A Hard Pill To Swallow

Eight days ‘til lift off and I am still mentally packing. (Tom says he could pack for this trip during the Super Bowl intermission.) Yesterday, while waiting for yoga class to begin, I wandered into the travel section of a Northampton store. They had lots of small items. On Sunday I had read a comment by Philippe Reines, Hilary Clinton’s senior adviser, who accompanied her to 111 countries. Reines said, “I spend as much time on Amazon trying to miniaturize commonly used travel items as some rogue nations do trying to miniaturize warheads.” A man after my own heart, I thought, as I prowled the aisle.

There were miniature nail clippers, miniature tweezers, miniature notebooks, miniature tooth brushes, tiny vials for pills, liquids, creams, tiny face clothes, tiny nail files, tiny shoe buffers, tiny shower caps, tiny glasses repair kits, tiny contact lens cleaning cases. Then I found a curious miniature item: a two-toned plastic capsule less than two inches long. The two halves were tightly screwed togetherphoto-1, but it looked like a giant pill. I opened it and it was lined with a clear plastic liner. Now what would we be packing in the capsule and where would we be shoving it? Didn’t the maker consider X-ray machines or is that why people get frisked instead? If they added a battery the capsule could serve a dual purpose.

The other day I got a promotion for a face cream that I use. The company offered me two nice small (travel) containers of the cream if I would make an appointment at my local department store. I dutifully scooted to the mall and arrived at the counter triumphantly brandishing my coupon over my head. The cosmetic ladies were not enthused. The offer was not good until the 20th of the month. I slunk home, my coupon folded in my purse, fearing hoards of women would beat me to the goods. The 20th was a Sunday, I had altar guild duty and went to see my mom.

Monday the 21st arrived and I was ready. After my yoga class I went directly to the mall. This time the cosmetic lady met me armed with a huge appointment book. She had the first little bottle in her manicured hand. Why hadn’t I put on some make up? Maybe I would be rejected for being beyond help of the cream I used everyday.

“You realize,” she said, “that this is a trial.” What was I being charged? Being barefaced? “You get one bottle now and the other after you make an appointment in two weeks.” Two weeks? I’m leaving in two weeks, I need the little bottles for packing.

I explained my plane change dilemma. She was not impressed. They earliest appointment she could give me was Feb. 3. Then she announced that at this appointment I would have to “turn in” my first little bottle. Turn it in? I will be gone for six weeks, I need my cream, but if I want the second little bottle, I will have to empty the first one into something else. Maybe into the two inch, bi-colored capsule they’re selling at the travel store.

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