Independence


Well I went to the dentist again the other day.  And I had the same hygienist  who told me six months ago that I needed to get braces to keep up my appearances.  She’s a gabby woman and—maybe it was the cold temperatures and the accompanying dry skin—the talk quickly turned to lotion.  “The first thing I reach for when I step out of the shower is my lotion,” she said.

“I just use olive oil,” I said.

What?


“Olive oil.”

“Ewww.”  She wrinkled her nose.  “I want to smell nice.”

I wanted to tell the hygienist that olive oil is probably better to slather on skin than petroleum and chemicals but I refrained.  She was, after all, armed with a hook and a spinning toothbrush.

“Open.”  She hummed along to the Christmas songs on the radio and drove her toothbrush across my front teeth.   “You put that on your face, too?” 

“Uh hnnn,” I grunted.  

She wrinkled her nose again and vacuumed my mouth—in my view one of the more humiliating aspects of going to the dentist.  

“Sophia Loren uses it,” I said, vaguely recalling a story I’d read on the internet.

Really.”  She leaned in, suddenly interested.

“Really.” 

“Hmmmm….Open.”   She was silent for a moment.  “What about when your son reaches high school?  Will you continue to home school him?”

“Don’t know,” I mumbled.  “Moving to a farm.”

 “What?”  She drove the toothbrush across my upper lip and came to a skidding stop just beneath my nose.  “Why?”

“I grew up on a farm.”

“Will you have chickens?”

“Hope to.”

“Cows?”

“Probably.”

She gave me a long, lingering look.  “Pigs?”  Her voice was weak.

“Those, too.”

She shuddered.  “Why?”  She asked again.

I smiled.  “You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a just-laid egg solidify.” 

She stared at me. 

“There’s nothing like producing your own food.”  I thought of my father’s massive garden; my mother’s rows of canning jars lined up on the basement shelves; the quilts and the afghans my mother made; the piles of firewood we would stack with my father every year in preparation for winter.  There really is nothing, I thought, like knowing you can take care of yourself and your family.   For the past several years, all I’ve wanted to do is to be independent; to learn to do more things on my own: to put up jelly and have a big garden and a barn full of animals.

“But…”

“I’m weird,” I said, wanting to let the poor woman off the hook.   

“You’re not weird,” she cooed.  “You’re just…different.  Everyone has something unique about them.  You’re…”  She paused and looked at my red sweatshirt, one I’d borrowed from my daughter, who’d borrowed it from my mother: there was a tear in the side and a pink spot from where someone had spilled bleach on it.  She looked at my jeans and my white anklets with mismatched stripes peeking out from my scuffed clogs.  I am, I admit, not a fashionista. 

“You’re down-to-earth.”  She patted my shoulder.  “And there’s nothing wrong with that.” 

The dentist came in and gave me a sixty dollar “exam” that lasted all of ten seconds and dismissed me.  I headed to the exit, conscious of my white socks and the hole in my sweatshirt.  Could it be I was too down to earth?  Could it be I was a frump?

“Squints,” I said.  “Mind if I go get a haircut before we head home?”

“That’s fine,” he said.

I went into the salon and checked in at the desk.  “Hair cut,” I said.  Then I caught sight of my eyebrows crawling across my forehead.  “And could you do my brows?”

“Sure.”

They led me to the back and painted hot wax on my eyebrows while I dreamed of doing for myself on a farm far away.



Labels: ,

Writing in the Margins, Bursting at the Seams: Independence

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Independence


Well I went to the dentist again the other day.  And I had the same hygienist  who told me six months ago that I needed to get braces to keep up my appearances.  She’s a gabby woman and—maybe it was the cold temperatures and the accompanying dry skin—the talk quickly turned to lotion.  “The first thing I reach for when I step out of the shower is my lotion,” she said.

“I just use olive oil,” I said.

What?


“Olive oil.”

“Ewww.”  She wrinkled her nose.  “I want to smell nice.”

I wanted to tell the hygienist that olive oil is probably better to slather on skin than petroleum and chemicals but I refrained.  She was, after all, armed with a hook and a spinning toothbrush.

“Open.”  She hummed along to the Christmas songs on the radio and drove her toothbrush across my front teeth.   “You put that on your face, too?” 

“Uh hnnn,” I grunted.  

She wrinkled her nose again and vacuumed my mouth—in my view one of the more humiliating aspects of going to the dentist.  

“Sophia Loren uses it,” I said, vaguely recalling a story I’d read on the internet.

Really.”  She leaned in, suddenly interested.

“Really.” 

“Hmmmm….Open.”   She was silent for a moment.  “What about when your son reaches high school?  Will you continue to home school him?”

“Don’t know,” I mumbled.  “Moving to a farm.”

 “What?”  She drove the toothbrush across my upper lip and came to a skidding stop just beneath my nose.  “Why?”

“I grew up on a farm.”

“Will you have chickens?”

“Hope to.”

