, it was a different sort of senior citizen. The sort that can't be left alone.

I think I'm one of those people. Not just recently, and not because I'm an absent-minded, mommy-brained lady. I think I've always been this way, starting from when I was really little and thought it would be a great idea (note the italics, because I was already thinking in italics even back then) if I used my sister's magic markers to make my own clown face. Another great example is when my mom wanted to grow out my bangs in second grade, and I hated the in-between, fall-in-your-eyes phase and decided to cut them myself. These things all happened when my mother was "resting her eyes" during All My Children, by the way. When my mom woke up that afternoon, I'd put on my Easter bonnet from the year before so it came down real low below my eyebrows, like that was a Thing People Were Doing. My mom didn't seem to find anything weird about me wearing an Easter bonnet in the middle of a February afternoon, so the guilt began to eat away at me. I finally cornered her coming out of the bathroom and confessed nonverbally by pulling the bonnet off my head dramatically, revealing that half my bangs were crooked and the other half just gone, a sad little patch of bald in their place. The look on her face that day said it all: This girl can't be left alone.

(This did not stop her from resting her eyes during All My Children the very next day.)

You might think I'm saying all this because I feel like my children have inherited this from me, but sadly, no, that's not it at all. It's because today I did yet another stupid thing just because I'm all by myself. Let me defend myself first by saying that, being aware of my own faults, I normally channel this--itchy energy, shall we call it?--this itchy energy into productive activity. Yesterday, for example, I reorganized my laundry room. Another day, I organized the Tupperware. Organizing is a great way to rein in your itchy energy. But today, I was feeling all deserving of a break. This is NEVER a good way for me to feel, but you see, my husband Joe just started a new job yesterday, and before that he'd been home during the day for what seemed like eons, and if anything is not a good idea, it's my husband Joe being home during the day for eons. He's a wonderful guy and I truly love him, but...yeah. You get it.

Anyway, I'd read this article online yesterday about a woman who had achieved baby soft clear skin by using Noxzema overnight. Apparently, her grandmother had sworn by it for a lifetime, and was practically as ageless in her nineties as Dorian Gray, so the girl went and tried it and SHAZAM! amazing skin. And SHE said SHE had sensitive skin, so I started feeling all hopeful, because I have sensitive skin. This was the same sort of hopeful I felt when I learned about Proactiv and mineral makeup (another thing I shouldn't be allowed to do when I'm alone: Watch infomercials), and neither of those worked at all. Proactiv swore it was for all skin types, and it totally wasn't. Mineral makeup swore it wouldn't clog your pores, and I ask you this: if it's meant to be rubbed into your pores to hide them, well what exactly does anyone think is going to happen? And then they tell you to sleep in it? Swim in it? Get out of town. It clogs your pores.

Since I never learned my lesson, and since I decided to surrender to my itchy energy today, I happened to pick up some Noxzema at Wegmans. (This was actually my first run-in with Bring Your Own Senior Citizen To Shop Day--a woman and her senior citizen were blocking the Noxzema area, going back and forth repeating slowly, "It's FIVE NINETY NINE!" "FIVE NINETY NINE, YOU SAY?" "Yes, it's FIVE NINETY NINE!") When Noah went in for his nap, I went to the bathroom, dampened my face, and began to spread the Noxzema around, per the instructions from the article I'd read. It occurred to me halfway through that I'd used Noxzema for awhile in high school and it had ended badly, but I shoved those worries away by telling myself that I just didn't have these special directions back then. And anyway, I wasn't going to wear the stuff overnight, I was going to just try it for forty-five minutes.

I can almost hear my sister's voice in my head saying, "Oh, dear."

I went into the family room with my laptop, expecting to Pinterest away the time until I had to rinse off the Noxzema to reveal my new baby soft skin. After about ten minutes, I noticed my skin felt tingly, tight, and a little itchy. Not panicking, I Googled "Noxzema overnight?" I didn't need to actually click on any of the articles that turned up. Captions like, "My eyes swelled shut" and "My face turned blotchy" said more than enough. I raced to my sink and frantically splashed water all over (even onto my t-shirt, which I assure you was inadvertent).  My face honestly looked no different than before.

But now as I sit here typing, regretting my alone time and wishing I had a companion like the seniors at Wegmans, my eyes are still tingling and I just can't tell if they're swollen. I mean...do they always look like this? I never really thought about it before. They could be swollen. I guess all we can do is wait.

And also...maybe I should go organize something.

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