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, omegas 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 himself once more… adding insult to 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.


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