The other day I walked into the grocery store behind an elderly lady. She was moving quite slowly and I was unable to pass her among all the displays at the store’s entrance.
As I plodded along in back of her, I noticed that she had one curler in her hair at the very back of her head.
My initial reaction was, “I can’t believe anyone still uses curlers.”
After I got over that, I wondered if I should tell the woman that she still had a curler in hair. She was well-dressed and very neat, so it probably would bother her to know she was wandering around the food co-op with a pink, foam curler stuck to her head.
As she walked towards the deli, I was able to get past here and headed down an aisle without mentioning the curler.
I always hesitate to point out such things to people, even to friends.
I know, I know. They say a true friend tells you when you have spinach stuck in your teeth or toilet paper on your shoe, but I’d rather not know.
If no one tells you, when you discover it for yourself you can say, “Well, no one mentioned it so they must not have noticed that I have Oreo cookie crumbs in the corner of my mouth.”
But if the cookie crumbs are pointed out, even though you can wipe them away, it’s still embarrassing because you know everyone saw them. There’s no fooling yourself that it wasn’t that noticeable.
And I get kind of pissy when people tell me there’s something amiss. It’s out of embarrassment, not anger. I know it’s not nice to snap at someone when they are only trying to help, but it just seems to come out.
Even when my mom tells me I’ve got pen on my face or peanut butter in my hair, I kind of resent her for noticing.
And she’s my mom.
So since I prefer when people pretend to be unaware, I do the same for them. I don’t tell the little old lady she has a curler in her hair or the cashier that his fly is down.
Today one of my favorite people on Twitter, Steve Himmer, tweeted this:
“I hope the day improved for that poor girl whose dress was caught up under her backpack in the coffee line this morning.”
It made me think of the lady in the store and I wondered if he, or anyone, told her that her skirt was hiked up.
I think even I would have mentioned that one.