Thursday, May 26, 2011
How others see us
Serving people over a glass counter as I do most days of the week, I notice small details. Not in a fact-finding way, just in passing, it seeps into my consciousness. It verifies someone’s image to me in an unthinking way.
There seem to be two types of women as far as I can see.
Picture if you will, a harassed and unkempt woman. She opens her handbag and searches for her wallet through the used tissues and receipts. Her hands are dry and nails perfunctory. She might be wearing wedding and engagement rings but they barely manage to bring beauty to her hands.
She curses as she opens her wallet and discovers her cash-card is missing. Panicking to herself what pocket she might have tucked it into she discovers it floating around in the bottom of her bag. I see this more often than you’d think. This type keeps every receipt from the past six months in her wallet. Some bags and wallets literally bulge with paper and coffee cards. And the offenders don’t necessarily have young children either (when I know you have to carry around everything under the sun).
Here is our other type of lady (the one I try to aspire to). I have served a couple of these in the last few days and their image stays with me in an altogether more pleasant and serene way.
A handbag that looks either new-ish or well looked after is placed on the counter. A pair of moisturised hands with manicured (polished or bare) nails reaches in and pulls out a tidy wallet. These women never seem harassed or rushed, even if they might be. The wallet is not cracked and it is not dirty. She opens it up and chooses her card.
While she is paying, I have time to notice that she has a lovely soft fragrance on, light makeup, hair styled. She is wearing becoming jewellery and colours that light up her face, often with a soft scarf draped around her neck. A couple of our customers that come to mind have lovely gentle speaking voices and smile often.
Have you ever noticed that some people seem to have a permanently annoyed look on their face, even when the situation is neutral or good? Not these lovely creatures. Their faces are soft and pleasant.
Think about how you give yourself away when next out shopping. As for me, I plan to clean out my bag and wallet. I do it on a semi-regular basis but it’s due for another. It is probably these feminine ladies at the counter who are the catalyst for a bag-clean at my place.
My favourite way to bag-clean is find a nice big space of carpet at home and tip everything out. Hold the bag upside down and shake it. It’s best done when you are due to vacuum, not after. Consider everything that goes back into the bag. Some things that I carry around ‘just in case’ only come out when I do this. Perhaps I will have to be more ruthless next time.
Amended to add: Please do not think I am being judgemental. Reading back through this post perhaps I come across that way. At times I have portrayed the first woman, and, to add insult to injury, I am rude to the person serving me because I am in a grump or have been charged the wrong price (again) at the supermarket.
When I post these observations it is not to make others feel bad (I really hope you don't take it that way), but to show how others inspire me to be a better version of myself.
As my sister wisely pointed out, most of us are a mix of these two women and usually would sit somewhere in the middle. We all have off days, and we also have things in our life that others do not know of, sometimes they can be major in the case of illness or unhappy life changes. And then picking someone to bits because their bag is messy seems rather pathetic.
And of course if you have a child or three in tow, my hat goes off to you just keeping it together. Not having children I don't know how difficult it is to get everything done in a day (and have time for hand-cream).
My blog is a place to be light-hearted and pretty and I hope you take my posts that way.
Image of Ines, who would surely have a very neat bag, from keepitchic.com