It all started with a sneeze.
Well, actually the sneeze feeling. You know what I mean. That little tingle in your nose that keeps pestering you, warning you, really, that an explosion is about to occur. And then you breathe sharply through your mouth, and almost…pause. Never an exhale, just in. And nothing happens. And then you breathe in sharply again, and again, and again, and still nothings happens. Just more preparation for the volcanic explosion about to occur at any moment.
And of course this is happening while I’m trying to put my mascara on. So as I’m stroking the applicator over my eyelashes, with my mouth hanging open—because that’s how one applies mascara, with a dropped jaw--and the tingle twitches in my nostrils, and I breathe quick gasps over and over and over. I throw down the mascara and start to fan my eyelashes, my hands flapping like a hummingbird’s wings going 90 miles an hour. Because I just applied the wet, black, inky makeup and it needs to dry--fast--or else my makeup job will be smeared in an upside-down rainbow under my eyes, like a heavyweight champ just clocked me big-time and I’m down for the count.
When you sneeze, you automatically shut your eyes. Like a clamp. Like an anvil dropping to the ground, there is no stopping it. No preventing it, because it’s going to happen. You are going to blink, because if you don’t blink your eyes will blow out of their sockets. That’s what I was always told.
So my choices are: sneeze and destroy my makeup, sneeze and blow out my eyeballs, or flap like a crow and hope I don’t let loose before the paint job dries.
So I’m flapping. As fast as I can. Stretching my eyes open as wide as possible. Flap, flap, flap. And gasping. In. In again. In again. And…again. Flap, flap, flap. In agai….a-CHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! McPhee-us Eruptus!
The dog scurries to the corner and shivers. The cat tears out of the bathroom, zooms into the bedroom, and flies under the bed.
I have to look, but I’m terrified. Do I have to remove all my makeup and start again? Have I really sneezed myself back to square one? Or did the mascara dry in the nick of time?
Slowly I peek into the super-magnified mirror. Mmm-hmm, just as I thought.