I read the lettering on the awning. I read the lettering on the door. I read the lettering on the Preferred Customer Card in my hand.
Then I walked in.
I made certain not to notice everyone noticing me. I scanned the shelves uncertainly, then made a little-lamb-lost-in-the-storm face at the woman behind the counter. “Could you help me?” I asked, at once humble and confident (the signature of charm). She smiled. “Sure. What is it?” I looked at the card, then at her. “My wife wanted me to pick up her – ” I paused, grinned at my ignorance, and made an ambiguous gesture. “Her – foundation?” She guessed, encouraging. “Yeah,” I leaned in and stage whispered the confession, “she asked me this morning if I remembered what kind, and I said ‘of course I do,’ but I don’t. But I don’t want her to know that,” and then I offered the card, “could you look that up?” She smiled again as she took the card, “Of course.” I beamed, a quarterback correctly answering a Trigonometry question.
She started typing just as someone else started tapping their fingernails on the counter – they duelled for a bit, then her voice declared it a draw: “It’s called medium beige. Let me get that for you.” She opened a drawer, took out a container, wrapped it up and handed it to me. “Thank you so much,” I gushed, like I was meeting a celebrity and getting out of a speeding ticket at the same time. “I’m glad I could help,” she said, stamping the card and charging my Visa. I thanked her again and thought,
I could just tell them it’s for me.
But then I couldn’t play this character anymore.