The “Lived In”

The husband and I had a very important philosophical discussion the other day… After he mentioned that he “lived in” Victoria for six weeks one summer many, many years ago.

I turned to him (as I often do), arched by eyebrow and said, “Lived in? Come on…”

He turned back to me (as he often does), tilted his head and said, “Lived in. Yes.”

And that got me thinking… What is the minimum period of time that qualifies someone as “living” in a place…? As opposed to merely “visiting” a place?

I’m going to go out on a limb – although you will never actually find me out on an actual limb, as I suffer terribly from vertigo and have a fear of all forms of “bark” – and say that it’s 6 months. In my humble opinion, 6 months is the minimum amount of time that you have to be in a place before you are actually living in that place.

Oh, you went to Barcelona for three weeks last November. It must have been nice to be amongst Spaniards during your visit. 

You went to school in Finland for 11 months. It must have been fun living there. 

You went backpacking around Australia for five weeks? I’m glad you got to visit those koalas. 

You see? It works.

6 months.

I rest my case.

Of course, deciding upon a minimum time period that constitutes “living” vs. “visiting” brings up some very valid questions…

Why do people want to validate a particular kind of experience by labelling it “living” rather than “visiting”?

Why is “living” in a place better than “visiting” a place?

If your friend visited Australia for five weeks, why do they still have an Australian accent six month later?

I know what you’re thinking… Those are very good questions (and thank you for saying so. I pride myself on my question asking) and good questions always deserve answers.

But then again, we’re all just hanging onto a giant orb spinning in space…

So I guess there might be bigger questions to ask.

The Extremely Awkward Two Week Period

When I left my last job, there was a period of time (two weeks) between when I gave my notice and my last day of work, and that period of time can best be described as, “extremely awkward.”

I should back up.

My husband and I were legally able to live and work in America for three glorious years because we were in possession of a three year visa. We had applied for green cards during our first year in America and we waited patiently for almost two years for that big, yellow* envelope in the mail…

And guess what? It didn’t happen!

We still don’t know why… We are (obviously) model citizens… Other than the littering, road rage, and failing to submit our income tax returns**.

But seriously, America took one look at us and our papers, and decided that we weren’t good enough. Can you believe that crap?

America, who the hell do you think you are?! 

It was probably down to some lowly Border Agency employee… And his name was probably something like “Steve.”

Perhaps Steve was “going through a rough time”… Maybe Steve realized that his wife Becky was “emotionally intimate” with her lacrosse coach Darryl… Maybe his kids, Steve Jr. (12) and Loretta (10) no longer looked up to 5’2″ Steve… Maybe Steve wasn’t as “virile” as he once was… Maybe turning down people’s green cards was the ONE thing that made Steve still feel like a man***.

I digress (what else is new?).

The point is… We didn’t get our green cards and we needed to leave the US of A, post haste!

As the news that I was leaving my job spread like chlamydia through a college dormitory, people would offer their condolences and kind words. It wasn’t uncommon for me to hear that I was so and so’s “favourite co-worker of all time,” or that they would miss me “more than their dead Grandma,” or “they’ve never known love like this.” You get the picture.

It was a sad state of affairs all around.

Perhaps most shocking to me was that COMPLETE AND UTTER STRANGERS would come up to me in the hallways and elevators of my workplace and tell me that they were going to miss me. In some cases, I couldn’t recall ever having met, or ever having seen these people with my eyes, and no – I don’t suffer from face blindness***  (which is a real thing by the way). One girl said she heard I was leaving and that she would miss me and that we should “totally be Facebook friends.”

And you know what, I was touched for realz. Because if my mere presence has that sort of effect on someone I have never met or laid eyes on, then I am obviously doing something right in the workplace.

At home – not so much, but in the workplace – oh yeah.

 

+++

* I’m just assuming it would be big and yellow.

** Joke – obvs!

*** And you know what? Steve can suck it because I want no part of Trump’s America anyway. Who’s laughing (in the best country in the world AKA Canada) now Steve?

**** Or, Prosopagnosia

That Time I Went to a Paul McCartney Concert

This week I saw a freaking Beatle… Paul… The other good ones are dead. (Just kidding, obvs... I love Ringo.)

My dreams all came true that day… Well, almost.

When I was about 11 or 12 years old I “discovered*” the Beatles. I listened to their records** non-stop, watched any movie or documentary I could get my hands on, and dreamed of kissing Paul McCartney on the mouth.

