Friday, September 24, 2010

Ghosts of Mistakes Past

I met her at the gym, while we were both sweating it out at the sauna. Actually, I had been there with the sauna all to myself, sweating it out alone. And this person came in, sprinkled a few drops of essential oil from her extremely overpriced bottle on the hot rocks, and leaned back to enjoy. She had asked me beforehand, if I would mind.

Being a sucker for aromatherapy, I replied, of course not.

We started chatting. I assumed she would be a kindred soul.

But well...she regarded me with a sort of detached amusement. Told me she had just come back to Malaysia (from England) and she was horrified at the lack of education about all things healthy here. It seems that people here paid top prices for shmuck. And kitsch. And they didn't have the intelligence or taste to know the difference.

I wondered. After all, this was a gym in Bangsar Village. Severely upmarket. Most people here had been overseas, either on holiday, or when they were studying or living/working there. She wasn't that much of a rarity as she made herself out to be.

I asked her what brand oils she used. She told me (I can't remember now, I'd never heard of it) assuring me that it was very expensive and only the very best for her. I asked her if she'd heard of Culpepper. Her lips curled into a sneer because (a) she hadn't heard of it and (b) it must have been something cheap and nasty cos she had never heard of it.

She had started her own online shop and she gave me her card with the URL. I checked it out. It seemed to run to mostly "angel essences" each at more than RM100 a pop and I wondered who would buy these things and what the benefits would be. From what I could gather it was "supposed to make you feel better", something any cheap oil bubbling away in your cheap burner could do quite admirably.

Lavender, anyone? Maybe patchouli? How about jasmine (despite the connotations)?

I realise that I am remarkably blur. You have to take a two by four and fit me square on my forehead before I open my eyes and take notice. Unless I am already predisposed to dislike, that is, if someone has tripped on one of my prejudices and I have dismissed them as an asshole (any behaviour controverting this hypothesis would be carefully ignored and any behaviour confirming just as carefully noted) I generally don't notice the little things till later. Much later.

Similarly, with this girl, her obvious condescension didn't strike me until she asked about my interests and I happened to mention a blog I was hooked on. The fact that it was written by someone who was homeless and drug-dependent was all she needed.

Promptly, she issued a series of directives. One of which was that I should "stay away" from broken people. No, there was no place for empathy in life. And reading stuff like that was "not good". It would only drag me down. It's sad we have these unfortunate creatures around. But we could best help them by dissociating and pretending they did not exist while we got on with our happy, healthy, suburban wife of the 50s lives.

Well, I had gotten myself into this. I should not have struck up a conversation with the bitch when she sprinkled her oils and curled her lips and preened herself on being so much better than the average Joans out here in kitschland.

I quit the gym. And I didn't stop reading the blog.


John Calica said...

Wow. She's one of the reasons this world is such a miserable place. Then again, she prolly just didn't know any better... Hmmmm.

Jenn said...

Yes, let's be kind and say that. Prolly.