Thursday, November 5, 2015

Hand holding

I have Third Third hands. Looking at them, I can’t remember that they were ever smooth and unlined. Sophie tells me she puts sunscreen on her hands because that’s where aging will show up first. I don’t know about “first,” but it’s definitely there.

My hands have extra issues. My joints swell underneath a couple of knuckles and one finger aims in the wrong direction as a result. My mother’s hands are swollen and crooked with arthritis. Lately I’ve noticed that even though my hands appear really steady, sometimes they don’t make straight lines. I’ve given up calligraphy and sometimes I have to brace my hand to paint these illustrations.
So I couldn’t decide about nail polish. Would it attract unwanted attention to my hands or would they make my hands look pretty? Sophie visited and threw out all the old, toxic nail polish she’d acquired over the years. Then she had me try her latest discovery: Dior Nail Glow. She said it was expensive but it lasted a long time.

Try it out again, she said. “You go into Sephora at the Fifth Avenue Mall and you use the tester.” “What’ll I do with one polished finger?” “No,” she assured me, “you can paint all your fingernails. It’s what happens in Sephora.”

So I found Sephora. I headed over to the Dior area – yikes! That little bottle was $27! Who buys a $27 bottle of nail polish?!? (moment of shock as I wonder yet again if there is any of my genetic material or core beliefs in my daughter) I looked around furtively. That price tag had escalated this outing from a little lark to practically grand theft. No one was watching. I quickly applied Nail Glow to all ten fingernails. But I was so nervous about the whole enterprise that I dropped the bottle on the floor and nail polish went everywhere. Aiiieee, panic!

Casually, I picked it up (heart thumping), put it back on the shelf, and pretended I was idly strolling around browsing the make-up, trying to look like a customer and not a vandal. Sophie was right: people were trying on all the products. Yuck, some woman tried on lipstick and then put it back on the shelf.

Fortunately for me and Sephora, my friend Judith showed off her new nail polish: Sally Hansen from Fred Meyer. At $2.99 for Sally Hansen Extreme Wear, I could even splurge and get a spongy buffer thing. I brought it all home to try it out.

Wow! I’ve got shiny nails! Extreme Wear is so tough, it’s practically indestructible. It doesn’t impede any dishwashing, scrubbing, playing with dirt. It lasts and lasts, and I find myself admiring my nails many times a day.

I don’t admire my hands – they’re old hands – so I’m trying to reframe my feelings about them: These are strong hands. They’ve dug gardens, hammered nails, typed pages and pages. They’ve written checks, letters, and grocery lists. They’ve prepared meals, stroked heads, applauded and applauded. They’ve held other hands. They’ve removed splinters, shoveled snow, killed bugs. They’ve been chapped, sprained, and slit by paper and knives.

They’ve touched the world with love. And they still work.

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