As anyone who has ever had the privilege of listening to The Beatles knows… Whatever happened in Liverpool over 35 years ago was pure magic. There has never been anything like it, and there will never be anything like it again. So to have been in the presence of rock royalty, and to share three hours of the same time and space… was something else… Something I will never forget.

And here (in no particular order) are some of the things that I said to my husband at the concert:

“He can really pull off a mullet – not many men can.”

“He’s not really twisting, but he’s definitely shouting.”

“I should probably be a back-up singer for Paul McCartney.”

“How do you think one becomes a back-up singer for Paul McCartney?”

“He’s got such skinny legs.”

“Oh no… something from his latest album.”

(During the “Live and Let Die” fireworks display, which was insane and fiery) “We are all going to die tonight, aren’t we?”

“Do you think he wears diapers? Three hours is a long time for a geriatric to hold it.”

“This whole sitting at concerts thing is awesome.” (The majority of the crowd was as old as the hills and refused to stand.)

“I want to make a Paul McCartney Agreement.” (Perhaps something similar to the Eddie Vedder Agreement?)

The only possible way the concert could have been any better was if I was somehow able to kiss Paul on the mouth.

IMG_7834

+++

* They were always there though, weren’t they?

** On a record.

The Oral Agreement

So my husband and I have an oral agreement, and by that I mean it’s a written agreement about what I am allowed to do “orally” with Eddie Vedder.

We lovingly refer to it as the “Ed Ved Agreement.”

I mean, it’s important to have such an oral agreement written out, agreed upon and notarized should I become his pen pal, should our paths cross one afternoon in a sleepy Seattle suburb while he walks his aging Labrador dog… Basically, the oral agreement means that should I “run into” Eddie at some point and the sexual tension be so potent that we cannot resist each other (orally) I can follow through.

And I should probably explain what I mean by “oral”… smooching, tongue-kissing, tonsil hockey, “making out,” some light canoodling, and other slobbery stuff with our mouths, lips, tongues, and teeth.

Obviously there would be no intercourse, no hands stuff, and no emotional intimacy.

Before we got married, I said to my husband, “Husband, I have strong feelings for Eddie Vedder. If I ever met him, would it be okay if I made out with him?”

And the husband (being very conciliatory) said, “Sure, as long as it doesn’t go any further than that.”

And then I said, “Mind if I get that in writing?”

You’re probably thinking, “Why on God’s green earth would you ever want to kiss anyone else when you have such a wonderful relationship with your loving and hunky husband?”

The answer is simple. Ed Ved was my first crush, and I still feel funny* in my body when I see him.

You’re probably also thinking, “Do you and your husband have an oral agreement about anyone else?”

Yes.

You’re probably also wondering, “Does it work both ways?”

If you’re referring to an oral agreement that my husband has had written up and notarized, then the answer is also yes.

Fair is fair. 

If Rhys ever meets Pat Beneath at a bar, or “run into her” while parking his car, or become her trusted advisor, he’s allowed to do whatever he wants with her, orally.

images

And I get it.

 

+++
* not “ha ha” funny.

The Exact Place

Recently I had an article published in Darling Magazine* called “5 Things England Taught Me,” in which I discussed my long-time fascination with England, my desire to live there, and what I learned whilst residing there (aside from words like “whilst”).

As I reflected back on our time living in England, and began scrawling notes on a yellow lined pad, I turned to my husband and said, “Do you remember the moment when I first asked you if you’d move to England?” He nodded.

It’s funny how some memories are just ingrained in our psyches… Like a tattoo, or a birthmark, or (worse) a hereditary disease.

In December 2007, my husband and I went to England, France and Switzerland for about a month. The first leg of our trip was spent in England, where we stayed with some friends just outside a very small and very idyllic village in the English countryside called Sudbury. Sudbury is the kind of town that gets its own postcard – it’s that cute.

One day, my husband and I set off for a walk into the village. We were newly married, so it was a lot of talking about our feelings, canoodling, holding hands, cupping each other’s faces in each other’s hands, deep and meaningful glances, and stopping to share a passionate kiss or make sweet, sweet love in a lush meadow. I’m surprised we made any progress at all.

I remember the exact moment, the exact place where I said the words that changed our lives forever… It happened here:

IMG_7447

I know what you’re thinking: “Doesn’t look like much.” And, you’re right – it really doesn’t. It’s just your typical English road with a bit of pedestrian pavement – not the sort of place that changes people’s lives. And yet – it did…

Because I turned to my husband and said, “What if we lived in England?”

