Thursday, 9 September 2010

I’ve been touched by Midas

This week, it’s certainly starting to feel as though I have been turned – quite literally – into gold by old King Midas when you consider the small fortune I’ve managed to spend on my eyes and teeth.

It all started with an impulse buy on Monday night: “I’m going to pop into Optix for some new glasses.” To be honest, the getting new glasses wasn’t the impulsive bit – it was kind of overdue; my sunnies are 15 years old and my regular glasses 11 - but the bit about shopping at Optix was.

Optix are on Broadgate in the City (London) and they consistently have some very appealing window dressing and an attractively understated and stylish exclusive look about them. And the week before last they were advertising a storewide sale.

But the week before last I was in Paris and last week I sat in a workshop in the countryside. Of course, this week the storewide sale is over but the sunglasses sale is still on. So I went.

Let me rewind a bit. Remember the pencil skirt I brought at Primark? (Yes, the size 8 number that I wore in my last play.) I thought it would be a good idea to get a second one and about a month ago popped into Primark again and bought another one, without trying it on until I got home. It was too big! After a few surreal seconds during which it flashed through my mind that I had quite possibly dropped another dress size… it dawned on me that the wrong label had been sewn into the garment (!!!) and that it was most likely a size 10 in disguise.

I made a note to return it. But then I got busy (NY, Paris) and didn’t get back to Primark until Monday afternoon, by which time the 28 days grace period had expired as the good lady at the consumer service desk kindly explained. So I couldn’t get my money back but I could get the equivalent value in other store merchandise. All 5 pounds of it.

I looked and I looked… of course those pencil skirts are no longer in stock… and I could not find a single item – not a single item people! – that I wanted. Long story short I spotted a young woman with a friendly attitude who looked like she might be a size 10, gave her the skirt (and receipt so she wouldn’t get in trouble) and refused her offer to pay the 5 pounds for it. A bit of good karma - I thought - never hurts.

So now let’s jump forward to me in the Optix shop gagging to spend a small fortune and being guided though my shopping experience by Chris. What a talent! He was in turn funny and knowledgeable and made me feel like we were on the same level… He sold me a pair of Tom Ford black rimmed retro glasses and gave me a pair of gold rimmed 70’s glam style glasses - that look surprisingly attractive on me - FREE OF CHARGE (it had been part of the now finished sale – my good deed in Primark was paying dividends sooner than I expected) before we moved on to a pair of big Paul Smith sunglasses.

Shall I let you in on a secret? When it comes to glasses, big frames are IN, logo-less glasses by top designer are IN. And statement glasses are IN... if you’re big enough.

Then - and here is the best part people! - I had my eye test. It turns out my eyesight has actually improved since my last prescription: all astigmatism has disappeared and my short sightedness has lessened. Feeling rejuvenated, I chose the lenses for my new frames - half tinted, ultra thin, laser cut… (it means ultra expensive in Chris talk) and then went to pay the bill with my bank card.

Of course the bank put a hold on the transaction, demanding confirmation that I was indeed the one making such an outrageous and out of character purchase (I rarely spend money on anything other than topping up my Oyster card or grocery shopping… oh and the occasional 90 minute massage in NYC.) We duly obliged the bank and after revealing my age, the name of my first pet, and my astrological sign to a disembodied voice at the other end of the phone, they gracefully waved the transaction through.

Skip to a few days later. I am sitting in the dentist chair… everything’s fine but some remedial work could be required. (My dentist is the equivalent of Chris the glasses salesman for the tooth business but he’s the best so I oblige him by showering him with money in exchange for him brutalizing my pearly whites but ultimately making them look gorgeous so that even strangers comment on them.)

By remedial he meant: have the work done and you should be set for the next 10 years and those ugly black fillings on your molars will be a thing of the past… of course you could chose to do nothing but if and when things do deteriorate you could be looking at root canal surgery and jaw bone infection and other nasties. So which is it going to be? Shall we do all three molars at once? You won’t be able to talk for a week and it’s going to cost you the earth but then you will look so pretty and your teeth will be safe for another decade.

So I said yes to the remedial. Yes to handing over the money. Yes to letting him molest my molars. (Not least because it turns out that those ugly fillings we are getting rid off are OLDER than the dental assistant who sat prettily blushing in the corner. And no amount of rejuvenated eyesight can make up for that kind of devastating information.)

To offset the rather vertiginous collapse in my savings I acquired another bit of good karma. As I sat in the dentist reception waiting for my appointment with the Sally the good humoured hygienist (I love that bit. I floss daily and use an electric toothbrush. I am the hygienist's poster girl.) a call came through. Some poor woman had obviously come to her senses and got cold feet and was desperately trying to cancel her two hour dentist appointment for this Friday and it sounded like unless they could fill it she would be charged some outrageous late cancellation fee. So I offered to take up the appointment for my three molar extravaganza. I mean, why wait?

Why wait indeed. At least I’ll be doing it in style. A call just came through to say my new frames are ready for collection.

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