If you have ever watched a recent horror film, you are familiar with a common special effect used to signify that a person has been possessed by or has become an evil spirit; the entire eye, including the white part, becomes pitch black.
This happened to me this morning, sans evil spirit.
I blame my age.
When my 25 year old daughter showed up one day with beautiful and simple eyeliner, I asked her to show me how to do it.
“It’s called tightline, or waterline,” she said. She then showed me how to pull my upper eyelid slightly more open, so I could draw on the edge of skin beneath the lashes, the part that touches the eyeball.
It’s subtle but effective, the way I believe makeup should be. The only drawback is that the pencil line becomes liquified by the moisture in my eyes, and within minutes of application, I have smudges beneath my eyes that make it look like I’ve been crying.
And no, I have not been crying. One of the best parts of menopause, for me, has been reduction of tears. By and large, the things that used to make me cry now simply annoy and irritate me.
So this morning, as I was getting ready for work, I’m at my makeup mirror. I also check my email, waiting for an important banking notification that should arrive any minute. I’ve got my contacts in, and I’ve decided to try tightlining with my waterproof liquid eyeliner. Worth a shot, right? I’ve got 10 extra minutes to play around.
My mirror is as close as I can get it without my eyes being forcibly crossed.
I pull my eyelid up and aim for the corner. But my hand is in the way, and I can’t see up close without my reading glasses—a new development—so my aim is approximate, not precise. You kind of have to be precise around the eye.
I tilt my head, looking for a new angle of approach. The computer pings with an email arrival. The important bank stuff! I can get this done before I go to work. Easy peasy.
I turn my attention back to makeup. I really need to take out my contacts—or put on my reading glasses. This is nuts. I am a vague beige and brown shape with a blue target in the middle. The tip of the liquid eyeliner applicator, which is a soft paintbrush shape, hits right between my eyelid and eyeball. My eye is flooded with black liquid.
I look like I’ve been possessed. I whisper into the mirror, “THAT’S how they do it!” and race to the bathroom to wash out my eye. My contact. My eye again.
It doesn’t hurt or sting, I just can’t see. I wait for the pain, but nothing comes. That’s a relief.
My ten extra minutes have evaporated. I rush back to my desk. Because I think I can multitask, I’ve also been trying to enter data into the banking app. With one eye and a ticking clock.
“Please enter your bank’s routing number.”
Well, crap. I haven’t used checks for years. Where the fuck am I going to find my routing number? With an assist from my husband (thank god for him), I find the damned routing number.
“Please enter either your email or your phone number for verification.”
Okayokayokayokayokayokay comeoncomeoncomeoncomeon. Yes. Verify. Yes. Okay.
Now I’m late. Is it because of the eyeliner? Or the bank? Multitasking?
The bank’s email doesn’t come. I’ve reverted to my regular eyeliner programming, the kind that makes me look like a droopy Charro, and figure it can’t be any worse than it’s been the last four years. I’ll figure out how to be like my 25 year old another day.
Where is that damned email?
My bags are packed and I can leave as soon as the email arrives with the confirmation number.
“Here is your confirmation number. Copy and paste–”
Yeah yeah, let’s go.
“Your email has been confirmed. Please also confirm your phone number”
SHIT. Where is my phone?
Where the hell is my phone?
I’ve been on it this morning, right after I got up. I sent my husband a funny headline. I think I did. Or was that last night? He left for work already. I email him.
Have you seen my phone?
“Confirm your phone number within 5 minutes, or your account information will be refused.”
I’m pretty consistent with my phone. When I’m headed out the door, it’s either on my purse or on the table near the door. It’s neither place. Not in the bathroom. Not in the freezer. In the dog food bucket? Nope. In the cushions of the couch next to my purse—no. On the floor? Did I leave it outside when I took the dog out? Did I take the dog out? SHIT. DOES THE DOG NEED TO SHIT? I am going to be so freaking late.
I am so screwed.
Not in the bathroom, or the freezer. Maybe it’s in the fridge. Nope. Is it IN my purse? No. My lunchbox? No. My robe pocket? NO. Washer? Dryer? Linen closet?
“Confirm your phone number within 1 minute…”
I start throwing bedding off my nicely made bed. Not under the throw, or the top blanket. My husband’s pillow, my pillow—shit. THERE it is!
How many times have I lost something because I cleaned? You’d think I’d learn.
I confirm the phone number for the bank. I plausibly remake the bed and dart for the door.
On my way across town, I reason that the only explanation for this whole sordid story is that, at 50, my eyesight has become so complex—contacts for distance vision, reading glasses for up close, and screw the in between—that things I used to take for granted, like putting on eye makeup, now require techniques and devices I haven’t yet embraced. A magnifying mirror. A professional makeup artist. Eyeliner tattoo. Something.
Now that I’m this age, I can’t see to put on makeup without reading glasses, which get in the way of putting on makeup. I’ve graduated from the ridiculously difficult-to-open PMS medication packaging—seriously, who put THAT much plastic between a woman with PMS and the medication that will ease her pain?—to eyesight that won’t let me put on eyeliner, the one thing that makes me feel slightly less middle-aged and homely.
All I know for sure is that I can’t do tightlining anymore until I find a smudge-proof, non-liquid eyeliner, that I cannot multitask like I used to, and that if I ever need to pretend I’m possessed, I have everything I need in my makeup bag.
You never know when information like that is going to come in handy.