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Shrinkle cream

July 10, 2011

I will need more shrinkle cream

You know how they say, out of the mouths of babes come great truths? Well, the person who said ‘shrinkle’ is not a child (or a babe, for that matter). However, sometimes, things that get lost in translation are very funny and also very interesting.

When you teach English as a foreign language, you also learn someone else’s language in return, and as you do, you find out all the ways in which you don’t quite understand each other. A recent humorous misunderstanding, of sorts, that came up, was when the people I’m staying with thought the word for ‘wrinkle’ was ‘shrinkle,’ and that I was buying shrinkle cream for my shrinkles.

This is the sort of thing that makes me guffaw, a word I like to see written down on the page, even if I have no real idea what it sounds like when one guffaws. Yes, I do want to shrink my wrinkles. In fact, I’d like the damned things to go away entirely, along with the previous 10 years, which I’d like back, thank you very much. Like the Pink Floyd refrain from Dark Side of the Moon, suddenly ten years have got behind me, and I had no idea there was a starting gun, let alone a race. Let that teach you to shirk your life when you hit 40! It turns out that 50 and its shrinkles catch up with you, dammit.

Now, it turns out that it is remarkably easy to spend an inordinate sum on a shrinkle cream when you’re in a country where, as my dad would have said, you’re spending funny money. He used to refer to Monopoly money as ‘funny money,’ so it also means any money that has no real value, and can be spent at will, since it’s not real. It’s amazing to me how easy it is to spend money when you have no idea how much the thing you’re buying actually costs in money you’re familiar with.

It’s much easier, for example, approaching my 52nd birthday in five days, to buy a jar of really expensive shrinkle cream here in Sweden, spending Swedish Krona (also known as SEK) in huge sums, because the rate of exchange is approximately 7 krona to one U.S. dollar. Since I’ve just spent over 1,000 SEK on a purchase that included my shrinkle cream, that means I spent over $100 U.S. buying whatever it was I took home in my little plastic bag, including my new miracle goo.

As you know by now, if you’ve been following me on my intrepid journey through my 50s (to Infinity and Beyond) I live in search of the ultimate jar of goo. I might have found it, who knows? It is my Holy Grail. That and the perfect bag. The people I’m staying with said, just recently, because they are sweet and naive and have no idea how many bags it is possible for one human to own, “Another bag?!?”

The greatest bag, very functional, lightweight and great for travel

I laughed at this, because I've heard this refrain all my life, from everyone I've ever known. This bag was completely necessary to buy here, because it's of Scandinavian origin (made in Denmark), and I suddenly realised, wait, I'm in Scandinavia!! So I had to buy the Marimekko bag of my bag dreams, the Arkkitehti. I had one when I was quite young (days I'm remembering now as though they happened yesterday) but I never liked the grey color, and always thought I should have gotten the black. Now I have.

As my Swedish observers said, “Now maybe you’ll feel complete.” I laughed at that, too, because it’s these wry comments about the pieces of my psyche that are missing that make me think the Swedish are much smarter than I am, especially when it comes to the Stuff I Am In Search Of. If I am searching for stuff to fill the emptiness, (and you know I’m never going to find these things, whatever they are) does that somehow turn my search into a quest, noble or not?

A dream come true for those in search of organisational pocket space. It's a zen thing.

I’m in search of the Perfect Bag and the Perfect Shrinkle Cream. You gotta have goals in life; the question is, shouldn’t mine be more exalted? Yea and verily, you know they should.

Next week, I’ll be in Paris for my birthday, because I could not live any longer on the planet and not see Paris. What if I die soon? I cannot die without seeing Paris. It’s just not on.

I’ll be facing fears about the French during the five days I’m staying in Paris. My fears about the French will require an entire blog entry, however, because for me, the French represent everything I should have been but am not, and so going to Paris, to me, means I’ve grown up enough to accept that I’m never going to be perfect. I wanted to be perfect before I went to Paris, but it isn’t going to happen, and that’s just the way it’s going to have to be, I’m afraid. I’m stuck with my shrinkle cream and being merely mortal.

I’m trying to figure out if I should take my shrinkle cream with me to Paris, or let the wrinkles accrue over five days. I was hoping to just go carry-on, but if I start carrying around my pharmacy, I’ll have to wait at the carousel. These are the dilemmas that plague me in my old age. Vanity has made going carry-on almost impossible, something I’ve moaned about before.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 3, 2013 11:08 AM

    I enjoyed reading this. You’re an articulate writer with a classy sense of humor. English is not my language and out of 72 dialects in my country(Philippines) I can only speak 3 and I struggle with how to write English correctly so I love reading good articles like yours (even with a little cussing) which would be so “me”…keep them coming friend.

    • November 3, 2013 10:45 PM

      Thank you very much! It’s very gratifying knowing someone is actually reading one’s writing. I am struggling to learn a couple of other languages right now, and it constantly amazes me how hard it is to do.

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