Ash Wednesday. A day that separates the hardcore practitioners from the casuals. And the casuals from the ones that desperately needed a school place. One has to admire the willingness of the faithful to conduct their day’s business as usual while exhibiting a blob in the shape of Kim Kardashian’s arse on their forehead. Have you ever encountered road rage from such an individual? Me neither, but I’ve a feeling it’d be funny. (“Oh God sorry, do you need an ambulance? How many fingers am I holding up?”). Or maybe not. I might wear my crucifixes lightly (my job, location, immediate family, motherhood, cheese habit etc.) but can relate to the arched browed curiosity these parishioners are exposed to nonetheless.
Take that first morning of a new job when I had the uneasy feeling the twenty new pairs of eyes were looking slightly past mine. As if the first-day hyena laughter and the overbearing children’s TV presenter enthusiasm wasn’t wearing enough. Not wanting to interrupt my concentration while reading the riveting company policies, and continue with the show of conscientiousness due to expire the following day, I staved off the need to pee until my non-paid lunch break. A double-take in the mirror and a dreaded close-up revealed the remnants of the face cream I’d applied in the car hovering around the nostril area. Children’s TV presenter enthusiasm indeed.
Still, that was nothing compared to the après ronnie job. I’d been in denial for years. Then, one night, several pints in to a conversation on personal grooming with a mix of mates, I called the discusson to a halt and demanded those present to inspect the ronnie I feared I was carrying around. There was no avoiding The Truth. They all leaned in for a gawk. There followed a slow start to the sheepish yeahs before they were all nodding in unison like they’d been wondering how best to confront me on the matter for years. A resounding yes to getting the ronnie off then, and one for the road.
Look carefully. Are you sure you don’t see something?
Heading into work the next morning with a rare five minutes to spare, I slid into the beauticians for a quick wax. Nobody told me my lip would be visible from space for the next hour. I landed into what was a pretty tense meeting with one of the aforementioned mates on the opposing side. I prefer to think I unwittingly disarmed her with my radioactive skin.
Don’t try this at work without getting permission from an adult.