And those six words started the ball rolling on what would become a very exciting, sad, scary, merry, mirthful**, life-altering chapter of our lives. We quit our jobs, we sold our car, we gave away most of our stuff, we said our good-byes, and we went on a journey.

A journey that took us around the world, and then, after six years, back again.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I returned to Sudbury for a visit. One day we decided to take a walk into the village. As we approached that particular bit of pedestrian pavement, I pointed ahead and said, “That’s where it all started. That’s where I uttered those words.”

“Um, no.” My husband said, pointing further down the road. “It definitely happened over there.”

“There” being here:

IMG_7453

I gave my husband the look***. “I don’t think so.”

He turned to me, and said, “I know so.”

“You don’t know so.” My hands moved up to my hips.

“I do know so.”

Me: “I’m younger and have a better memory. Plus I take fish oil supplements.”

Him: “They are like 50 yards from each other, so it doesn’t actually matter, does it?”

Me: “Yeah, probably not.”

Me (in my head): “I’m obviously right and he’s obviously absolutely, unequivocally, wrong.”

And that’s how memories (and marriage) works.

 

+++

* A wonderfully affirmative magazine that aims to redefine beauty and empower women.

** I was looking for an excuse to use this word.

*** You know, the look.

The Phantom Hands

I could have been a hand model.

I have delicate hands, with thin wrists, elegant long fingers and silky skin. Some have said that my hands don’t suit my thick, “handsome,” matronly body, and to those people I say, “rude.”

If I had known how to go about being a hand model when I was younger*, I would have definitely pursued it, and I’m sure I would have made millions (if not billions, trillions, or zillions).

I always thought that it would just happen… I’d be spreading cream cheese on a bagel, or putting money in a parking meter, or squeezing an orange at the supermarket, when an aging bald man wearing a pin-striped suit and dark aviator sunglasses would approach me and say (with an Italian accent), “You have the most lovely hands I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Please, come with me to Milan, and become the next Delphine.” And I would have gone with him to Milan, and taken the jewelry and dishwashing detergent advertising world by storm. I would have been invited to all the best parties and events, and when I arrived the host would try to kiss my hand (as Italians do), but I’d pull my hand away, and offer my lips instead.

It would have been an amazing life, hob-nobbing with the crème de la crème…

But I guess there’s no use crying over spilled milk**. A life of luxury hand modeling around the world was not meant to be***.

My hands (which, as we have established – are extremely beautiful, delicate and definitely the embodiment of grace and dignity wrapped in soft, supple skin) have some issues.

They are phantom hands.

No matter how hard I try, no matter the situation, location, or scenario, I cannot get a hand dryer to work.

Yes, they appear normal (although obviously way, way nicer and more beautiful, graceful, etc. than “normal” people’s hands), but they are phantom hands when it comes to hand dryers.

I’ll go to a hand dryer, like this one…

Unknown

Just your typical hand dryer                       (that refuses to acknowledge my existence).

… And I’ll wave my hands like crazy, and then I’ll stand there for 15-30 seconds, doing a variety of gestures, motions, and actions, and… nothing.

The hand dryer refuses to acknowledge the existence of me, or my hands.

And it’s not just one kind of dryer, it’s all dryers, everywhere… in every bathroom, in every country, in every hemisphere. 

Recently, at the London Heathrow Airport (site of the unfortunate incident known as “The Shirt“), I went to the washroom, washed my hands, and then went over to the hand dryer – a Dyson air blade. I stuck my hands way down into the crevice, and nothing happened. I tried again. Nothing. I tried the air blade next to it. Nothing. I removed my hands, and watched as an elderly Japanese woman inserted her hands and had them dried within seconds. I had to dry my hands on my jeans.

There have been literally hundreds (if not, thousands or millions) of times when I couldn’t get a hand dryer to work.

This is my life now. I dry my extremely beautiful hands on my pants or my coat.

A curse? Maybe.

I was blessed with the hands of a Greek god, and so this is my fate in life… phantom hands.

You see? They are exquisite.

+++

* I’m obviously still extremely young and thriving, but the hand modeling world is a cruel, cruel microcosm of agist buffoons.

** Or, what your life could have been…

*** Instead, a life of writing stories like this one.

That Time That I Shopped For Danish Modern Furniture in Silver Lake with Thom Yorke

I could have definitely leaned over and grabbed his face and given him a big kiss on the forehead. I wanted to, and I should have, and it’s my number one regret in life.

By now, you might be wondering what my number two and number three regrets are in life, and I wouldn’t want you to go on wondering because wondering can cause headaches and other ailments.

