It was a very hot day with a clear, blue sky and like all of my cycle rides, I slapped on the sunscreen before heading out. By mid-afternoon, I could feel my skin starting to feel a bit prickly and so I found some shade beside a building and slapped on more sunscreen. I always do my arms, ears, my nose and surrounding area including my cheeks and neck - back and front. Mom would be pleased with me!
And off I rode again. I found myself at a Starbucks, ordered a cool drink and sat outside to people-watch at a table adjacent to the entrance. Were they looking at me kind of strange? Nah, just my imagination. I asked a young lady if she would mind watching my bike as I had to use the washroom and she agreed. Did she look at me kind of funny or was she impressed with my red and white cycling race jersey?
I then rode to a record store to purchase some Christmas CDs for family members in Scotland. I was kicking myself for not following through on introducing myself to a woman walking along the street. I stopped at a red light and just as the light turned green, a nice looking lady came up beside me to cross the street perpendicular to my direction. I glanced up briefly, our eyes met but I was already in motion and I just kept pedalling.
I recognized the gentleman behind the counter in the record store from many years ago and after reminding each other of our names, we shook hands and started talking about our common work years and who was where and what everybody was doing.
While talking, he reached back and pulled out some Kleenex and said, "Here, it looks like you could use this." I thanked him and in my mind thought that, yes I was perspiring but I wasn't sweating that bad and so I just wiped my forehead and we carried on talking. I made my purchases, bade farewell and continued on my cycle ride.
I stopped in at a cycle shop to pick up some brake pads. I felt the clerk took a second look at me and I figured it was probably my red and white cycling race jersey. She told me that I could pick the pads up at the back of the store where I milled around with some other customers until the technician was available. We discussed the brake pad models and then upon returning to the receptionist to pay, I found that she didn't really look at me - just took the money and made it a quick transaction. I didn't give it much thought as it was the end of a hot day.
I arrived home and couldn't wait to take a shower to wash the sunscreen and sweat from my overheated body. I looked in the mirror and what the hell was that!? I had a humongous, white booger coming out from my left nostril! I wiped it away and realized that it was a blob of sunscreen but it looked just like a booger.
I was immediately relieved as it was just sunscreen but wait a minute! Now I know why the guy in the record store gave me a Kleenex. It wasn't for my forehead but for my nose!
And what about all the other people that saw and talked with me before and after I left the store!? They must have thought the same thing.What gets me is why nobody gave me a heads up on my appearance. I then justified my embarrassment by saying to myself that I would never see all those people again. Well, maybe the guy in the record store but I won't go there for a good year. Same goes for that Starbucks and cycle shop.
And then I thought of the lady at the crosswalk. Thank goodness that I did keep on riding because that would be one hell of way to meet a woman with imitation snot dripping from one's nose. And there's a good chance that she will never see me again.
So what did I learn on that day? Well from now on, I shall apply sunscreen in a washroom with good lighting and a big mirror and better yet, ensure I have a mirror in my cycle gear.