The plane is full and my carryon made it. I feel good.
“Pardon my smelly fries,” says the window. “Did you see where my fork went?” asks the aisle. I pluck pretzel pellets out of a bag like a hostage bound at the elbows and try not to breathe while I politely acknowledge their existence. But it’s like a vinegar bomb has gone off on both sides of me and vinegar — odd as it may sound — makes my stomach queasy. I feel bad.
So I open my book, turning the pages beneath the vinegar cloud, and now — I feel good.
How I feel is important to me.
The woman on the aisle tells me she’s a former oncology nurse who has her own business. It’s in health, she begins, adding that it has to do with a device that measures antioxident levels in the body.
A market so dedicated to antioxident regimens that they actually go to the doctor to measure this? Tell me more.
“Well it’s not really the medical community — actually it’s part of a line of products we sell — do you know what a galvanic treatment is?”
“A wrinkle iron?”
Pardon my smelly fries. This is not about feeling good. It’s about — looking good.
She begins to trace the path the wrinkle iron takes over her face and body, mentioning her age — 53 — as the tour concludes in the upper arm region. I admit, she’s got me by the brow lines for a minute. Hell, believing in magic wands is mighty tempting when it comes to certain signs of aging. Case in point, that devil of a groove on the right side of my chin that tells the world I set my jaw too hard when I think — and then there’s — and of course, that — and surely it wouldn’t be too much to ask —
I mean, once you start, where do you stop?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against looking good. It just scares the hell out of me to imagine a world filled with people who care more about how they look than how they feel. Where masks are preferred over bare faces — and everything falls apart when they come off.
Setting my jaw, I renew my faith in something my mom started telling me long before she saw her first wrinkle.
“It’s what’s inside that counts.”