post-ironic quotation marks

Slightly neurotic (but cute!) singleton looking for adventure, finical stability, and some delusion of meaning. With much thought in the topic of sincerity and the occasional film review.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

We speak the same language... right?

I forgot to pack Q-tips.

Here's one of my vices. Normally, I knick them from my host, because q-tips are the sort of item that come in large quantities. The brownie rule -- you may eat as much as you want as long as you do not take the last brownie -- applies. My hosts do not keep q-tips, at least, they do not keep them within sight/unintrusive snooping. Don't look at me like that, we all know that bathroom cabinents are fair game. Anything that should be kept secret should be kept else where. There are no q-tips. I haven't been able to clean my ears since I got here.

Today I decided that enough was enough. I trekked across the wild streets of Piccadilly Circus and braved the herds of tourists to Boots. In the basement, there were many things to discover: razors, shaving cream, body wash, female products, and food. In a corner were things that could be fed into cameras which would eventually mutate into pictures. Another aisle had shampoos and conditioners, which were exactly the same as back home. Still, I could not find my quarry. Finally, a sales clerk noticed my lost looking. Although he barely reached up to my chin, he looked me in the eye and asked what I was looking for.

I was at a lost. Q-tips are not the proper name of the product. Like Post-it notes, they have become generic. However, I had a feeling that Q-tips were a strictly American thing, unlike many shampoo brands. In vain I attempted to not be a stupid American and then gave up.

"I'm looking for," I said, "in the States they're called Q-tips. They're like cotton swaps, or something. Used to clean out ears?"

He seemed to understand what I was getting at. I complicated everything by trying to give precise details until he interupted me.

"It's on a long stick?"


And then he lead me to the infant care corner where there were lots of packages of "Cotton Buds," but no Q-tips. Still victorious, I paid, and went home. Or to Angel Islington, where I wandered about in search of an internet cafe, but that's a boring story involving a paper that needed to be faxed over to the States immediatly and over forty minutes of walking. The conclusion is I missed the sign the first time (there's a really nice one behind a pub), and circled the area before almost leaving, only to find the sign, and the cafe and be very happy.

The end.


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