Lessons in Life (and Nail Polish Remover)

Today I have been taught a lesson in planning and preparation. Have you ever heard of the five Ps? Prior preparation prevents piss poor performance. Well it’s true.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m always late. And usually later than the later time I rearranged to. I guess I’m lucky to have such forgiving friends and family who know me so well and are willing to forgive my tardiness. This however does give me difficulty when meeting new people, especially potential dates. New people are not so forgiving of one’s flaws, especially when it is the first impression that counts. The first impression is, of course, what leads to second chances. And second chances are what lead to all kinds of possibilities.

Today I had the luxury of having the whole flat to myself, and having a busy weekend ahead, spent the morning relaxing. I had a lie in until 10:30am, then nipped to Waitrose for a free coffee and to pick up some bits for lunch.

This afternoon I have a third date, and so while I had the whole day free, I had plenty of time to get ready. Although there were things I could have done last night, or even last weekend, such as painting my toe nails. And that’s where everything started to go wrong.
I put too much nail polish on my big toe. So I stuck a cotton bud (or Q-tip) into my bottle of nail polish remover, which I tipped so it would soak the bud. Which dripped onto my dress. I had another one of those Doc Brown mortified moments and then tried to soak it up with a wet cotton pad. This left a lovely round mark on my dress, about the size of a golf ball.

I continued to get ready, postponing the decision about whether I would have to change dresses until the circle had dried. Once my make-up was done, I dried my hair, focusing the dryer on the wet patch. And all it seemed to do was enhance it. I figured the dress was ruined at that point, the nail polish remover having stained the dress.

It was at this point I started having a conversation with God. Or whoever is up there today. Maybe not even God, but the universe. I’m not religious, but I do believe there is someone, or something dishing out life: happiness, punishments, good times, bad times. Anyway, even though I had an empty apartment, this conversation took place in my head, because it can be still be heard loud and clear up there. I started asking why I am being punished for being so disorganised. Yes, I’m aware my nails have needed painting for months, the tell-tale sign of unpainted nail growth giving me away. And I decided to leave it until the day I really needed my nails doing. Which caused me to bodge them, leading to me ruining my dress. But is it really necessary to punish me for this? I asked. I know what my weaknesses are, such as being late and disorganised. And I suffer the consequences of these on a regular basis. But just once, can you give me a break? If I don’t wear this dress, I have to wear another dress, none of which are as suitable as this one. I have issues with self-esteem, and what I wear, how my hair looks, my make-up, can all make a difference to how good (or bad) I feel about myself.

After straightening my hair, I looked down at the wet ball-shaped spot. I grabbed the hair dryer and decided to give it one more blast.

I watched in amazement as the circle started to change colour. Parts of it were going darker, the same shade as the dress. And in seconds the circle was gone, and the dress was dry and all the same colour.

I don’t know if there is anyone up there listening. But today there seemed to be.

Of course, twenty minutes later I left the house to find there were no trains running from Twickenham this weekend due to engineering work. Sixteen months in London and I still haven’t got used to the 9 out of 10 chance that my weekend travel plans will be interrupted by engineering works. Luckily for me I actually left early and should make it in plenty of time.

I guess life is made a lot easier when you can be more organised. When you are always on time. I’m not sure I will ever be like that. But I had this discussion with my mum once. She said that I always land on my feet, despite my superb ability to be disorganised (she is the opposite). Like today, with the dress, I guess she was right. Maybe someone up there is looking out for me. But they will still challenge me, for which I am grateful. For every challenge is an opportunity to prove myself, or to learn a lesson. Today I am grateful that I didn’t have to throw away this dress that I have only worn three times. But maybe next time I won’t leave anything that involves acetone until the last minute.


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