“Cows?”

“Probably.”

She gave me a long, lingering look.  “Pigs?”  Her voice was weak.

“Those, too.”

She shuddered.  “Why?”  She asked again.

I smiled.  “You haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a just-laid egg solidify.” 

She stared at me. 

“There’s nothing like producing your own food.”  I thought of my father’s massive garden; my mother’s rows of canning jars lined up on the basement shelves; the quilts and the afghans my mother made; the piles of firewood we would stack with my father every year in preparation for winter.  There really is nothing, I thought, like knowing you can take care of yourself and your family.   For the past several years, all I’ve wanted to do is to be independent; to learn to do more things on my own: to put up jelly and have a big garden and a barn full of animals.

“But…”

“I’m weird,” I said, wanting to let the poor woman off the hook.   

“You’re not weird,” she cooed.  “You’re just…different.  Everyone has something unique about them.  You’re…”  She paused and looked at my red sweatshirt, one I’d borrowed from my daughter, who’d borrowed it from my mother: there was a tear in the side and a pink spot from where someone had spilled bleach on it.  She looked at my jeans and my white anklets with mismatched stripes peeking out from my scuffed clogs.  I am, I admit, not a fashionista. 

“You’re down-to-earth.”  She patted my shoulder.  “And there’s nothing wrong with that.” 

The dentist came in and gave me a sixty dollar “exam” that lasted all of ten seconds and dismissed me.  I headed to the exit, conscious of my white socks and the hole in my sweatshirt.  Could it be I was too down to earth?  Could it be I was a frump?

“Squints,” I said.  “Mind if I go get a haircut before we head home?”

“That’s fine,” he said.

I went into the salon and checked in at the desk.  “Hair cut,” I said.  Then I caught sight of my eyebrows crawling across my forehead.  “And could you do my brows?”

“Sure.”

They led me to the back and painted hot wax on my eyebrows while I dreamed of doing for myself on a farm far away.



Labels: ,

12 Comments:

At December 17, 2011 at 8:37 PM , Anonymous Monica said...

So when are you planning to move to a farm? I really liked the last line about painted hot wax and dreaming of farming. It's very visual. I can totally picture it. Nice!

 
At December 18, 2011 at 3:32 AM , Anonymous Jodiaman said...

I am surprise at the hygienist actually. She seemed a bit sheltered to be that shocked, like she has missed the whole green revolution going on around her!

 
At December 18, 2011 at 7:51 AM , Anonymous Virginiawilliams said...

Does she know where her food comes from? Yeesh.

 
At December 18, 2011 at 7:56 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Just finished Folks, This Ain't Normal and the author relates a story about kids coming for a field trip. One kid gets off the bus and asks where the salsa tree is. And my friend, a historical cook, was once asked where butter comes from--by a grown woman.

 
At December 18, 2011 at 7:57 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

I think more and more people are interested in producing at least part of their food on their own. But a lot of people are squeamish about it.

 
At December 18, 2011 at 7:57 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Soon, I hope! I'm sure I'll be talking about it more here...Thanks for reading.

 
At December 18, 2011 at 9:55 AM , Anonymous jaum said...

You make the "farm life" sound so good. Everyone will be moving back to the country to plan, plant, grow, weed, water, pick and preserve.... Then where will we be... there will be no one left in the city for the jobs which are not available anyway! Humm?

 
At December 18, 2011 at 10:02 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Somehow, I can't see that happening...

 
At December 18, 2011 at 4:43 PM , Anonymous Bella said...

Kelly, too bad the hygienist doesn't know that Sophia Loren, in her very acclaimed article said that she owed her looks to olive oil. It appears she uses it both inside and out. Coincidentally, Monica wrote a post recently and I mentioned the very same thing in my comment to her! I love, love olive oil. I use it to mosturize my elbows and dry skin patches. And I prefer the term eccentric. Your outfit sounds like something I wear on a day to day basis! Just the other day I spotted myself in a store window and I had on scruffy capri jeans, even though it's 30 degrees, argyle socks, clogs, a long sleeved Henley and a polar fleece jacket that's about ten years old. The way I see it, the important thing is to leave the house dressed. Bonus points if all clothes items match. :)

 
At December 18, 2011 at 8:10 PM , Anonymous Elizabeth Young said...

Love this Kelly. Everyone's got an opinion on how you should live don't they? You were VERY polite to her!

 
At December 19, 2011 at 3:54 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

"The way I see it, the important thing is to leave the house dressed. Bonus points if all clothes items match. :)"
That's pretty much what I aim for - getting dressed that is. My reasoning is, if I'm going to be cleaning all day, why bother looking good? And after this post, I Googled SL and olive oil - it is all over the internet. Wonder if the hygenist is using it now...

 
At December 19, 2011 at 3:55 AM , Anonymous kgwaite said...

Thanks, Elizabeth. Here in the suburbs, I've always been seen as an Odd Bird .

 

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