Number 2: I didn’t save. I wanted to, I should have, and it’s my number two regret in life.

Number 3: I didn’t learn a second language. I wanted to, I should have, and it’s my number three regret in life.

Back to my number one regret in life… I should have kissed Thom Yorke on the forehead when I had my chance! (I should have also kissed him on the cheek and/or lips!)

You see, for me, forehead kissing is one of the nicest, most loving things you can do to someone – to show your appreciation and fondness for that person and/or their musical achievements.

When will I ever again casually run into Thom Yorke and be close enough to plant one on him?

There are almost 7 billion people on this earth, and Thom Yorke is only one of them (and I’m another one), so the likelihood of our paths crossing again seems quite slim.

In case you don’t know… Thom Yorke is the wispy, hip and extremely hunky (though not in an obvious way) lead singer of the English rock band, Radiohead. If you don’t know who Radiohead is, then I can’t help you. (Radiohead has sold over 30 million records worldwide, and I’m responsible for five of those records, including OK Computer, which is one of my favourite albums EVER.)

So I’m shopping for Danish modern furniture in the once hip, now probably cliché neighborhood of Silver Lake, because you need furniture – and you may as well get the kind that’s Danish and modern.

I’m looking around the store, and I’m seeing a lot of furniture that is both Danish and modern, and I’m considering what might suit my humble abode, and then I hear the little doorbell tinkle and in steps Thom Yorke.

And I know immediately it’s him.

I nudge my husband, and whisper, “its Thom Yorke.” My husband looks over at Thom Yorke, squints, and then nods his agreement in my general direction. My heart starts racing, my palms start sweating, and as Thom Yorke casually strolls through the store – looking super cool in a nonchalant man bun kind of way – I try to remain calm with some breathing techniques, and I think about what I should say to him…

“Hi Thom. Is it okay to call you Thom? Should I be pronouncing the “h” in your name? Is it Th-om? Anyway, I’m a fan. Not the kind that winnows grain, or the instrument used to produce a current of air, or even the movement of a peacock’s feathers to reveal his impressive plumage – I’m just a person that’s enthusiastic about a musician or group. Like, your band Radiohead for instance. Anyway, I like your band almost to the point of love, and I’d like to kiss your face. I was thinking your forehead but I’m open to suggestions…”

And then, right as I was about to summon the courage, I heard the doorbell tinkle, and he was gone. Just as quickly as he entered the door, the store, and my heart – he exited, out of the store, and out of my life.*

Thom, if you’re reading this (and why wouldn’t he read some 30-something Canadian woman’s comedic musings?), I love you, I love your music, and I owe you one.

thom-yorke-180316-616x440-1

 

+++

* Obviously I chased him down the road, but couldn’t find him.

The Shirt

Without a doubt, the most important thing in a marriage is trust… You’ve committed yourself to this person, and you hope that they will also cherish, honour, and love you right back. You trust that your marriage is a priority, and you trust that they hold the sacred bond of marriage above all else.

You also trust that when you ask them to hold a John Lewis bag, they’ll hold the John Lewis bag. Am I right or am I right?

I should explain.

We just got back from Europe two weeks ago. We spent four days in Sweden and ten days in England. Our trip was definitely up there in the top 10 trips of all time: we visited an archipelago on the South coast of Sweden,  we went to a ukulele jam in the basement of a grungy London pub, I sat on Sting’s sofa. All in all: it was a great trip.

So, needless to say – we  were pretty sad to head home. We headed to Heathrow Terminal 2 older, wiser, and with swollen fingers from the ukulele jam. We were excited at what awaited us at T2, and when I say, “we” I really mean, “me,” because T2 is basically a mall* with some planes coming and going.

I didn’t spend a lot of time shopping while we were in London (I was too busy sitting on Sting’s sofa), because I knew that Heathrow Terminal 2 would give me what I needed: souvenirs and some additions to my wardrobe.

Long story short – I bought a new blue and white stripy shirt at John Lewis. My wonderful and usually very trustworthy husband took the bag from the salesperson.

Just to be clear: he was definitely carrying the bag.

Fast-forward 12 hours. We’re home, we’re jet-lagged, and we’re unpacking because we’d rather get it over with, and I’m like, “where’s the John Lewis bag?”

The it all comes back to me. Heathrow Terminal 2. The husband was definitely carrying the John Lewis bag. We had lunch at Leon. And two glasses of wine. Suddenly, the husband tells me we have to get to the gate. We get on the plane. We travel through time and space. We land. My parents pick us up. We get home. We start unpacking. Which brings us back to:

“You definitely had the bag.”

