Keeping the smile

There’s a well-known saying that goes ‘Don’t shoot the messenger’, which essentially tells us not to blame the bearer of bad news. Last Saturday, I’m afraid I didn’t pay heed to this rather sensible sentiment and I metaphorically opened fire on one. 

He was an inoffensive man in a quiet medical store who told me that my prescription was over seven days old and therefore invalid. This meant that I would have to get a new one. I asked him what mischief I could possibly get up to with skin cream, but he simply responded that that was the rule for all ‘controlled medicines’.

There is something about that statement – ‘Those are the rules’ or ‘I am just following the rules’, that never fails to get a rise out of me each and every time. I am not proud to say that I grumbled about the ridiculousness of it all and walked out in a fit of barely-concealed pique. 

Of course, the pharmacist was right and I was wrong. I was too embarrassed to go back there with the new prescription after acting like a sullen teenager, so I decided that a good way to do penance would be to cheerfully accept situations as they come for the next few days. Can’t hurt to have a sunny disposition, can it, as long as I don’t become one of those people who send pictures of birds and cats and random flora to wish you good morning. 

What happened on Saturday afternoon was probably a combination of Murphy’s Law and the powers-that-be checking to see if I was serious about keeping my happy face on no matter what. I was on my way to pick up my husband from his regular appointment at the doctor’s. Since parking at this place is usually very limited, the way this always goes down is – I give him a call when I’m nearby and he comes out. This time, however, just as I was reaching, I got a call from him asking me to park and come up and get him. 

Let me explain my predicament. After my pharmacy visit that morning, I had decided that my hair needed nourishment and had put on a homemade mask of avocado, coconut oil and egg yolk. But by the time I felt my hair was suitably nourished, it was time to pick up my husband. So with a nonchalant ‘No one will see me inside the car anyway’ attitude – cheerful disposition, remember - I pinned up my gooey hair, and left home in my threadbare Minions T-shirt and my oldest, loosest pair of cotton pants that were in danger of falling off if I moved too fast.

Imagine my panic now. First - parking. There is a mosque opposite the hospital where one can park, but the thought of walking from across the road in my current state was worrying. Magically, I found a place to park quite close to the entrance. The power of positive thinking and my deep love for my one and only won the day to propel me to the next step. I took a deep breath, pasted what may have been a scary smile on my face and got out of the car. 

I strode forth with the complete confidence of a celebrity, sunglasses glued to my face. Do you know how difficult it is to see lift buttons with dark shades on? Admiration for all those famous and wannabe-famous people who wear sunglasses indoors increased manifold at that moment. And I forgot to mention that I had on my ‘trendiest’ red sunglasses that made me look like a giant ant lady on top of everything else. 

After that, things were a bit of a blur, and though it involved me coming down to get something from the car and going back up again, no one laughed outright. Not that I would have known because I didn’t look up much from the ground except to talk to my fortunately distracted husband. 

The subject was ignored all the way home between confused husband and bug lady wife, while her head frantically ran ‘this is fine’ on repeat. And you know what? It worked. 

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