Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The Hands of Shop Girl

Some readers may remember me saying that when I left the shop, I’d get my nails done.
That I’d get a manicure and a stick-on diamante.
Since I haven’t left the shop my hands are still rubbish.
Pinning crystal involves washing them every half an hour and that, combined with the cold weather, leads to dry, cracking skin.
On Saturday, my date, disgusted with my granny hands, shoved me towards a vendor selling expensive moisturiser.
She took one look at them and shook her head.
“No, you don’t need moisturiser.”
She shook her head some more.
“What did you do to them?”
She turned them this way and that, looking for an explanation.
“Do you play tennis? Do you ride a motor bike?”
“No,” I said. “Not that I know of.”
Then she led me over to the sink and made me scrub them with hardcore exfoliation salts.
They felt lovely after that, as smooth as a baby’s bottom.
Not that I’ve ever touched one.
“How much does this cost?” I asked, enjoying the feel of my new-found skin.
“30 pounds.”
That was half the winter coat I’d come out to buy.
She tried to tempt me with a discount and for once I saw it from the customers’ point of view.
Sometimes, despite the great offer, you can’t justify spending that much.
And then my wonderful date told me to stop being silly and bought the pot of salts for me.
Suddenly I've the potential of having beautiful hands.
I’ve started wearing gloves in the garden.
Although that’s more to do with the stinging nettles I merrily pulled out last week.
I thought they were mint.
The stings turned into red spots and lasted the entire day.
Yes, I’m still gardening, still working on those carrots I mentioned a few months ago.
Connie came into the shop and I told her about them.
“I don’t know when they’ll be ready,” I sighed.
“Well, the bloke on telly said it’s when you can see the top.”
So after work, I went home to inspect them.
I dusted the soil away from under those green scraggly leaves and noted with excitement, the small orange beginnings of a carrot.
Of course I pulled it straight out of the ground, all 3 centimetres of it.
“It looks like a radish,” Petra said, when she saw the photo.
“You should put it back in,” the Date said.
It was smaller than expected but at least it smelt like a carrot.
I’ll wait a little longer before I touch the rest.
Meanwhile if you’re wondering why I’m talking about hand cream and carrots, it’s because the Southwark News has succeeded in blowing my cover, and I’m not sure how to proceed with writing about my customers...

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