“Are you sure?”

“Oh, I’m sure.”

This goes back and forth for about 10-60 minutes, before we agree that we should try to do something about it. The husband tries calling the airport, and the restaurant. I email the restaurant and then the airport. Then we realise that its night time in England, and that we are much too tired to be having this conversation.

Around 2am I wake up, and I look at my phone. There’s an email from a man that claims to work at the very restaurant that we lunched in. He said that he received my email, and he asks for a description of the shirt. I’m thinking, “if he has the shirt, shouldn’t he know what the shirt looks like?” I write a brief description anyway, and fall back asleep.

Around 8am I wake up, and I look at my phone. There’s another email from the man that my description matches the shirt he found, and he says he’d be happy to send it to me**.

And I was torn, because while I was happy that my shirt was found, and I was happy that it was on its way back to me, I hadn’t quite managed to make my husband feel bad enough for losing it in the first place.

I was kind of hoping that he’d more than make up for it – with foot rubs, and washing all the dishes several nights in a row, and letting me have the last ice cream bar.

So I didn’t exactly tell him.

IMG_7612

 

+++

* Heathrow Terminal 2 has been revamped, and now features some of my favourite shops: Cath Kidson, Hamley’s Toy Store, and John Lewis.

** Well, actually he’s happy to send it somewhere in the UK. So I had him send it to my friend Jam, who has since posted it to me. How kind!

The Auction (and Viewing)

So I was in London last week.

I was on a train, reading a newspaper, and in that newpaper was an article about Sting and Trudie having an auction at Christie’s… “Queen Anne’s Gate: Works from the Art Collection of Sting & Trudie Styler.”

Apparently Sting and Trudie Styler wanted to “have a refresh of their London flat” and were selling 200 lots, which included tables, chairs, lamps, coffee tables, and assorted works of art, including a Picasso plate expected to “fetch” between £1200-1400.

Before I go any futher, I should tell you a little bit about Sting and Trudie Styler… But to be honest, I don’t know a lot about them. I do know that Sting is/was a singer, and he possibly plays an instrument (piano? guitar?), and that Trudie is his wife. I also know that Trudie was on an episode of Friends where Phoebe pretended to be Ross’ son’s other mom in order to meet Sting and attend his concert (it didn’t work), and I also know that they engage in tantric love-making sessions that last up to 12 hours (don’t ask me how I know that).

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 7.18.05 PM

12 hours…

So I’m reading about Sting and Trudie Styler’s auction, and I’m thinking to myself… “I should go to that auction” because when else would I ever have an opportunity to buy a Picasso plate for between £1200-1400 that once belonged to Sting and Trudie Styler?

A little more about the Picasso plate… it was one of an edition of 25, and it was a plate (that pretty much covers it).

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 7.14.29 PM

The infamous Picasso plate

I nudged my husband, showed him the article and asked him if I could go to the auction and buy a Picasso plate. My husband, who is nearly always very agreeable, said “yeah, sure.”

It makes a lot of sense (and it takes a lot of cents… zing) to buy a Picasso plate… Picasso is a fairly well-known artist, and so I figured it was probably a pretty good investment. But then again, it’s just a plate, isn’t it? And I’ve broken at least 10-15 of those washing up.

I told my husband I’d be careful with it (I wouldn’t use it in the microwave) and I would put it in a cupboard for safe keeping, and we’d just sit and wait for the value to increase.

You know in cartoons how a light bulb shows up over a character’s head when they have a good idea… That’s how I felt… This Picasso plate was an opportunity… To own a Picasso plate.

The auction was on a Wednesday, and there was a “viewing” at Christie’s the Sunday through Tuesday, so I’m thinking to myself… “I should go to that viewing.”

So I went to the viewing.

I decided to take along a friend (“Jam”) because I wanted to pretend that I had “people”… because people who go to viewings at Christie’s have “people.”

As we strode into Christie’s, we walked with purpose, our heads held high* because that’s how a person who obviously doesn’t belong somewhere gets through security. I spotted the signs for Sting and Trudie Styler’s auction upstairs and quickly climbed the stairs to the second floor.

As Jam and I entered the room, we immediately began doing the things that people do when they are looking at things like art or modern furniture – folding your arms across your chest, furrowing your brow, tapping your lip with your forefinger and saying “interesting,” when it obviously isn’t.

