Have you ever had days that you won't forget - or met people that burn themselves into your brain like a hot scalpel during a full-frontal lobotomy?
I'll never forget last Friday. It was the day that I bought my new running shoes.
I had gone to the sports store by myself, full of inspiration and cashed up with my birthday money (yes, I still get birthday money at the ripe old age of 40 something - I like to think of it as being paid compensation for my unfortunate birth date).
I purchased a new pair of sports shoes for an exorbitant sum.
The guy that served me was almost young enough to be my youngest son. I don't know what flashed through his mind when he realised he had to serve me ... but thankfully he had been taught manners enough to repress his horror and/or screams of mirth and/or gagging as he gazed upon my resplendent knankles - (for those of you not familiar with this term - think cankles but extend the swollen jelly-look from the knee down) and/or imagined me lumbering along the road - all cellulite wobbles in running shorts, gasping desperately for breath like some ischemic, anemic, emphysemic basket case that had just escaped from an asylum.
But I regress.
They were nice enough shoes - but (be warned ladies getting on in age and considering buying the middle-aged man's equivalent to a red sports car) by the time the afternoon came by and I tried on said shoes with the intention of going for a short jog, my legs may or may not have been swollen a little, to the point where the shoes, which seemed so perfect in my haste to get away from the child's gaze before I scarred him for life, rubbed irreconcilably on said cankle/knankles.
I went to exchange them. On my return to the store with my friends, both accomplished runners, we were served by a middle-aged lady, I like to think slightly older than myself, who, somewhat thankfully rated marginally higher on the unofficial comparative cankle/knankle score. "Ah," I thought, "someone who will understand, a fellow 'blister sister'". I stood by - expecting the empathy that comes with membership in the 'suffering woman club' to which those of us trying vainly to lose weight, defeat gravity, and maintain our youthful looks as we try to convince ourselves that 50 is the 'new 20', subscribe.
How wrong I was.
She started off nicely enough - a bit of banter, and light heartedness. But after passing me the 3rd pair of shoes she began to turn into a shop assistant extra from The Exorcist.
"I have to stay here until 5pm this afternoon - I think I will go out the back and hang myself."
Huh? Did I really hear that? I did push a bit of wax into my ear today when I was cleaning it...
After flinging the fifth pair in my general direction:
"We don't have many shoes in your particular size of large"
Really? Did she just ....? Maybe I should consider booking myself in for a hearing test...
And then, the clincher , exactly at pair number 8, as she pointed to my 33 year old male friend who had been providing me advice:
"IS THIS YOUR SON?"
Is this your son? Are you kidding me? Am I deaf and mad?
"Well," I retorted in my loudest, angriest, scariest outside voice, "I don't know how things are done where you were bought up, but in my safe little neck of the woods, we didn't start having sex at 10 years old - most assuredly not. Where do you get off you cankley old cow?" I gathered my stuff up, all huffy puffy, and with a final flick of my comparatively well-turned ankles, stormed over to the manager who forced her to apologise profusely, before loudly and publicly sacking her and giving me a year's supply of free products from the store - "Not that you need them love. With those exquisite ankles you must work out three times a day," he said.
Okay, so that last paragraph may have been slightly exaggerated/over-emphasised/thought about in the car afterwards/complete fantasy...
The true version is that I sat there stunned, tears welling in my eyes, any last vestige of confidence flayed from my ego, shocked and embarrassed in front of said friends, picked up my belongings and fled the store like a semi-spineless amoeba that only had enough vertebrae to form a tail between its legs. I spent the next week annoying all my friends, workmates, acquaintances, even random people walking innocently down the street with the question "Do I really look old enough to have a 33 year old son? Really?"
I wasn't completely spineless. I did get a refund from that store - to which I will never return again- and eventually went to another store.
But I will not forget that woman. I'm not one for revenge, but every time I run from now on and I need angry motivation I will close my eyes and recall her wrinkly face and humongous thankles - yes, that's right, thigh-ankles - thankles.
Her memory is indelibly inked in my brain, next to the apologetic 15 year-old who will hopefully have triplets one day after asking me when I was nine months pregnant if I could fit in a booth seat at a local restaurant, and the perky 20 something who congratulated me for being six months pregnant at a christmas function just a year ago. I was old enough to be her mother.
Anyway, I'm off for a long, long run before searching the internet for some youth-rejuvenating products/reputable surgeons.