Yesterday I got woken up in bed very early by a strange throbbing sensation. It’s not what you’re thinking. It was emanating from somewhere near the end of my nose and not in a good way. It felt like my left nostril was tapping out an urgent message in Morse code to the world. And let me tell you when I saw why, it seemed like only an SOS could do. Dot, dot, Spot, dash, dash, Zit, dot, dot, Blemish, dot, we’re talking major Carbuncle here. This had to be serious. Things like this happen when you are 15 not 45. And to top it all, I had an important meeting with a client at Noon. I was on the verge of calling an ambulance.
“Something very worrying has happened to the end my nose,” I said to Guido. He was in the café kitchen at the time methodically stirring pancake batter. I looked around. “Do you have a bag I can put on my head?”
“Oh, that’s just a spot,” he said squinting at me. He licked his thumb, “Don’t squeeze it, you’ll only make it worse.” He started stirring again. He’s lucky I didn’t dunk him.
I called my artist friend Elton on his mobile for moral support.
“Houston, we have a problem,” I said, “I’m having a Cyrano De Bergerac moment here. It’s at least the size of Belgium.”
Elton was right in the middle of shooting his latest art installation movie which apparently involved a naked man standing erect on a plinth in Trafalgar Square. He was being arrested by the Police when I phoned so unfortunately he didn’t have much time to chat.
“It’s just a spot, don’t squeeze it, you’ll only make it worse.” I hung up to the sound of sirens.
I called my mother. It was now 11 o’clock in the morning. She was playing Bridge and sipping a gin and tonic. I could hear the ice in her glass clink.
“It’s a spot dear, don’t squeeze it, you’ll only make it worse.” I hung up. I blame her genes.
I got dressed and went to Super Drug where I found a whole aisle dedicated to treatments for Spots, Zits, Blemishes and Carbuncles. They had pictures of attractive and acne free young people on the packets. None of them looked 45. I bought a bottle of Clearasil (smells like rocket fuel), a Buff Puff (it’s really a Brillo Pad), and a small metal contraption called a Black Head Remover. The latter looked like an instrument of torture and let me tell you, it brought tears to my eyes. I wiped and I buffed and I squeezed and guess what? They were right. It made it made it a lot worse.
By the time I got to the Landmark Hotel lobby for my meeting I’d dabbed some flesh coloured cover-up onto most of the left hand side of my head. This would have toned beautifully if I happened to have orange coloured skin myself. But, talk about heave a giant sigh of relief? Yes, there was a God. My client arrived and he had one of the biggest zits in the middle of his forehead I’ve ever seen. Never mind Belgium, this could’ve swallowed most of Eastern Europe.
So we bonded over skin conditions and a couple of croissants, and I got the assignment.
I’d love to be 15 again.