We looked around the room, and noticed something… We were surrounded by old, white snobs. In fact, they were some of the oldest, whitest, snobs I had ever encountered in my whole life… All Barbour and noses in the air.

We began poking our heads in the various rooms, occasionally breaking into spontaneous fits of laughter about the absurdity of it all. I mean, who would have ever thought that a woman named “Jam” and I would be rummaging through Sting and Trudie Styler’s old tat on a Monday morning half-cut on breakfast cocktails? (To be fair this is not far off most Mondays.)

Anyway, I was surveying a room when I saw it… the Picasso plate.

I went over to get a better look at the plate, and a Christie’s representative sidled up beside me. I thought we were going to be chastised and asked to leave (Jam is half-Indian and this crowd was as white as they come), but instead she asked if I wanted to see the “condition report.” I shook my head “no,” not wanting to speak and give my stock away.

We then watched as an old, white, snob sat her fat, white butt on a gray, velvet sofa (lot #46). I gasped, waiting for security to swoop in to remove her and her butt… But they didn’t swoop. I leaned over to Jam and whispered, “here’s where I sit on Sting and Trudie Styler’s sofa.” And that’s when I dared to sit my own fat, white butt on Sting and Trudie Styler’s sofa… And you know what? It felt like sitting on a marshmallow wrapped up in heaven.

Jam and I left that viewing older, wiser, whiter, snobbier… having sat on Sting and Trudie Styler’s sofa.

When Wednesday finally rolled around (two days later, as Wednesday’s tend to do), I didn’t attend the auction.

Yes, buying a Picasso plate would have probably been a great investment, and I could tell people I have a Picasso plate without lying about having a Picasso plate**, but to be honest I did not relish (mmmm relish) hanging out with a gaggle of old, white snobs for one more of my mere five days in London.

Turns out the plate went for £5600.

Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 7.10.20 PM

Marshmellowy goodness

+++

* I always walk into buildings with purpose and with my head held high.

** I’ve only done this four times before.

The “Miss”

I’m back in London this week, tagging along on my husband’s work trIp, seeing old friends, and taking in the sights (Big Ben, Westminster Abbey) and the smells (pollution, wee) that has made London famous.

It’s weird returning to a place you once lived. We lived in England for three years, but looking back – it feels foggy – it almost feels like someone else lived that life. (Maybe it’s because I drank 3-4 units of alcohol per week while we lived in the UK, and my short term memory has suffered because of it?)

Anyway, I digress (as usual).

I’m back in London, visiting my old haunts… John Lewis being one of them.

For those of you who don’t know John Lewis is “a chain of upmarket department stores operating throughout Great Britain.” John Lewis has everything! Housewares, clothing, arts & crafts supplies, shoes, linens, electronics, and even a haberdashery – whatever that is.

So, yesterday I was super excited to venture out to John Lewis. I set aside several hours to really “ferret out” (comb through) the Oxford Street location, which is six levels!

As I wandered through the housewares, I heard “You alright there miss?” I turned and saw a young man, smiling in my direction. He repeated himself, “You alright there miss?” I nodded my thanks, blushing.

I immediately thought to myself, “Yep, you’ve still got it! You may be in your mid-30s but that young man just mistook you for a ‘miss,’ so you definitely still have the illusion of being young. Whatever you’re doing… moisturizers, serums, night creams, nine hours of sleep every night, vitamins, yogurt, kombucha, fermented foods and beverages, omega 3-6-9, coconut water, SPF 30, red wine, white wine, vegetarianism (aside from bacon)… keep doing it, because it’s obviously working!

I continued on through housewares, strutting down the aisle with a new, sassy confidence, tossing my hair, beaming at everyone who passed, and thinking to myself: People think that you’re spritely and youthful, and worthy of the title ‘miss!

I picked up an Emma Bridgewater mug.

“You alright miss?” I turned around, assuming the young man wanted to assist with my purchase.

“I’m fine, th–” I started, but I didn’t finish my sentence. Because as I turned, I realized that the young man wasn’t speaking to me… He speaking to someone else…

He was speaking to an elderly woman with blue hair, wearing house slippers and pushing a walker.

It felt like someone had popped my ego balloon.

“You alright miss?” He said again, louder this time. The elderly woman reached up to her ear, and adjusted her hearing aid. “You alright miss?” The young man repeated… adding insult to my injury.

The woman smiled, waved him away, and continued to push her walker toward the incontinence supplies.

I left John Lewis sad and deflated… but with an Emma Bridgewater mug.