Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tuesday, May 8: cake and make-up

Boss entered the room to resounding applause. One of the admins ordered a cake and reserved a conference room so that the department could gather and congratulate him on his mentoring achievement. He immediately flushed with embarrassment and sat in the closest seat available.

“I don’t know what you were told.” He said. “But I’m not retiring yet. Unless someone knows something I don’t.”

We all laughed and Jill informed him that we wanted to congratulate him on his recent award. Someone had framed the article that appeared in one of the campus publications. There was a large cake and a nice card. He was presented with the framed document and his card and he ducked his head to read them.

“Well,” he said, “this is very nice. Embarrassing, but very nice. But you should really recognize those people.” He waved toward our section, where 5 of his current post-docs sat. “They’re the ones who did the work and obviously toiled over letters that found my good points.”

“They were easy to write.” I said and smiled at him.

“Thank you.” He said, looking around the room at all of us who had gathered. It was a rather large crowd. “I guess I’ll have some cake later.” He said, getting up to leave, clearly uncomfortable with all the attention and applause and smiles of pride.

“You will not!” Jill said firmly. “Talk to people while we get the cake cut!” So he walked over to us and discussed science. How my analysis is going, how a recent trip went for two of our other group members. He eventually made his way around the room, thanking everyone for coming to wish him well. He made self-deprecating jokes, deflected credit and smiled sheepishly. He is a lovely, lovely man.

So much so that when I got email at 9:30 informing me of his 11:00 surprise gathering, I walked down the hall and got dressed, speeding off to campus despite my residual sleepiness to ensure I could clap with the others. I ate a generous slice of chocolate cake that Jill placed in my hands, talked to some people, then headed back to the office.

Project A – where A is for annoying – continues to grow. It takes time to stay on top of all the details, and I resent that I get nothing out of it and am expected to make time to do menial labor. But trying to get out of it would cause conflict. Boss doesn’t like conflict, though I do think that he’d try to hire someone to do that work if I told him I couldn’t do it. But he’d rather I just handle it. So I will.

Resolving to behave graciously, I walked through the hospital, dropping off a CD I’d burned. Someone asked Boss for a favor. It was forwarded to me and I took care of it. Everyone’s happy. Then I made my way to the land of Project A. For the first time ever, I was able to get all the resources I needed on my first try. Normally someone is in Area 1 or using Room B or Computer #$* is somehow lost. But everything went smoothly – I worked for about 90 minutes – organizing and filing and moving data around, checking and sorting and marking things off my lists.

I made my way back to the office to work on my presentation for tomorrow. I’m to tell the group about my recent data. Luckily, it’s gorgeous. And I have stuff to show – patients for 2 projects, results from my book chapter, future ideas. I did work! So I have things to say! It’s rather nice.

I took off early and went to the mall. I had a facial and make-up application at Origins. My skin is too dry – I need to moisturize more. She massaged and washed, toned and exfoliated, then added serum to my face to reduce any inflammation or redness. A different serum was applied around my eyes to prevent any fine lines. Then we moisturized – once for face, another for the eye area. As creams and froths and gels were piled on, wiped off then smoothed in again, I grew tired. This was turning into a 10 minute face wash and I don’t have the patience for such a thing on my own.

“I need something quick or I lose interest. A wash of the face, some moisture, then it’s to bed or to work.”

“Well, you said you already have Modern Friction.” She noted of the exfoliating product. “Use that 2-3 times a week – do it in the shower even. Then you’ll wash twice a day and moisturize after. Since you already have eye and face serum, use those. Then a complete moisturizer.”

I sighed, but agreed. I do own many products – all I needed was a good moisturizer and I knew I’d buy something after receiving the facial and free cleanser. We turned the chair around and started with make-up.

“I use Bare Minerals.” I told the gorgeous redhead that was helping me. She never said her name. “It’s light and pretty and provides good coverage.”

“So we’ll use powder.” She said, starting to apply concealer. She dabbed and rubbed and frowned and blended. I got bored. Then she applied powder. Smudged and sponged and brushed and blended. I wrinkled my nose – it felt heavy. Like my skin was weighed down with guck. We moved to the other side of the table to apply bronzer, then she worked on my eyes. Eyeliner, 3 different shadows with some kind of base underneath. Then she applied some dark pencil to my lips and covered the color with gloss. I thanked her when she handed me my glasses and took a breath before facing the mirror.

I don’t like dark lips or overdone eyes on my face. I tend to cover flaws and leave it at that. Some shiny gloss that’s not too sticky rounds out the picture. This looked…overwhelming. In all fairness, it was probably subtle as far as full applications go. And her compliments might have swayed me to purchase more products at one time. But I’ve settled on make-up. The experimentation is pretty much done – I have a routine of which I’m fond. I like my tiny tubs of powder and the swirl-tap-buffing I do each morning. If I wear contacts, I’ll swipe a bit of shadow on my eyelids, but I don’t worry about it too much.

It’s nice to be certain, I decided, brushing at the speckles of eyeliner that littered my cheeks. I can try something new and with a quick glance in the mirror dismiss this method in favor of the one I typically use. When most days find me painfully indecisive and generally lost, it’s oddly reassuring to thank someone for their time and pick only moisturizer, leaving all the colorful products for someone who likes them better.

The indecision, of course, returned as I headed to my car. Should I go back to work or head home? Do I include a superficial explanation of the project in general for tomorrow or pick one topic and go into detail? How much time am I willing to devote to Project A when there’s no feasible reward? Should I email Maria again since she wasn’t in at all today or do I let her do her own thing?

I picked up a pizza and came home. Before I had a single slice though, I washed my face and applied moisturizer, content in the knowledge that I like my face better when it’s not covered with powders and smudges and creams. That’s not much, but it’s something.


Anonymous said...


I notice your mind was fluttering as soon as you left the store... we all do that...we immediately start thinking of "what's next?" "should I do X or Y?"... if we always rush to the next action, we loose the present moment, and it escapes from us forever. Try to stay in the moment, even if that moment is just walking to your car... Have you ever tried meditation?

Locks said...

i could use a piece of cake right now

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